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Monday, March 7, 2011

Bird. Egg. Feather. Nest.

I grew up in a family that loved birds.  Loved them.  Bird. Feather. Egg. Nest.  All of it still fascinates me. The most birds I've ever kept totaled about 65.  I used to breed small colorful finches with the goal of mutating their colors.  It was heady stuff I tell you.  Never knew exactly what was going to come out of an egg.  I particularly liked a soft powdery blue mutation.  It was like a sigh made tangible in tiny feathers.

And then one day, it all just went cold on me.  I stood in my yard and looked at the birds in my aviary and then I looked at the birds in the oak tree over the aviary and I realized that I was caging the most free of all animals.  My birds could fly over the mountain range just north of my home if I'd only give them the chance.  Sure, they were well fed and might have lived a longer life than if they'd been in the wild.  But it made me sad to realize that I was limiting their lives to some wire and perches when the whole of the sky could and should belong to them.   I am now down to three birds.  One, Zane,  is an African Grey who sadly can never be introduced to the open skies.  The other two have injuries that limit them to a cage.  Together.  Two old gals who cuddle each night.

This blog is named for a little blue bird who stole my heart.  She loved me and would fly from where ever I placed her to land on my shoulder.  She had to be near me.  Endearing as that might be, it wasn't natural avian behavior.  She lived a long life and is now buried under the calla lilies out front.

I don't breed or purchase birds any longer.  I love to see them in nature.  Where they happily belong.

Image from Chalk It Up Pasadena
Post title taken from book by Maryjo Koch Collins Publishers San Francisco 1994


  1. thanks for sending a comment my way. I have never had caged birds... just the wild ones. I love bluebirds especially, because for so many years they were not readily found in N.C., but my grandfather raised them in boxes in his yard.

  2. My very first comment! Thank you. Bluebirds are a favorite of mine too. I like your grandfather's style. A little help with boxes in nature and then enjoy watching them.
    I don't remember how I got to your blog but I have been enjoying it. Thanks for the inspiration.