Monday, December 21, 2009

Don't Forget the Reason's for the Season!

Eastern Bluebird... Marion, IN
It is so hard to believe that we are only a few days away from Christmas. I remember when I was a kid, Christmas could not get here fast enough. The days moved so slow, especially after Thanksgiving. Each day was more boring than the next just waiting for the day of opening presents to arrive. It always did. We opened our presents and were generally dissatisfied with the overall outcome. Hundreds of days of waiting for only a few minutes of material pleasure. Never any real fulfillment.
Fox Squirrel... Marion, IN
So, with these thoughts in mind, I set out to do a little birding in a local park near my parents house this past weekend in my hometown of Marion, IN. Matter Park. Overall, its a nice park. Small. The Mississinewa River runs alongside the park and there's a good number of mature trees throughout with some new landscaping. Much of which is very good for birds.

Northern Cardinal... Marion, IN

It was a bit chilly outside and the ground was covered with about two inches of fresh snow. It was quite and calm. The very first sound I heard when I got out of the van was that of the White-breasted Nuthatch. A sound that makes a winter walk official.

Red-tailed Hawk... Marion, IN

As I walked through the park and started seeing so many of the common birds that we all love such as the Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, and Downy Woodpecker I began to think about how blessed we are to have these birds in our life and how much joy they have personally brought to me over the years. Each bird that I have ever had the privilege to see has always instantly erased any negative tension that I was holding onto at the time. Birds are a natural remedy from anything materialistic and negative. They provide endless enjoyment, give instant gratification, and cost absolutely nothing. Not a dime. These were gifts that were given to us as flying decorations for the Earth that we live on.

Eastern Bluebird... Marion, IN
So as I continued to wonder about the blessings that surrounded me, I thought about all the hustle and bustle that was going on outside of the park. The craziness that so many of us (me too) live for in order to prove our appreciation for somebody else by buying them something that they probably don't really need. Have I, have we forgotten what the season is supposed to be about? We buy, buy, buy for our family and friends to say thanks for being a part of our lives but are we forgetting about the things that are there for us no matter what?
Cedar Waxwing... Marion, IN
Christmas time is the time of year that we are to give thanks not only to our family and friends but to everything around us that is precious. For me, I think of the birds and what I can do to pay them back for all they have done for me. Birds fight the odds each and every day of their lives. The heat in the summer, the cold in the winter, and the predators under the bushes. It can't be easy being a bird!
So what can you do for the birds this Christmas? How about...
Joining a conservation group that protects birds...
Nature Conservancy (http://www.nature.org/)
National Audubon Society (http://www.audubon.org/)
Put out some Suet and/ or Peanuts
Warm your birdbath
Buy a bird feeder for a friend
Buy a child a field guide and a pair of binoculars...
The list goes on and on....
Cedar Waxwing... Marion, IN
So what are you going to give back to the natural world this Christmas? What are you willing to do to say thanks for everything that you have enjoyed this year? What can you do to alleviate a little stress from a struggling bird this winter? Something? Anything?
And last but certainly not least...
Please give thanks for all that we have to the real reason for the season. The origin that makes all the nature that we enjoy possible.
Happy Holidays My Friends!

4 comments:

Kelly said...

...beautiful post! Loved the photos and the narration--you're so right. Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

I did the CBC this weekend, so I was walking in the snow as well. It was so pretty. Great photo of the owl. I hope to get that close some day!

Mary said...

Wonderful post! I agree with all your suggestions for supporting the birds. I'm a southern Indiana birder, so nice to see your blog!

The Early Birder said...

Chad. Super post.
Wishing you and all those around you a very Happy Christmas.
Cheers Frank.

babbler said...

Incredible blog and photos. I am inspired to go outside and look for all the different types of birds in my yard. We are on the central Oregon Coast and have alot of nice birds here.
Love to your family, "Mrs. Slug"

Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal