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03 May

My niece Cathy tagged me on an article this morning posted on Facebook by  The headline read “Watching Birds Near Your Home is Good for Your Mental Health”.  I totally agree, having lived many decades of watching birds and now, of course, known as Bird Lady!  Let me explain what I learned in a matter of only ten minutes just this morning while watching a pair of Sparrows as they were building a nest in the bird box outside the window.

But first I have to back up just a bit.  Two weeks ago, a pair of lovely Tree Swallows  were building their nest in the box.  The mates busied themselves for hours each day.  Their shimmering turquoise and white feathers shown in the sun as they preened while sitting atop the street sign nearby as well as on the branch outside their soon to be home, chattering their joy to one another.  But then, after five days of that, the Sparrow’s aggressive nature fought them for the box and won.

Sparrows are non-native birds, and according to experts, they should not be allowed to use man-made nesting boxes.  Given that advice, my husband dutifully swept out the box contents at the end of each day.  And the Sparrows would return only to begin gathering proper nesting materials.  So on the fourth day of this battle with nature, we decided we would just give in and let the Sparrows win.  We’ve never seen Sparrow eggs nor their babies, and the Tree Swallows no longer were around so we just let them do their thing.

So today, in a mere ten minutes of watching the pair of Sparrows work on finishing their home, I was reminded of six words that, if practiced on a regular basis, are good for our mental health.

TRUST – The Sparrows must have trusted they would eventually win the battle of the box.  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

COOPERATION – I observed the pair attempt three times to carry into the hole on the box about a four inch circle of previously woven soft grass that had been once swept out of the box and onto the ground below.  The male found it; the female carried it up and partially into the hole three times; it fell to the ground each time; he brought it back to the branch; she pulled on it from the inside for at least two minutes until it finally folded up enough to pull it through the hole and into the box.

PATIENCE – While the above action was underway on the part of the female, the male carried up a couple more longer strands of grass.  He waited very patiently on the branch, holding onto the grass in his beak, all while watching the female slowly pull the circle into the box.

TOLERANCE – While the Sparrows scared off the Swallows, they were very tolerant of and social with other birds like Robins and Morning Doves that would land in the tree or the feeder nearby.  Who knows, maybe they knew the Robins and Doves were too big for the hole in the box.  Nonetheless, they were neighborly.

PROTECT THE FAMILY – It will soon become obvious that eggs are in the nest and in time, babies will hatch.  During this time, the male will be very protective of the territory centered around the nest.  Both male and female feed and protect their babies while in the nest as well as after they fledge, which occurs about a week after they hatch.

I encourage you to take the time to watch our feathered friends.  Maybe you, too, will identify and practice a few key words that help to improve your mental health.



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Gramma Golden

Gramma Golden