I know my superb fairy-wrens and they know me. Their antics, fossicking and ferreting on my lawn, bring me great joy, whether it be on a grey autumnal day threatening winter, or a bright sunny one in spring full of the promise of summer.
To say I have a spiritual connection with not just the fairy-wrens, but to all bird species, would be an understatement. From the dawn of my consciousness, my cognitive being, they have been with me, always there, always around.
My connection could almost be a metaphor for the way birds intrude on our daily lives. Through sight and sound, even in the concrete jungles of our cities, they remind us there is another world out there, one that belongs to Mother Nature.
The life of birds is not so very different from our own. We are both on a remarkable journey in which we learn as children the ways of the adult world, find partners, settle down to build homes and raise families, see our children off into the world, and confront our own demise, our own mortality.
The mortality bit, the inevitability of it, might not confront the superb fairy-wrens, or indeed any other bird species, in the same way it does us, with cognitive power to put our lives in a context. Birds, though, certainly know of the struggle for survival, the struggle between life and death. The fairy-wrens on my lawn one early April day had been skittish and nervous. A grey butcherbird had come to call.
Like another of my garden residents, the new holland honeyeaters, the little wrens had looked to me to provide security. They could go about their birdy business in sight of and close to me, knowing the butcherbird would keep its distance while I was about.
I had been out at the washing line and lingered for a time, giving the wrens a chance to feed on invertebrates buried in the lawn. It was a moment to treasure, this rare connection between man and bird. I feel the same glow when the honeyeaters flit about my head to let a visiting foe, the goshawk, know they have a friend.
The friendship, though, is only one way, and I accept this. Although it might be “spiritual” on my part, to the birds I am merely part of the fabric of their cluttered world, part of the scenery to be exploited in some way or another, whether to accept a hand-out of food or to accept my protection.
Still, I thank birds for what they have given me over a lifetime. They have infused my life with wonder and beauty. They have been there to lift my spirits at my darkest moments, and shared my joy at my best. I could not imagine living in a world silent of their songs. I’m grateful to them, and I return my gratitude by offering safety and security to the wrens, the robins and any other bird which wants to call my garden home.