For the past 26 years I have lived in central Massachusetts. A bird watcher, I have sought in vain to find that “sweet spot” where the spring migrants congregate. I need not search any longer: I live in that sweet spot!
Two years ago, across the street from my house, I experienced what experienced birders long for: a fall-out. A fall-out is when large quantities of warblers of many varieties descend on a particular area – they literally “fall out” of the sky. This happens when a cold front blocks the migrants and then a sudden warm front ushers them in. People that bird watch regularly may experienced this phenomenon a few time in their lives; those of us that do it “on the fly” may never experience it. During this fall-out, I saw over a dozen different varieties of beautiful warblers, all singing. It was paradise!
This morning I awoke to a small chorus outside my bedroom window so I ran outside to take a look. This is what I heard and/or saw:
- Yellow Rumped Warbler (1st row, 1)
- Yellow Warbler (1st row, 2)
- White-eyed Vireo (1st row, 3)
- Northern Parula Warbler (1st row, 4)
- Rose-Breasted Grosbeak (2nd row, 1)
- Black Throated Green Warbler (2nd row, 2)
- Chestnut Sided Warbler (2nd row, 3)
- Black and White Warbler (2nd row, 4)
Considering that I live on the railroad tracks at the intersection of Route 140, this is a pretty good sighting! My mother always did say we lived in a fly zone (where birds tend to congregate).
Last night Fr. James Martin, SJ, author of the new bestseller Jesus A Pilgrimage, offered the following evening meditation:
“How curious are you about the world around us, about God’s magnificent creation? Are you as curious as you were whe you were a kid? The world is just as beautiful, mysterious and surprising as it was when you were little.
Think of something that captivated you today by its beauty or strangeness or mystery. Then thank God for the ability to be amazed.” (from his Facebook post of May 13, 201)
Yes, I am amazed. Amazed how You graced me with this fall-out of exotic songbirds into my humble backyard. Amazed at how You keep sending me gifts unsolicited, just because You love to shower Your children with love Amazed at how blind I can be to the constant stream of such gifts.
It occurs to me as I am writing this that this is also a gift of consolation. I have a series of disagreeable doctor visits coming up, starting today. Nothing dire, just things that need attention and that could be painful. And I am a chicken! Now I can remember the beautiful songbirds God graced me with this morning to cheer me during these visits.
Thank you. You are always with me.
Lord, keep my eyes and ears open today and everyday for the gifts You send me. Amen.
Do you enjoy bird watching? Have you ever experienced a fall-out? What did you see?
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