Every year, beginning as early as mid-October or as late as early December, depending on the weather and my inclination, I start feeding the birds. I used to fill a couple feeders until I looked out the kitchen window and saw a large rat eating the spilled food. YUCK! Not what I wanted to see at all!
I still feed the birds but now I get exercise. I travel on a “route” around the property. As I walk I scatter black-oil sunflower seeds on the ground near bushes, trees, and rocks. It isn’t long before the chickadees, cardinals, titmice, nuthatches, juncos, purple finches and goldfinches fly in one-by-one. (I figure they post a scout to alert them to food, as in, “Food came! Pass the word! Food’s here!”) Some birds, such as the chickadees, grab a seed and fly to a nearby branch to eat. Others, such as goldfinches, stay on the ground picking up the food.
Feeding the birds helps them through the winter months and gives me fun and exercise. Sometimes the activity leaves me with a thought to ponder. As I look at the sunflower seeds laying on the ground I wonder how many of them will be eaten, how many will be missed by the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. What will be the “legacy” of those seeds? Will any survive to produce tall plants that put forth those big cheerful-looking flowers to brighten the yard, or will they die in winter’s harshness? Then I wonder: what will be my legacy? What will I leave behind in the lives of others? Will people see “seeds” of encouragement and caring? Or will it be “weeds” of selfishness, anger and bitterness? Unlike the sunflower seeds I can choose what my legacy will be.