A Story From a Bird Feeder

Anne Bonfert

The Sparrow’s Family

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  • Credit: Anne Bonfert

Breakfast time. Breakfast means sitting in the kitchen staring out of the window. Watching the sparrows enjoying their first meal of the day. A bird feeder is such an entertaining element in your garden.

I mean it’s always fun to observe. I love sitting in a café on a busy walking street, sipping on a cup of tea, and watching people walking by. There’s so much to learn about a city by observing its inhabitants like that.

Just like humans, birds have communities too. They live in groups or swarms. Whatever you want to call them. They come in numbers. They take over the scene and then leave again.

I first see them in the bushes. Taking a closer look I see there are seeds inside this fence building bush. Two sparrows are picking on one ball. A ball made out of seeds. That must be a delicious feast in cold times like these.

The queue doesn’t get shorter. More and more birds arrive. They fly into the bush. Impatiently jumping around from one branch to another. Waiting to get their chance of getting a delicious bite.

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And there are these birds you can see they’ve spent quite some time in there. Eating too much their bellies are so full they can’t move anymore. Sitting on a stronger branch in the bush they stare out of it.

Half falling asleep half noticing more birds flying in for the feast. But they are not able to defend it. They just let it happen. Waiting for the food to settle they start to daydream.

Until they feel like they can take off again. As soon as their wings are strong enough to carry their body again they fly to the hazelnut tree. A safe place to rest.

The hazelnut tree is the center of the community. They exchange words and recommendations on where to go next. Being high up on thin branches they are safe from the neighborhood’s cats.

On this tree, the sparrows group up. Females with females and males with males. The house sparrow is winning in numbers pushing the other types of sparrows to the edge of the branches.

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One older bird keeps the distance. He’s not in for any more fights and senseless discussions. It anyway won’t change anything. It never does. Yet they lose so much energy in those heated arguments.

He much rather sits up there embracing the little bit of warmth the sun is offering at this time of the year. Breathing in the clear air and relaxing in the wind.

When the conversations are over it’s time to go inside the big house. A double-story one. It got space for up to ten birds and has never-ending food supplies. That is at least how it always feels like.

In the beginning shy to enter they eventually invade the bird feeder with the whole family. Some staying for longer trying to pick out the best bites. Others just flying in snatching a seed and vanishing again.

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It’s a lively house. There are always visitors around and you never know whom you will meet in it. Sometimes space is scarce and you have to wait outside hovering in the air. Othertimes the house is all yours. You can take your time and choose the best seed.

After a bit over an hour, the brunch is over and everyone is flying back home.

“There is as much freedom of the spirit in watching sparrows on a city street as in meditating in some mountain solitude under the stars” — Alan Watts

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.

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