One of the first times my son alerted me to something other than his own needs and wants, he told me about the presence of a bird. He was about a year old. He couldn’t say the English word, “bird,” but I’d taught him the ASL (American Sign Language) sign for it. At the kitchen table one afternoon, I noticed him signing BIRD. For a moment I thought his sign was arbitrary, but then I listened and, sure enough, I could hear a bird. What a shift in our communication, and how amazing to know that little person was noticing things I had missed.
Today, I was a chaperone on his third-grade class’s field trip. Many of the highlights were connected to birds. We saw graceful water birds, Canada geese flying, and, close to us on a picnic table: a black phoebe with its striking black and white pattern. We heard California quails’ distinctive call, “Chi-caa-go,” and during the times when we got quiet, we enjoyed a variety of birdsong.
Birds delight us with their music, good looks, and the idea of soaring through the air.
Thank you, birds.