Monday, August 8, 2011

Feathers of a Bird

Since I came to Austin, I have become a busy birdwatcher.  My own backyard is visited by the ever-present Mourning Doves and the occasional Grackle, who sound like winding and clanking machinery when they roost, but better birds visit each day.  For three years now, Mockingbirds, Robins, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Black-crested and Tufted Titmice, Chickadees, House Wrens and a variety of sparrows have visited my two feeders and birdbath placed strategically within view from the couch as we watch television.  While the Green Parrots that I have seen about Austin have never visited us here in Mauserica, I do have a returning pair of Golden Headed Woodpeckers, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, and a Ruby Throated Hummingbird who regularly checks out the flower stickers my wife put in the window to keep the stupid doves from breaking their necks (at least one crashes the window every day!).  We even see the occasional Red-tailed Hawk's shadow as he glides over the canopy in our backyard.

All that to say this.  All those birds crowded around a feeder drop a lot of feathers.  Downy pin feathers, long pinions, and everything in between.  As a compulsive collector and artist (anything you have enough of can become art), I pick up every one and drive their quills into the tops of the palings in my fence.  Every paling gets one, and when they are full, I add a second or third.  When the wind blows they wave, wink in the mottled sunlight, and sometimes even bow like grave Japanese.  I like to think of each one as a salute to finding joy wherever it happens.

 If I found enough feathers, could make my own bird?

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