Tuesday, August 01, 2006

mow-hair cardinal

The bird feeder that I have suctioned to the outside of my office window has become a Holiday Inn for many feathered flirts this summer. The clear plastic house has been around long enough for at least two migrations, and I’ve noticed that we are beginning to have seasonal regulars.

Last year, a pigeon on the fly came around for a while, parked along the brick sill at times; tried to eat at the fly by feedery other times. He was bigger than most, but became a friend to us all. I thought he may stick around, but something bigger than life called him away, and I haven’t seen him in a year now.

This year the most frequent flyer award goes to an oversized and very bald headed cardinal. It’s a bird! It’s a plane!! NO!!! It’s a mow-topped cardinal approaching the feeder these days. He is not the most attractive sort on the outside, which only leads me to believe that he is an angel at heart.

His beak (glow in the dark red )would fit a small parrot, and sometimes I wonder if he has signed the necessary papers to be a beak donor. Although his feathers and fluff are oversized and brilliantly fluffy, it is clear his outward appearance is misleading. He has some distinct self-esteem issues, as he is a shy flyer. He waits in the trees outside the alley that houses my bird sanctuary, until lunch rush passes, then he zips in for his fill. I can hear him crunching through the window when he is consuming the feed. He munches and then looks around every few seconds, to be sure he’s still alone- there must be comfort in solitary consumption…. My own Mr. Elephant Man Bird. Sounds like a case for the Pastor, but his time is stretched pretty thin between God helping him,and he helping the human congregants, so I hesitate to ask him to pray with my little red friend, but no doubt, time spent with our worldly Pastor would do anyone good.

So instead, the membership secretary and myself have adopted him. She noticed his impressive physical attributes way before me. I keep a mirror on top of my monitor, so that I can see the birds as they fly in behind me at the window, but usually, any movement on my part will send them away, so the first few times she gasped in amazement, I missed the show. Now, of course, he’s a regular and I can hear him flying in and crunching at the bird deli.
We have enlightened others about him, and over time he has moved from being an object of curiosity for us, to a sought after wonder. Clearly, he has overcome many obstacles, and has succumbed to some trying times. We wish we knew his history. Where is he from? Who broke his heart? Who mowed his head? Who is his family? Where are they now? Where is he headed?

It is instances such as this where nature parallels faith. We see the beauty, we recognize the challenges , we wonder wonder wonder wonder about all the rest, but he keeps coming back, offering us opportunities to know him better. We’ve formed a community who supports him, and we hope that his bird friends will one day do the same.

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