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Baby birds make my memory soar

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‘Tis the season for twitter. No, not what is coming from the White House, but what is coming from the bushes outside my kitchen window.

Young birds are putting parents through their paces. They have fledged, spread their wings, and made it to a twig, apparently thinking “Now what?” The solution seems to be to sit on the twig and twitch and twitter until Mom and Dad fill their open mouths.

The cardinals are the loudest and the easiest to spot because they don’t look like mature birds. The young ones are all a dull brown and even their beaks haven’t gotten red yet. We always have a lot of cardinals in the yard and at the feeders and they can create quite a ruckus with their demands.

We also have a bumper crop of chickadees this year. They are small, but vocal, and it’s impossible to ignore their pleas for food. The parents are swirling around like mosquitoes while the little ones sit and twitch. I did enjoy watching one young bird finally get the hang of things and master the art of eating from the suet feeder by himself.

I am hoping for a nursery visit from the big, beautiful red bellied woodpeckers this year. We don’t always get to see the young ones, who are as big as their 9 1/2-inch-tall parents and are only distinguishable as babies by their agitated actions and raucous squawks, but when we do, it’s quite a display.

The young birds always make me smile; partly because I think we always smile at baby things and partly because they bring back happy memories. When I was little, probably about 5 or so, one of my favorite games was for Daddy to grab the back of my dress or the waistband of my skirt and move it rapidly back and forth so it twitched like a baby bird, while I giggled and sang the silly song “If I could shimmy like my sister Kate…”


Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.

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