As the snow began to fall yesterday afternoon, I had flashbacks to last winter when we had a lot of snow that lasted several days. Snow is sort of unusual for Senatobia, but several days of it rarelyhappens. Last year it brought us hundreds, if not,thousands of hungry birds that couldn’t find a morsel to eat. Waterways and the ground were all frozen so that any food in them was trapped under ice and snow.
At first we all felt so sorry for the birds that we put out lots of birdseed, but the birds kept on coming! Dennis and I quickly ran throught with 50lb bags of black oil sun flower seeds. When we checked at the Co-op and Walmart they were both sold out! So, we threw out loaf bread and baked pans of cornbread.
We were not alone in this plight. My friends texted and called with similar stories. Everyone wanted to help the birds, but then the black birds, crows and starlings began to come to our homes, too. Our yards and power lines began to look like the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds.”
Some people actually became afraid of the barrage of birds! When dozens of huge crows and other black birds ganged up and ran off the little birds, many people made the decision to pull the plug for them all! Bird feeders were taken down and all birds had to move on to the people that still had food in their feeders.
I, too, became frustrated and felt put upon. So many birds left my feeders nasty and disgusting looking. I knew that it couldn’t be sanitary having so many birds eating out of the same tray, but I didn’t know what to do about it. It was so cold and cleaning them up wasn’t something you could do in that weather! I knew that most of the birds that came to our homes were desperate! The weather was just plain bone-chilling and we southerners (birds & people) just don’t know what to do when it snows!
But, at least with humans, we could be inside and have a nice bowl of hot soup and turn up the temperature gauge on our heat. We lost a lot of birds last winter. Some froze to death, some starved and others because of the unsanitary conditions of having hundreds of birds eating and standing on the lip of the feeders got sick.
I look at the photos that I took last winter and see birds in them that I know died shortly after the snow melted. You all know about my precious bluebirds that we lost to the freezing cold. But, we also lost American Goldfinches, House Finches, Purple Finches and Pine Siskins that I have not seen return, except in small numbers.
2021 was a tough year for birds, not only due to inclement weather, but loss of habitat caused by land development and forest fires. There were many mysterious deaths of thousands of birds that the cause was never determined.
I know this sounds like gloom and doom, but when something is wrong, we must become aware that things aren’t right, in order to make improvements. As with many things that I just don’t know what to do, I have decided to pray. And that is what I ask you all to do...PRAY and ask God to help us become aware of the right actions to take to protect our birds and help them survive.
Birds are an essential part of our environment and without them our lives will not be the same. As we have found out with CoVid, there are many things that we take for granted. Please don’t let birds be one of them. They aretoo beautiful and important too the environment! Add birds to your prayer list and ask the Lord to protect our birds so that future generations can continue to “Look at the birds of the air...” Matthew 6:26.
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