Sharing the bench with a flycatcher

by +CrystalThieringer    @cdthieringer

DSCN8636It seems it only took a flick of the flag on Canada Day for summer to kick into gear. The morning was hot, the humidity significant. Some days, that is an oppressive combination.

Across the way, our neighbours are busy with a huge landscaping project. We’ve taken the bird feeders down, so the view outside my office window  has changed. More legs and sneakers. Less noticeable fluttering of wings.

In the quiet of the morning, before the windows must be closed to let the air conditioning work efficiently, I love how birds call one to the other. Familiar friends–robiDSCN8618ns and chickadees, nuthatches and cardinals–send their familiar greetings. This year, a new-to-me bird has joined the mix and I can finally identify her. She’s a great-crested flycatcher who, it turns out, has been blending into our trees easily with her green and brown colouring. She tends to stay up high, and it wasn’t until the neighbour set up a nesting box that I noticed her at all. Now though, she’s someone I watch for, and seeing her perched on top of her box in their yard is a source of joy.

This afternoon, I heard more calls from the backyard. One of the teenage flycatchers was both being scolded and fed on the bench in my yard. I stepped out to take a few pictures, but he seemed as curious about me as I was of him.  We hung out for a while, he at his end of the bench and me at mine. I was intruding, to be sure. This was confirmed as the adult birds introduced more of their distress calls, but aside from some yelling at him to stay away from gang members, and some at me to leave their baby alone, that’s all there was. For five minutes or so, we sat there and figured things out. He looked at me, the parents looked at me, and I watched all of them. Soon one of the parental units convinced him that he needed to get back right now or he’d be going to bed without dinner, and that was that. He flew to the ferns.

It’s not unlike the circle of friends who have joined me as I work through some things. Most I haven’t met face to face. I am surprised how beautifully help has come from expected sources, but also from some unexpected ones. Things are well in hand, and I am blessed every single day by these kindnesses that make difficult journeys easier.DSCN8627

It is often this way, though. When life’s challenges come (and they do, of course, to each one), we think we know where the most support will come from. Sometimes it’s from the cardinal we see every day. Sometimes it’s from the flycatcher you never even knew was there.



6 thoughts on “Sharing the bench with a flycatcher

  1. Love, love, LOVE that last part. Help from an unexpected source. Very often the best kind. I hope you find many flycatchers in your life today, my friend.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. Now of course I see them all the time. I mentioned to our company that I can’t believe I never noticed them before and he said, “They must not have been here. You would have.”

      He was wrong. They were blending into the background, and I didn’t see them until just the moment I needed to.

  2. What gorgeous little birds. I love his still-baby fuzz head. What a holy little encounter. Your imagining of the parent-child conversation is hilarious. “Stay away from gang members!” Lol! Help *does* come when we need it. Your last paragraph kills it! Gorgeous.

    1. Thanks, Ros. I decided his name is George. I’m especially fond of his not-quite-there throat feathers. He’s going to be my new friend, if his parents allow it.

  3. I also love the last paragraph. George is precious. I am glad you shared this today, on a day I needed to read it.

    1. I know it’s been a difficult couple of days for you, Denise. Hope things are rolling along for you soon!

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