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The Birds of Golda

Posted: March 4, 2013

Recently, I have found that my cat Missy and I share a common interest. We both love to go outside and watch the birds. I love to just sit and observe, but by the look in Missy’s eyes, the strange sounds she makes, and the way her tail wags slowly back and forth, I suspect she has something else in her little mind.

Even the most common birds, like sparrows, are really interesting if you take some time to look at them. There are so many of them darting through the trees and the bushes, without even knowing it, they set a visual and musical backdrop for our outdoor experience. In the morning, they wake up the day with a tide of chirping that seems to arise in pace with the sun. When they are quiet, the out door experience can be reflective, lonely, maybe even sullen. I can’t imagine what the world would be like without them.  

I really think that our connections with birds is more evident than we are consciously aware of. Think of all the wise sayings we use regarding birds: , “ the early bird gets the worm” , “birds of a feather flock together…” , “ lucky duck..” , and in the political world…..   ”lame duck”, “ military hawk” , or  “Dove.” The animal chosen to represent  what  the American spirit is all about wasn’t a Beagle or a kitten it was a bald eagle. (Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be a turkey!)

There was a bird on U Tube a couple of years ago that  amazed  the world by dancing to music, not only was it dancing, it was dancing to the beat of the music. Birds are the only animals that imitate our speech also.  I read recently that it is believed that birds are direct ancestors of dinosaurs. That would mean they have been here much longer than we have. 

There is more and more evidence that birds are more aware of us then we realize. In the book, “Gifts of Crows”,  by John Marzluff and Tony Angell, (Free Press Publishing, New York, NY, 2012),  the  authors describe how these smart birds can recognize the faces of people who feed them.  The book gives numerous accounts of how crows are capable of using perception, emotion, and thought to exhibit behavior much like ours.

Our physical, mental and spiritual quests all have avian icons attached to them. The mighty eagle, the symbol of strength, the mysterious owl, hooting in the night, or the dove with a reed of grass as a symbol of peace, are all recognized symbols to us today because of a consistent fascination that has existed through the course of the history of mankind. If the theory of evolution explains why we don’t walk around on all fours why can’t it explain why we aren’t flapping our arms and soaring off the ground?! If there is any one thing that has served the bird’s survival (and gained man’s admiration!) it is a bird in flight. 

And we have them here at Golda. Free for the looking. One of my favorite things about watching the birds of Golda is; sit, and they will come. We have Red Cardinals , Blue Jays , we have Red Breasted Robins, Yellow Finches , Wild Turkeys, probably 5 different types of sparrows, we have migratory birds such as Grey Cat Birds, that fly up from Central America (maybe from Aldo and Axel’s  old neighborhoods), . All for free.

Male birds are almost always more colorful than female birds. But, in the birds of prey families, the females are always 2/3 bigger than the males. That would mean that if Viviane was 6’ tall I would be 4’ tall.  Interestingly, in the birds of prey bird world, females are known to leave the nests for weeks at a time, to fly away and explore, (shop?), while the male sticks around and defends their turf. (couch potatoes?)

In the bird watching world, enthusiasts refer to making life lists;  where people add to the list of different types of birds they see in their life. Here at Golda I have observed 22 different types of birds. Here is my, (and Missy’s) personal ‘Golda life list’, maybe you can add to the list!

1. Sparrows: (a) House sparrows (b) American tree sparrows (c) Eurasian Tree sparrows (d) Chipping sparrows (e) Field sparrows (f) Vesper sparrows

2. American Robin (spring through summer)

3. American Crow

4. Wild Turkey

5. Northern Cardinal

6. Black –capped Chickadee (Massachusetts state bird!)

7. Red Tailed Hawk (there is a couple that perch on the water tower)

8. Mourning Dove

9. American Goldfinch

10. Pileated Woodpecker

11. Common Grackle

12. Red – wing Blackbird (summer)

13. Brewers Blackbird


14. Gray Catbird (goes to Central America for winter)

15.  Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon)

16. Eastern Kingbird (Summer)

17.  Tufted Titmouse

18. Blue Jay (mostly in fall and winter)

Then we have some that use our ‘air space’ , let’s call them “Fly By Visitors”  to Golda:

19. Chimney Swifts

20. Sea Gulls

21. Ducks

22. Canadian Geese

Author's note; Thank You to Suzin Moore and to Ruth Grubstein, and our former (but not forgotten) Ruth Kahn for providing the feeders and feeding the 'Birds of Golda.'  

PHOTO: Missy the cat doing research on birds!

This post comes from Richard Lally, Maintenance Supervisor at Golda Meir House, a JCHE community.
March 4, 2013 

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