Birds and Bird Feeders: Journey with Parkinson’s

“Let the bird sing without deciphering the song.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Wild sings the bird of the heart in the forests of our lives.” Mary Oliver

Introduction: Our move to South Carolina has us living in a 55+ (years of age) gated community with golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, swimming pools, gyms, many other crafts/activities, and a whole lot of Mother Nature. So far, we have seen Copperhead snakes, armadillos, squirrels, lizards, frogs, toads, field mice, and rats. There are also numerous lagoons in this residential community where alligators and Cottonmouth snakes reside. As everyone around us says, the wildlife was here long before the community was built. Thus, we all share the land and amenities with nature. But this blog post is about birds and bird feeders.

“Once you develop the practice of smiling, you may not need a reminder. You will smile as soon as you hear a bird singing or see the sunlight streaming through the window.” Thích Nhất Hạnh

The Wonder of Recruiting Birds to Your Home: Susan is a big advocate of bird watching, and she was used to having multiple bird feeders in her past homes. Me, not so much. When we moved into our house, we saw very few birds, even with all the trees around. So, we unpacked three different bird feeders and a birdbath for the backyard, got birdseed, and waited.

Within a week, several birds had found the biggest bird feeder resting next to a large pine tree. Within another week, the little house-like bird feeder was attracting some birds. And occasionally, we would see hummingbirds feeding out of the red-colored bird feeder. And yes, we had squirrels trying to eat birdseed as well. So, we treated the birdseed with cayenne pepper powder because the squirrels did not like the hot flavor; evidently, the birds did not care. Recently, we found a rat feeding on the birdseed; come to find out, rats love sunflower seeds, which are in our birdseed. Nevertheless, the birdseed and bird feeders were attracting birds.

You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.” Hal Borland

The Beauty of Attracting Birds to Your Home: There must be some communication network between birds because, now, we have a common meeting place for all kinds of birds, cardinals, woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, mockingbirds, sparrows, blue jays (there are even a couple of owls in the trees somewhere close). They fly in, perch, eat, fly out, and repeat it over and over again. They play chase, mate, and wash in the birdbath; interestingly, certain birds will only visit one of the bird feeders, not the others. They come and go from early morning until later in the afternoon. Then, the frogs appear in the evening, and their antics replace the birds from daylight. There is natural beauty here, represented by these birds and their feeding in the backyard. It provides natural relaxation by sitting around and watching their feeding, playing, and whatnot.

“A few melancholy birds were pipping and wailing, until the round red sun sank slowly into the western shadows; then an empty silence fell.” J.R.R.Tolkien

The Kindness of Feeding Birds and Caring for Someone with Parkinson’s: While wanting to recruit beautiful and playful birds to your backyard takes effort, it happens because someone went out of their way to make it happen. Likewise, caring for a person-with-Parkinson’s (PwP) requires much time and effort from the Care Partner. Therefore, I count myself lucky because my bird recruiter will hopefully adapt to be my Parkinson’s Care Partner if ever needed (hopeful this will not be necessary for many years to come).

“I want to sing like the bird’s sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” Rumi

To Reduce Stress in Parkinson’s, Try Bird Watching: An added benefit to bird watching in your backyard is that it is very relaxing. By contrast, while working full-time, the cost of stress to the PwP was always present. While the damage of such stress in your life cannot be estimated, reducing stress is paramount to focus on improving once one has retired. The times I have just sat and watched the birds play and eat have provided a new tool in the fight against Parkinson’s. Try it sometime if you get a chance. Watch some birds feed and interact. See if your heart rate drops a few points when you are relaxed, sitting, and bird-watching.

“We heard no other sounds. We met no other people. We saw only two bright red birds leap startled from the center of the meadow and dart into the woods.” Haruki Muraka

Cover photo credit by Gabi from Pixabay.

2 Replies to “Birds and Bird Feeders: Journey with Parkinson’s”

  1. Enjoy nature…it is easily available and affordable on any budget just sit quietly and absorb the sounds and beauty.


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