Albert turns his head the way that birds do, regarding me from six feet away on the deck railing as I tell him to give me a minute. I’m on the back deck, ready to offer bird seed in little piles along the top of the railing. I think my little cardinal friend watches for me. He often shows up just after I step out there, to remind me that I should feed him. He’s a cute little moocher.
Since I live in St. Louis, and his species bears the name of our favorite, local baseball team, I gave him Albert Pujols’ first name.
I bend to fill the little feeder that I keep on the floor of the deck. Turning my head, I see him just behind me, sitting on that railing, already cracking a sunflower seed in his bill. Might as well eat as soon as possible before the blackbirds arrive. I wonder if I could persuade him to eat out of my hand…? When I straighten, he flies over to the apple tree.
When I was a student earning my degree in zoology, my initial goal was to become a wildlife biologist. At the time, I thought about studying mammals, but since then I’ve become more fascinated by birds. It doesn’t matter, because I don’t work in my field of study. My ornithological passion is fulfilled by feeding and watching the birds in my backyard.
I was so excited – I pulled into my driveway the other day, and the elusive orange-and-black Baltimore oriole I’ve only twice glimpsed was waiting his turn in the bird bath. After I went inside, I peeked out the front window, and he was preening his damp feathers on a branch just outside the window.
Watching the oriole preen reminded me of how perfectly God has designed birds. The barbules of the feathers have little hooks along their edges that allow them to connect, like a zipper, to seal out water and create an aerodynamic surface.
Among the diverse groups of animals on our planet, I believe my feathered friends provide the best example of why Darwin’s theory of evolution makes no sense. Randomly mutating cells would not produce the kind of results that enable birds to fly, build nests, or vocalize.
I’ll continue this topic, briefly, in my next post.