By Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D.
I don’t usually feel jealous. I’m not jealous of those with larger or fancier homes. My husband and I are blessed with a wonderful home we enjoy sharing with others. A more expensive or fancier car doesn’t make me jealous nor do fun toys like speed boats or Jet Ski’s.
I’m jealous about something different. I’m jealous of my neighbors’ birds, especially the birds that lay their eggs and hatch babies every spring . . . in their yards, not mine.
One summer I spent six weeks in Tucson, Arizona where I observed birds up close. Watching hatchings’ heads pop up with gaping beaks for feedings made them almost cute. Around two weeks old, I noticed the fledglings’ eyes open and their bodies covered in a soft downy coat that made them enduring. Every day I checked “my” baby birds’ progress. What joy. Joy I have yet to experience in my yard. But my neighbors do.
“We have baby birds every year.”
“The same birds come back year after year to nest in our yard.”
“You don’t get raptors in your yard? We have so many of those.”
And so it goes. A number of my neighbors also enjoy creating backyards that intentionally draw birds. I too have created an attractive yard for birds. My yard features two bird baths and six different types of bird feeders offering an assortment of bird seed. I bought a bird nesting box . . . that obviously has never been used. Maybe I should buy some nesting building material at my favorite store, Wild Birds Unlimited. Would that help?
Why do my neighbors get the joy of baby birds and I don’t?
Maybe it’s the fact that we own two cats. The geriatric cat hasn’t moved fast in years. Plus, she could care less about birds or anything else except naps, food, naps, sunbathing, and naps.
It could be the second cat, my Cali kitty. I admit that Cali does like birds. Since she stalks the doves she’s not allowed in the backyard unless supervised.
The barking Chihuahua could be another factor. She barks just to bark. And then barks again. Occasionally I’ve seen her run towards a bird. But mostly she just scratches the door to get back in and cuddle next to me.
But I’m a smart lady and don’t give up easily. While pulling weeds in the front yard I noticed many birds enjoying our trees. I moved the nesting box from the back yard to the front yard. My kids gave me a lovely new bird house for my birthday (photo) and I’ll hang it there, too.
I won’t stop hoping for nesting birds, eggs, and baby birds. But in case I don’t get them, instead of being jealous, I’ll knock on my neighbors’ doors and say, “Can I visit those baby birds again?”
And being the wonderful neighbors they are, they’ll gladly share God’s springtime blessings. Maybe I don’t need to feel jealous after all.