I’m sure you’ve all heard about the uncharacteristic deep freeze from which Texas has recently thawed. The news media did not exaggerate! I thought I had diligently winterized my yard as usual, but it wasn’t enough for this crazy winter vortex that crashed through!

Nevertheless, one aspect of our urban garden that did thrive despite the below freezing temperatures was the menagerie of birds, some not ever seen this far south, who decided to grace us with their abundant presence. Consequently, I now have a new love affair with bird watching! Birds play a vital role in the circle of gardening life.

Birds devour thousands of insects, especially in the spring when insect population is rapidly multiplying and the new bird parents are feeding their hatchlings. Seed eating birds consume great quantities, including those dastardly invasive weed seeds. Birds are also hard at work as pollinators, spreading nectars, giving bloomers an extra umph.

But most of all, during this cold snap, I’ve enjoyed just watching their shenanigans! It’s free therapy and a natural stress reliever. Interacting with the birds, feeding them, listening to their songs, and improving their habitat gives me an additional sense of well-being. And it’s inspired me to learn more! Here are some extra folk lore tidbits about the birds that came to visit us this year in our backyard.

Blue jay – stand for loyalty and long-lasting friendship

White wing dove – peace and love

Cardinal – devotion and courtship

Robin – death, rebirth, and spring

Tit mouse – keeper of knowledge and truth

Finch – abundance and prosperity

Sparrow – power in creativity

Chickadee – good luck and happiness

Cedar wax wing – selflessness and generosity

Woodpecker – understanding the rhythms of life

Junko – open minded, hearer of truth

Hummingbird – endurance and expectation of joy

Swallows – symbol of God’s presence, peace, and love

Are you making room for nature to speak to you?

Even the birds find a home there, and the swallow builds a nest, where she can protect her young near your altars, O Lord who rules over all, my king and my God.

Psalms 84: 3

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