From Her Window

How bird watching helps a woman feel closer to God's creation–and appreciate her own humanity

Posted in , Mar 22, 2015

A Baltimore oriole feeds his young some grape jelly. Photo by Barbara K. Higgins.

Meet Barbara Higgins of Springfield, Vermont. She finds inspiration in a wonderful hobby that anyone at any age can do...birdwatching.

Barbara has always enjoyed nature, but it wasn’t until after retirement that she found the time to really study birds.

To attract a wide variety, she has a unique feeding station outside her kitchen window. Her husband attached six spokes to a metal pole which he anchored in the ground, and then hooked up to an old TV rotary antenna. (“Probably nobody under the age of 50 or 60 will know what that is,” quips Barbara.)

The TV antenna bird feeder. Photo by Barbara K. Higgins.The antenna motor sits on the kitchen counter and can be used to rotate the spokes so that Barbara can fill the various feeders right from the window, without ever having to go outside!

“Folks who visit us are amazed at this contraption, and say ‘Only in Vermont!’” says Barbara. She feeds the birds year round and has a heated bird bath that keeps ice from forming. (Vermont's winter temperatures can dip as low as 22 degrees below zero.)

The feeders have attracted more than 60 different species of birds including robins, warblers, sparrows, juncos, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, orioles, finches, cardinals, blue birds and blue jays. Living close to the Connecticut River, she’s also seen snow geese, cormorants, tundra swan, and great blue herons. And she’s even seen bald eagles!  

Watching birds helps Barbara feel closer to God’s creation. She likes studying their behavior and how they communicate. “I’ve learned that birds are survivors. They’re opportunists, architects and great providers for their young.”

A sleeping American goldfinch. Photo by Barbara K. Higgins.“One thing they’ve taught me is the wisdom of saving for hard times,” she says. Barbara has noticed that birds often have to work hard to survive. “It makes me feel humble that all of us humans, for the most part, have life pretty easy by comparison. No matter our religious beliefs, we need to be thankful for that.”

A 35mm camera with a good zoom lens is kept at the handy. “I love taking photographs of the birds and use my photos to make greeting cards instead of purchasing them. I think it adds a more personal touch and most of my family and friends enjoying receiving them. I call my cards, From My Window.”

Other wonderful creatures of God that sometimes visit Barbara are bears, moose, deer, raccoons, red fox, otters, mink, woodchucks,and beavers.

Watching nature has surely been an inspiration…right outside her window.

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