My kitchen window almost makes up for not having a dishwasher. While standing at my sink, I have met the quizzical gaze of a small herd of deer, and seen a cow moose and her calf enjoy a dessert of my small apple tree. I even once looked up to see a fox streaking across the dry fall grass, with my cat in hot pursuit! Mostly, though, I enjoy the birds at the feeder that hangs from my porch. In summer, I hang a hummingbird feeder from a wire, which is mostly wishful thinking since I have only had a half-dozen sightings in the last three years.

Winter’s birds are mostly chickadees and juncos, though today I saw a woodpecker (downy, I think) and purple finch enjoying the seeds. I love seeing both pine and evening grosbeaks with their bright colors, and the orioles that nest nearby in the spring are bashful but melodious.

Today as the girls and I ate our lunch, we were surprised to see one of the chickadees swinging from the hummingbird feeder wire. He’d dip back to the feeder, then swing from the bottom loop of the wire again. His antics were very entertaining, and it wasn’t until I got the camera out and zoomed in that I realized that he wasn’t playing, he was stuck. I guess -20C (-5F) isn’t really playful weather, but when I’d originally seen him there, I’d dismissed the idea that he could be stuck because his feet were free, and he was twisting around in all directions. But as he perched on the feeder, little body trembling, I could see that the wire had followed his body and was indeed attached to him somehow.

To tell the truth, I was tempted for a moment to wait to rescue him cause I didn’t yet have my photo, but I didn’t know how long he had been struggling, and couldn’t let him suffer. So I grabbed my boots, mitts and a chair to stand on and went out on my mission of mercy. My daughters watched the whole thing from their lunchtime seats at the kitchen table.

When he saw me, he tried to flee with all his might, flying in arcs as far as the wire’s limits. Which made me a little nervous about my task – he could have easily been injured by his attempts to escape my assistance. His movement made it clear where he was trapped – he had ducked his head into the large loop of wire and his feathers acted like a barbed fishhook when he tried to back out – and without hands, he couldn’t widen the loop to fly forward from his prison. Fortunately I have a couple of them, and even with mittens on, it was a simple matter of holding the wire slightly wider – and he was gone, off into the trees to nurse his (physchological) wounds – he seemed otherwise unhurt. I removed the wire so that eating at the Fehr feeder carries a lower element of risk from now on. (I drew a yellow line on the photo approximately where the wire was.)

When I got back into the house, the girls and I had a nice little talk about how God made the birds and loves them, and so it’s our job to love and care for the animals too. Which is the basic reason why every Christian should care about the environment.I’ve posted a photo of my Raspberries painting as it stood at the end of last night’s session. I know I said that I would do the berries last, but I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to do them next, and then see how complete the background looks – might be it’s basically done and to continue would be to overwork it. And I don’t want to lose the spontaneity. And, a detail shot of my current favorite spot in the incomplete painting. I can just see the leaves hiding in the washes, waiting to be born!