Connecting with nature through our feathered friends


By Terry Rader

The other day I thought I saw a flurry of leaves being shaken from the trees all at once. This seemed a little odd on a lazy, windless Sunday afternoon. Opening my door and looking outside, I saw a hundred or more robins circling back and forth, up and down as if they were dancing the return of Spring.

Last week’s October weather had been in the 40s and today we were back to 95 degrees. Azaleas were blooming and bees were buzzing. I see seasons overlapping as climate change reveals itself to those of us who are paying attention.

If you happen to be a bird lover, you may see more clues than most, even at your backyard bird feeders. Recently I attended an Audubon talk given by Kim Brand, Field Organizer for Audubon North Carolina. Kim expressed: “We who love birds need to raise our voices more than ever.”

As she clicked through four climatic suitability projection maps, my heart sank to see so few trees and the reality of how climate change could affect the immigration of birds. Some will adapt, some will stay and suffer, and some will die. The good news she shared is that each of us can play a part in helping the birds survive. You can learn about planting native plants for birds, where to purchase sustainable birdseed, and other ways to be an ambassador for birds on Audubon’s website at

There’s never been a better time to fall in love with birding. Our golden years allow us to become more mindful and slow our pace. Birds have a lot to teach us about living in community, tending to our nests, and being mindful of our neighbors. Even more, they remind us to sing and to celebrate! They each have a unique voice and the beauty of all of their voices combined is what makes the outdoor symphony so sweet. Diversity is necessary in nature and is welcome in communities who desire to share and learn from each other.

Birds truly are the canaries of our planet. Perhaps if we help them along, they will not only continue to share their beautiful songs, but their wisdom may help us to learn to adapt to our changing planet as well.

Being in nature is one of the best healing therapies we have. Benefits include strengthening our short-term memory, helping to lower blood pressure, reducing stress, and getting exercise – all for free! What’s more, you may discover a way to find a little peace, to quiet that ever-present chatter in your head, in a walking meditation that allows you to hear your inner voice and be reconnected to that unique song that only you can sing.

Don’t forget to look up; you never know who might be looking back at you.

Terry Rader is a writer, poet, an aspiring singer/songwriter, and a former creative director and graphic designer who brings her professional advertising agency experience in strategic, conceptual storytelling to inspire, raise awareness for and help grow internal cultures and external tribes. She is the Creative Consultant & De-clutter Coordinator in her new company, Muse n’ Motion, to help women repurpose and organize spaces in their home for creativity, simplification, or to sell.


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