Bird Feeder Meditations

Many of us miss the tiny theaters of war that swoop into existence and just as quickly dissipate every day in our backyards.

Orange and white bird on a branch.

Bird feeders are hot spots, erupting into activity in an instant. It’s the “early bird” as they say, but almost any hour of daylight will present you with the chance to follow a colorful aerial ballet. These dogfights surge in waves around your hanging seed tray or posted feeder.

There’s the opportunity to take advantage of this kaleidoscope of riveting action and breathtaking stunts. You may find you can reset your brain and draw some peace out of this avian chaos.

You purchase bags of seed and reliably fill troughs. You might as well get some free mental health care out of the process.

On Approach to Your Feeder

Try to blend in.

To begin your journey into a meditative state, you have to put yourself into the “bird brains” that control these magnificently feathered machines. You’ll need a proper vantage point to do this from. You’ll need to adjust your pilot’s chair. 

Sit outside with an unobstructed view of the feeder if the weather allows. Give yourself the opportunity to hear flutters, chirps, beak knocks, clicks, and the rush of air. 

If not, sit at a window or sliding glass door. Your mind will supply the sound effects just fine. Silence that cellphone and let these feathered friends take your brain soaring.

Bird Feeder Mediation Launch

Now sit quietly. Observe the actions and decisions taking place. 

Notice the birds in the feeder, but also note every puffed chest of a bird waiting its turn. Check out the birds in a holding pattern. Get to know these circuitous routes as they stall until there’s a place at the table.

Mark in your mind the coordinates of every bird bidding time in a nearby branch. They’ll make themselves known with tiny flourishes of motion, even as they remain firmly attached to their branch. How far do the holding patterns extend? To the next yard? Two yards over?

Decide which birds are linked. Perhaps in a committed relationship. One bird braving the tumult around the food while the other waits quietly in the boughs of a maple.

Watch the dramatic charges, bluffs, and feints. Count how many times a bird flies straight at other fowl, full speed, trusting the other bird gets the hint and fly away.

Put Yourself in the Pilots Chair

After a period, your mind may loosen up enough to follow these birds in flight. Imagine the viewpoint as a bird approaches a feeder. 

Perhaps now inside the feeder, looking up at the tiny wooden rafters, protecting the spread of seed and dried fruit. A cathedral from a feathered perspective. 

My own bird feeder and live meditation class. Taken after a recent snow.

Follow a Cardinal on a controlled dive under a bush. Here, some sloppy eaters have ejected some nuts to the ground. Follow the birds gaze upward to see a canopy of crisscross branches above. To see waiting raptors perched in the lofts overhead. 

Winter can slow down this rush for sustenance or, at times, incite a mad shopping rush. Note the bird feet leaving arrows in the fresh snow. Imagine how the views change in those tree canopies as small glaciers form.

Bird Meditation Wind Down

Now that you’ve followed on spread wing, take one last look and close your eyes. Still remember where all of the actors were staged?

In the 3D topography of your yard formed in your mind, place each bird where it goes. With each swooping sound or whistle, try to move the bird meeple in your head for the bird you suspect has moved.

Try this for five minutes or so, looping birds in and out of your brain playset with each new sound.

Gliding Away to Prepare for Another Day

Bird returning to wooden bird house.
Returning home to curl up with some Netflix

Follow those flight paths into the green areas behind your house. As birds declare their bellies and cheeks full, they naturally desire to return home and stock the cupboards. As one bird leaves, notice who leaves at the same moment. 

Retreating further out of sight, from tree to tree, deep into the woods.

Imagine the return to a nest or a familiar branch. The tiny, slowing heartbeats as they expand their plumage to offer protection and warmth for the night.

After all the posturing and chirping, the near mid-air collisions, everyone ends up where they always do. Back in their domiciles, tucked into their feathers. Ready to be awakened by a fractured sunrise pouring through the foliage. To do it all again. 

Prepare your brain for a period of renewal each night. Or fortify your mind for the coming day each morning. If you find food, water, and have a nest to return to, your other worries can wait.

There are other ways to harness the power of nature in your mediations. For tips on meditating under a night sky click here. For some tips on meditating using all the soundscapes of nature click here.

Published by scottsentell20

Lifelong writer and coffee shop journaling champion. Content creator. Deep-Thought Diver. Hikes with dogs to learn their secrets to life. Likes the silence found on mountaintops and the peace that collects along the banks of small streams. I read old sci-fi novels to understand current events. Scott has roots in Alaska, Spokane, and North Carolina.

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