by Heidi M. Pascual
Birds: When No COVID Seems to Matter
During this pandemic when none of us senior citizens can really do much else but stay
at home, watch our health, follow the latest news about COVID-19, and dream of a
better tomorrow for the world, I found myself enjoying bird watching early every morning
as I sit lazily sipping coffee on my porch. I am glad that here in the barrio, there are still
so many of God’s creatures untouched by modernization and anything that scares
humanity, that just by looking at them and hearing their beautiful tweets, I feel that hope
for a happy life is not far behind. Birds have become “family” ever since COVID-19 kept
me at home in the province and so far away from my children and their families. I wake
up when I hear certain bird songs before 6 a.m., as if my kids are telling me, “Mom, it’s
time to wake up and prepare breakfast!”

So I found myself getting some bird seeds and corn grits when the Community
Quarantine regulation became a bit relaxed in my barrio. The daily bird watching has
become more serious in that I am now feeding birds in my garden. It is fun to watch
Mayas lined up on the electrical cable from the street to my house, waiting for me to
strew their food in the garden. I have learned to scatter the bird seeds and corn grits on
a specific place away from my dog’s house, because my dog barks at them whenever
she sees them. It seems the feeling of jealousy isn’t exclusively for humans.

I got the sense that I have to balance my attention to both, for they both deliver joy to me
though differently. It is actually another learning experience to note how animals react
to one another when they have a common friend between them. It’s flattering to feel
needed while at the same time learning how to avoid favoritism in order to maintain
wholesome relationships.

Probably to take my bird-watching hobby to the next level, I decided to get myself two
baby African lovebirds to take care of and watch them grow. As of this writing, they have
been under my care for six days, and I feed them with regular infant food, with
additional mashed fruits like banana, mango, and guava.
A closer look at these birds — those I feed every morning in the garden, as well
as the two baby birds I now take care of — make me realize one very important
thing: birds are not affected at all by COVID-19, nor by any pandemic humans are
so scared about. Birds simply survive with whatever nature offers them and fly
where their wings lead them. They don’t plan; they just do what God wanted
them to do. And they seem to be content on making nature more beautiful and
pleasant, and on their extraordinary role of making people happy.

If only humans can fly, then we will be free like birds. We can move from place to
place where nature is beautiful and peaceful. If only humans can be content with
what they have, then the world will never know the meaning of greed. If only
humans love simple living, then there will be no congestion in cities (or there will
be no cities at all, just small barrios like where I am). If only humans love one
another as God loves us, there will be no wars, just peaceful, harmonious
existence. If only humans take good care of our natural environment, then
probably there will be no pandemics. If only …
Their wings are now developed; they have learned how to eat from the little spoon I use to feed them; have shown signs of both stress and calm; and
have been “kissing” each other as lovebirds are supposed to do. I am just patiently waiting for anyone of them to learn to fly. I don’t plan to release
them in the next month or so, thinking it is better to train them first on knowing their master and their “home,” so they would know where to go back to
in case they fly outside the boundaries of my home and backyard.