The Prune: A bird’s eye view: Feathers are readied for flight

By Todd Sharp

We have an abundance of birds around here.

Some stay for the winter. A few will even come south to winter in Wisconsin. Most arrive in the spring, flocking together, having babies and enjoying our abundance.

Their songs wake us early to make sure we’re in tune and up for a morning walk/run, bike ride or watching the sunrise sipping a cup of coffee; great little natural alarm clocks.

I always look so forward to watching the birds in the summer and then they’re gone as quickly as a fluttery blur of fast-paced family gatherings, friends’ parties and the abundance of outdoor activities.

Just the other day I noticed there weren’t as many birds tweeting in the morning, flying around and singing in the backyard.

Where did they go?

They must be getting ready to leave for the long trip back to their winter home.

As the sun was going down Saturday night I found where they might have gone.

We were driving to get a beer and pizza and noticed 1,000s of birds sitting on the power wires across the road from Ed Preibe’s tractor and implement dealership.

To me, birds gathering in huge flocks is a sure sign of fall.

As summer is coming to an end, the birds flock together — eating, cackling, gaining strength in riches of the fields to build the stamina for their trip back south.

Another telltale of the changing season is the kids getting ready to go back-to-school. College, high school, grade school, elementary school, maybe their very first year of 4-year-old kindergarten.

Throughout summer young birds grow strong and experienced at a furious pace to be ready to make the trip south. Being a bit of a birdbrain myself, I can only imagine how wonderfully stimulating and exciting the first trip away from the nest could be.

Our kids take a little longer to leave the nest, which is fine; I like having them around.

Our children go off to college a little bit apprehensive and tentative about the unknown, yet realistically they must be losing feathers with excitement to have the chance to spread their wings and see how far and fast they can fly.

Parents left behind are equally excited about the kids’ future — both enthused and yet uneasy about their own future and place in the world without having the daily responsibility of caring for their little goslings.

So we empty nesters and the young flyers will gather together this final week to perch on the telephone wires or sit on the porch searching for wisdom in the ripening wheat, corn and soybean fields.

This is a great time to be taking flight.

The ability to communicate and stay connected keeps improving with cell phones, texting, Skype and video chat. These erase some of the distance, but never your influence of a good, solid foundation of love, nurturing and caring.

Spring will come around soon and we’ll look forward to the flutter of summer of activities, ready to get up early and outside after the birds wake us.

Hopefully the kids will visit often and rustle our feathers.

Editor’s note: When not being a birdbrain, Todd Sharp is an advertising sales prune for the Green Laker, Express and The Ripon Commonwealth Press.