I looked out the window. Sunlight was streaming through it onto my face. I thought, What a beautiful, peaceful morning….

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch. Photo © Cheryl Shank.


Suddenly, “Tweep, tweep, tweep, tweep, tweep!” A huge flock of American Robins erupted from a cottonwood tree nearby. They landed in the pine trees near our house.


“They’re migrating! I have to get out there,” I shouted. I grabbed my camera and rushed out the back door. My big brother, who is the other birder in the family, was already there. Robins were everywhere.


Flying overhead were smaller flocks of ducks and geese, obviously migrating too. The lawn was dotted with more robins, goldfinches, Yellow-rumped Warblers, House Finches, and White-throated Sparrows. “Click, click, click.” I took pictures as fast as I could.


Then I spotted gray-blue, red, and black. “A life bird—a Red-breasted Nuthatch!” I gasped.
I quickly snapped a few pictures, then ran in to get the Peterson guide. “The Red-breasted Nuthatch breeds in southern Canada, then migrates down to the Midwest.”


So they will be here only a few days, I thought to myself. I ran back out to point him out to my brother. I took some more pictures and then glanced at my watch. Thirty minutes had passed in a flash!

I went back inside, satisfied, having been out on a wonderful morning with one of God’s mysteries, migration.