Opinion

Going to the birds can kill the blues

It was one of those days where I didn’t want to get out from under the covers.

Yes, it was a Sunday but I’d had a heck of a week and was content to spend the whole day inside, cocooning.  But it was not to be so. My five year old pulled the covers off me and said he wanted to feed the ducks.

We packed some PB&J sandwiches and water bottles, pulled on our gumboots, and headed to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta.

It was there, surrounded by hundreds of feathered friends, that I found the ultimate blues buster—feeding the ducks.

Going to the Reifel Sanctuary is a soothing trip in itself.  If I were to imagine what heaven looks like, I think it would be one of Westham Island’s grassy trails with the spring sunshine warming my face.

We picked up a bag of duck feed and started out on our walk (no stale bread for these modern birds—it is nutritionally unsound.)  Within moments, we had a gaggle of birds swarming us—mallards, Canada geese, pintails, coots, and the occasional wood duck.

Oh, the enthusiasm, the energy!  If you’ve ever seen a duck run before, you know how hilarious it is to see their tubby bodies rocking back and forth as they speed-waddle after you in their pursuit of food.

There are so many types of ducks, some with blue beaks, others with needle sharp tails, and even others with stubby feet that look like green beans.  There are ducks that sound like children’s toys squeaking and others that remind you of an old geezer’s laugh.  In the distance we heard the pterodactyl rattle of the Sandhill cranes.

Very soon I found the blues of the morning drift away like steam in the sunshine.  Our human family sat down on a bench and counted all the different types of birds we could see—the red winged black bird, the tiny chickadees, and the multitude of ducks.  We felt at one with the world and close as a family.

From a day starting with doom and gloom, I’d ended up going to the birds—and finding my smile.

Andrea Phillpotts is a Richmond writer and teacher. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of any school district, organization, or school. Her column appears every other Wednesday in The Richmond Review.

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