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Noticing the Wonder

About five years after we moved to our home in Beaverton, Oregon, and then for maybe another five years after that, the tree just across the street was a Starling Tree.

I call it that because hundreds and hundreds of starlings would congregate in this tree every afternoon in the spring and fall — just after the leaves fell and again just before they came back, if memory serves. The birds would come to the tree little by little, singing non-stop and incredibly loudly, making a racket that could be heard throughout the entire neighborhood. This would last for maybe as much as an hour as the flock waited for all their members to come to the tree.

Then suddenly, as if they shared one body and mind, they would all go silent and then take off in a wild murmuration toward their nighttime destination. The sound of all those wings when they first took to the air was amazing, and many afternoons I would stand outside to watch and listen. It was simply incredible.

One year, only a fraction returned, and within a few short years they didn’t come back at all. Now, years later, our neighborhood starling tree is just a big tree that beautifully catches the afternoon light, like a spotlit empty stage.

I am sharing this story with you because, well, it’s a neat story. But mainly I want to remind you to bother to take note of the amazing things around you whenever they happen every day.

They will not always be there to amaze you. Don’t miss it.

By the way, if you are lucky you’ve been able to see a starling murmuration in person. If not, then check out this murmuration video from National Geographic.