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Birchwood Talk and Release

Cadma, veteran hen

This week I took a basket of birds up to Birchwood, the assisted living part of the Hillcrest retirement center for a talk and dove release. They gave me a microphone to help people hear better. I brought a white flock but also a red check, a blue bar and a silver hen to illustrate about colors and breeding. I also brought wooden eggs, a nest bowl, leg bands and some mixed feed so that people could feel things. I held a bird so that each person could feel its feathers, and the white bloom on the feathers. I based my talk on the ideas of “Bird of peace, bird of war”, and told them about the role of the white dove through all the world’s major religions, and stories of the homing pigeons’ courage as combat messengers. At the end we all stepped outside onto the lawn and I released the whole flock. They shot out, circled a bit and moved confidently out across the valley toward our home. When we were finished one of the women came up to me, put her hands on my arm and said, “I don’t hear very well at all, so I don’t know what you said, but I enjoyed myself so much!” That’s a compliment!

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