Her own worst enemy


After the last round of trips and reunions and summer fun, I came home tired! Last Wednesday I decided to take a nap with the baby. A few minutes into my glorious daytime slumber I hear what sounds like rain hitting the window. Thump…patter, patter, patter,…patter, patter. I squeeze open one eye not happy to be awakened and I see this bird, pretty yellow bird going crazy outside my bedroom window.


I sit up in my bed and watch this bird. Of course being the rational, calm and level-headed gal that I am my first thought is all Tippi Hedren–“this bird had gone insane and will talk to the rest of his bird friends and they will wait and attack me when I take out the garbage. ” Then I wonder if he has Mad Cow, the Bird Flu or CWD. I calm down, tell myself I am the one that flew over the Cuckoo’s nest. This little bird attacks the glass and then perches on the screen, panting. I watch her for a long time.


Now because I don’t know my Yellow Warbler or Evening Grosbeak from my Pine Siskin or American Goldfinch ,I Google it. I, like everyone else who wants to sound smart about something they know nothing about…I Googled it. I soon believe this to be a nesting female American Goldfinch.


The boys and I name her Sally–and for the next few hours and days we all watch her with wonder and delight. She doesn’t seem to see us. My 16 month old calls her “Derd” and my 4-year-old (with the lisp)  says “thimmer down thilly thally” while he is watching PBS Kids on my bed (I have to grin when I hear it).


She starts around dawn (grrrr thanks Silly Sally) and goes 12 or 13 hours.

I notice she has bits of debris in her beak. I stop with the laundry and I look.  She is busy, swooping back and forth, building a nest in the evergreen near the house. She continues to attack the window every 10 minutes or so. It is 102 degrees outside. She is panting and you can see her little heart pounding in her chest. I put out a bowl of water. The wasps use it and she keeps going, fliting back and forth and stopping to battle the other bird in the window.

She is attacking her own reflection.


While she is so busy flitting and flying she see’s her reflection in the glass–she thinks that is another bird–she is gonna get you sucka!  “Take that, you stranger, get away from me, leave me and my babies alone” (Tweeted in a high birdie voice of course). She fights and fights, drops down to perch on the screen below.


She has a nest to build, eggs to lay, babies to feed and protect and she is fighting her own image.

This has been a hard week for me. I got served some things on my full plate that are hard to swallow. I’ve spent a great deal of time watching this bird and thinking about me. Some days I am my own worst enemy. Procrastination, irritation, isolation, exhaustion and production. Back and forth I flit and I fly and I fight….


Maybe I wasted time this week, trying to figure out this bird behavior. Maybe I wanted something silly to think about. Maybe there is something to be learned from Sally.

Sincerely, Sara


10 thoughts on “Her own worst enemy

  1. I love this, Sara! So many times in my life, I have been my own worst enemy…..imagining what bad things will happen, making a fuss because things aren’t going the way I’d hoped. All while not listening to the One who knows all and enjoying the simple things in my life. I chuckle when I think of this bird and of you all watching her and all of us learning from her craziness. Love you, too, Girl!

  2. Is there something wrong with hitting self against your own reflection?…(said rhetorically) I think we all have a silly sally we contemplate with…silly sally’s can be healthy, they can teach us a lot, or reveal to us things we want to hide from and soon our heads are in the sand…don’t let silly sally’s send us to the sand…take joy and know Psalm 121:2-3,”My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.”

  3. There may be some rule in the blogosphere that states, “do not comment on your own blog post”. However, since my sister wrote it I feel that I can comment. I LOVE THIS POST! The pics are amazing and your perspective and text is moving, You see things I wouldn’t.

  4. Pingback: July flew by | thesisterslice

  5. I wish you the best of luck working through your full plate. I don’t have any suggestions for that, but I have one for the bird. Tape a piece of paper on the outside of the window, inside the screen, if you can get to it, to block her seeing her reflection. Might get wet if it rains, but it will block the glass. It might break her habit of attacking. Once she is actually sitting on the nest she will be less agitated, hopefully. Good luck on all counts!

  6. Great metaphor – with beautiful photos to match!

    Tape a bird silhouette to the window so she realizes it’s a reflective surface and doesn’t attack herself. And if you find a similar device for humans, can you mail me one!?

  7. Pingback: Sara’s Favorite Slices… | thesisterslice

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