This I Believe

Christy - Spring Arbor, Michigan
Entered on April 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

My grandpa has been trying to catch a songbird-killing hawk for over four years, with little luck. Nothing angers Grandpa more than having something kill his songbirds.

Grandpa is a navy man, a proud U.S. veteran of the Korean War, who can swap navy stories with the best of them. He pretends to be a gruff, tough old coot who would prefer to sneak a smoke in his cellar than visit with the grandkids, but he doesn’t fool us. His birds give him away.

Grandpa’s birds are like his children. He puts bird feeders out for them in the winter, and he watches for them each morning from the kitchen porch to make sure the birds appear for their morning check in. He worries about his birds the most in the spring, when they’re nesting.

Last summer, a killdeer decided to nest in the center of his gravel driveway. He put out orange pylons to warn company not to drive over the nest. One time, I saw him run out of the house, waving his arms in the air and yelling for the company to drive on his lawn instead of the driveway, just to keep the killdeer’s nest safe.

A family of mourning doves always chooses to nest in a big, evergreen tree by the backdoor, each season Grandpa gives us the family history of that mourning dove family. I believe this summer’s family is the great-great grandchildren of the original family who nested in the tree. Grandpa says you can still see the old great-grandfather bird stop in for a visit every now and then.

Because of Grandpa, I now think of every little robin and gold finch who hops across my path as potential friend; a reminder that I have an amazing Grandpa who through the small act of caring for tiny birds has taught me compassion; for this I believe.