The Sincere Symbolism of Songbirds

During the lockdown, I developed a little habit of watching birds come to and fro through my sunroom window. As I watched, I really started to notice and reflect on the parallels between the free birds and our trapped nature. It made me think hard, and I felt the need to express some of these thoughts.


Mohammed Ali Alkhafaji, Bear Hub Staff

I consider my father to be a lover of the great outdoors. Naturally, he was quite upset when we had to stay at home for months on end. He grew a magnificent garden so he could watch nature grow from inside and one of his favorite activities would be sitting outside watching the birds eat away at some of the plants he grew for them. When the snow came, the plants died and many birds had started migrating. My father felt bad for the poor birds and thought they wouldn’t get enough food for their journey, so he installed a birdfeeder in our backyard, and they flocked to it.

We’d just sit there watching all kinds of different birds come and go. Eventually, we bought two more since we wanted to see the birds from every angle of the house, not just the backyard. Even our cat would join us sometimes, watching the fowls soar and dip. We’d be glued to the windows, watching our feathered friends zip and flutter, chasing each other. On occasion, we’d see bluebirds, woodpeckers, warblers, goldfinches, swallows, robins, and sparrows. Sometimes a hawk would come and scare the smaller songbirds away, ruining our fun. Our favorite was the northern cardinal, with its magnificent crimson feathers and famous round look. Here it was communicating and playing with other cardinals, trying to attract a mate.

To be honest, it was quite ironic. This bird was doing the exact opposite of what we were doing; simply staying at home and not meeting anyone new, while these little guys socialized back and forth. As I watched the birds soar high in the sky and go anywhere, it made me think. Birds represent a past freedom which we enjoyed, that being the ability to go wherever we want. Sadly, we no longer have that freedom as the pandemic came around. It was like if you had trapped a marvelous bluejay in a confined cage. Just like birds however, we must go from one place to another. They’re remarkable in the fact that they travel thousands of miles to a new area and easily adapt to it. We too had to go from normal lives to being stuck at home. I have a heavy suspicion that we too will return to our normal lives soon, like how birds do when they migrate back.