My kids stare at an 80-inch widescreen for a good portion of the day. At times it’s hard to get their attention because they’re so zoned out. They just can’t seem to peel their eyes away from the vivid, high-definition action. Sometimes they even wander away from their lunch or dinner so they can watch that riveting rectangle a bit more, their eyes glazed over with excitement.
Honestly, I think it might be an addiction.
I’m talking, of course, about our dining room window. And the primary channel that is televised on this screen features a consistent slate of bird-oriented shows. We could perhaps name the channel BEAT, or the Birds Eating And Tweeting network.
Occasionally the BEAT broadcast will briefly shift to “cars pulling into neighbors’ driveways” or “person walking down the road” or “delivery woman dropping off a package” or, if it’s our lucky day, “heating oil guy pumping petroleum into our basement.” But invariably, the bird programming always resumes once the human-centered action dies down.
Greyson and Violet are consistently entertained by these bird shows, never asking us to change the channel. Birds apparently satisfy all their screen-time cravings. Unlike other rectangular panes of glass that can be stared at, this one doesn’t sedate; it exhilarates. And it has zero advertisements or product placement! (Well, other than the repeated sight of vans emblazoned with that smiley-looking Amazon logo.)
There is a notable reason why birds are broadcast so consistently on our cable-free, wire-free TV. Our very generous friend, my co-worker, out of the sheer goodness of her heart, bought us 3 bird feeders last month because she knows how much our kids adore all things avian. So now we have a seed tube feeder, a nugget tray feeder, and a suet cake feeder all hanging right outside our dining room window. Leaving no stone unturned — and no creature unfed — our friend even got us a corncob feeder for the squirrels. Our yard has become a veritable fast-food joint! A drive-through (or fly-through) Birder King, if you will.
It would be heartwarming enough to see either one of our kids watching the birds in rapt attention. But as it is, they both love to stand at the window side by side, teeny-tiny Violet teetering on her tippy-toes next to her big brother, on the exercise step that is their own little soapbox.
Their perch, if you will.
They gaze wide-eyed through their window to the world and comment excitedly on each new character that arrives on-screen.
“There’s a house finch! And a downy woodpecker’s eatin’ the suet!” Greyson might say.
“Chit-a-dee!” Violet might then say. Followed shortly thereafter by “Chit-a-dee away!”
(The “away” part happens because neither of them have yet mastered the art of using their quiet voices while bird-watching.)
It makes our hearts ache with giddy joy to see Greyson teach Violet the names of the birds, most of which he can identify with uncanny precision. Upon pinpointing a bird, Greyson sometimes likes to run to the living room to find the matching bird card, or to look up the bird in one of his well-worn, broken-spined, encyclopedic field guides.
For her part, Violet has largely absorbed her brother’s year-long bird obsession through osmosis and now gets just as excited as he does by our feathered friends in the front yard. Here she is after studying one of Greyson’s bird cards so studiously that she could no longer keep her eyes open.
Seeing both of them watch with contented enchantment at the comings and goings, the twittings and flittings, of the smaller members of Pennsylvania’s bird kingdom is a singular joy.
A joy that reminds us of all that is still sacred and sweet in the natural world. Not to mention all that remains unjaded and unspoiled in their little hearts.
(And it saves us a heck of a lot on the cable bill too.)
Thanks a lot for reading! Feel free to like and comment directly on my Facebook post… unless you somehow found this page while browsing the interwebs, in which case I’m honored. (And surprised, since I don’t yet know how to actually promote my page.) I hope you enjoyed getting to know my kids. They’re incredibly well worth knowing, so feel free to follow my page so you can vicariously enjoy our adventures!
One thought on “Our 80-Inch HD Screen (With Only 1 Channel)”
It is great that you have provided an 80 in. screen for my grand kids to see their favorite shows each day. I’m sure the birds appreciate it also.