Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Trent’s Weekly Smile or A Bird in the Hand


During the holidays I’ve lost track of Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge, but surely there are things to make me smile this week. After all Christmas was just this past Tuesday.

Come along with me, there’s got to be something to smile about down here!

Still, I was feeling kind of blue, typical for me around this time of year, with the anniversary of my dad’s death on the 23rd. And this year I had the loss of two people I’d call friends, one in his 80s who was a big supporter of our community band, another a friend from almost forty years ago, someone I haven’t seen in many years but still count as a friend. Both died this week of cancer before Christmas had a chance to arrive.

So early this morning I headed out to my favorite park with my new camera, intent on figuring some camera stuff out while searching for a smile. This park never lets me down.

Even though it’s winter there are still colors here.

My goal was to figure out the manual settings on the new camera, how to set the aperture, the iso, the shutter speed. I’d read the manual and I’d searched youtube. Still, though it made sense while I was sitting on the sofa, I hadn’t been successful on the fly once in the woods.

New ice.

Maybe without Katie to distract me I could figure it out today.

I hadn’t intended to grab images of the birds eating out of my hand this time. You’ve seen those before.

Sure, I’ll pose next to these berries for you lady. That will be one seed please.

But I did have a pocket full of seed, hoping to lure them to me so that I could get good photos of them in their ‘natural’ habitat.

Got anything for breakfast lady?

But darn they were cute on my hand too. They were so hungry! I think I was the first human out there and as soon as I started down a trail they’d be swarming overhead.

Wait your turn!

So I set the camera back to auto and tried to get those iconic ‘eating out of my hand’ shots.

Back off titmouse!

One thing I noticed is that it was harder to get a clear focus. I think I’ll need to work on that. And I haven’t figured out how to fire off a bunch of shots at once yet. So I missed a lot of stuff. But I still had a blast.

Does this seed make me look fat?

I didn’t spend too much time feeding the birds at the beginning of the trail, I dropped some seed and moved along, and around the next corner was the flock of turkeys.

Nom nom nom nom.

I tossed them a bit of seed and kept on walking. The birds were following me and making a fuss so I stopped and took a video with my phone just to show people how crazy it was. And while I was doing that a male cardinal showed up.


This has never ever happened. I’ve had a cardinal here and there that was interested in the fact I was feeding the birds, but they’ve always been too shy to hop up on the hand themselves. They generally waited till I tossed some seed on the ground and moved away.

Good seed lady!

This guy startled me, I’d been focusing on the little birds and suddenly my hand was full of a big red bird!

He sat there and ate until he finished all the seed. I talked to him, stopped the video and clicked through some stills, he tipped his head and looked me in the eye, then casually selected another seed.

Yep, I’m pretty from all angles.

He was obviously king of the birds, because all the little birds waited on the ground or flew around my head while he was eating. One chickadee was braver than the rest and did a fly-by and grabbed a seed without stopping. Everyone else waited respectfully.

Meandering makes me smile too.

Finally he finished the seed, nodded at me and flew off across the swamp. I couldn’t stop grinning.

And that’s my smile for the week. A cardinal sat on my hand for a long time. Maybe he was sent from Aunt Vi, or my friends who have recently moved on. Maybe he was just a hungry bird. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.

These guys are still hanging around. They make me smile too.

I couldn’t ask for a better smile, it’s one I’ll remember forever.

And when I got home this little bit of nature was napping on our deck.

I hope the images here made you smile too.


Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

22 thoughts on “Trent’s Weekly Smile or A Bird in the Hand

  1. Can’t believe you were able to get the birds to come to your hands. How exciting! So sorry about the deaths near Christmas, but the winter walk, the sweet birds, and the knowledge that you have friends on the internet may help a bit. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, the winter walk definitely helped drive my blues away! In this particular park the birds on the nature trails are used to being offered seed, so they aren’t shy at all. Normally I get chickadees, titmice, nutchatches and a couple kinds of woodpeckers to come sit on my hand. None of those stay on my hand long, they grab a seed and take it to a nearby branch to eat, then come back for more. Cardinals, though interested in the past, are usually too shy to get too close. This one surprised me and sat on my hand until he had eaten all the seed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, cardinals are usually very shy, so to have one sit on your hand… Very cool. And are those Sandhill Cranes? That’s also very cool. New cameras are always fun, even if you did have to do some phone photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cardinals ARE shy, they’ve never come close to me when I’m out there before. Once one really wanted to, he kept inching closer, hopping from branch to branch, but he couldn’t make himself come down to my hand. He ate any seed that I dropped one I left that area. But THIS one has obviously eaten out of a hand before. He had no fear at all. I talked to him, and shifted my hand for different angles and he just looked at me and kept eating until he had eaten every bit of seed. Then he casually lifted off and headed home.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have nailed the camera settings, Dawn. Birds eating out of your hand (our birds don’t do that!) and firing off shots with one hand!! Whoa. I am very impressed. The birds are all beautiful. I swear that cardinal smiled and showed his teeth in that one photo! You did great–I’m smiling!


    • I’m getting better at the manual settings. Most of the bird pictures were taken on automatic because there wasn’t time to mess with settings. But I was out again today putzing and it’s getting better. Plus I’m taking a class in a couple weeks that I hope will answer the rest of my questions.


  4. That is beyond amazing that a Cardinal came to your hand. You must give off great vibes- he knew it was a friendly person. Astounding. Send it in to a magazine!! Thanks for sharing all of your wonders as you walked. I never tire of seeing those birds eat from your hand!


  5. It did indeed make me smile. 🙂 I am still amazed and awed that you can feed birds out of your hand. I’m sorry for your losses, Dawn. Sending you hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your bird pictures made me smile!


  7. I’m sorry this happy time of year has to be punctuated by death. My own dad’s been gone a full 10 years (come Dec. 31), so I know how sad that can be. Still, to have all those gorgeous, happy birds flitting around your head and perching/eating on your hand — well, that’s bound to make up for things a little, don’t you agree? I’d almost brave the colds of Michigan to have birds eat right from my hand!!


    • Yes, I miss my dad too, every day, but especially around Christmas. But he would have LOVED the birds and mom would have too, so, yes, they did help a whole lot. Come on up and we’ll go out to the park and you can feed them yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: The Weekly Smile Recap 12/24 – 12/30/2018 #weeklysmile | Trent's World (the Blog)

  9. You took some beautiful pictures with your camera. Especially of the birds. It is amazing that they came onto your hand.


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