The Heart and Soul of Bird Watching


by Peggy River Singer

My apartment complex on Ford Lake was built into a strip of forested land along the eastern shore.  The lake itself and the surrounding woods offer a popular stop-over spot for migrating birds. The year-round variety of feathered neighbors is one of my favorite aspects of living here. Ducks and other waterfowl have always been favorites of mine; and I quickly learned that the more I stared at them through binoculars, the more likely it was that they would move to the other side of the lake to avoid my intrusive energy.

Birds and other animals are fully "plugged in" to the energetic world around us, in all its unseen complexity; and this permits instant communication among them. It also helps them pick up on our energies, especially our emotional energies. They can easily perceive when they're being watched by humans, especially when that attention is magnified by the unblinking "eyes" of binocular or camera lenses.

Last spring, I spent a good bit of time trying to figure out the species of a mystery bird with a distinctive song. Like many warblers, he was skittish around humans. He wouldn't allow me to get close enough to see the field marks that would have helped me identify him; and whenever I tried to focus my binoculars on him, he zipped away into the trees.

I'll bet you can guess what the problem was! My scientifically trained left-brain really wanted to find out what kind of warbler he was! After all, it's exciting to spot a bird you haven't seen before, and I could share the news on my neighborhood blog. But even though I offered Reiki to the bird, my stubborn determination to capture his identity overpowered Reiki's gentle energy, and convinced him to keep his distance.

Finally, I reminded myself that the forest is a different world, and I would always be a guest of those who dwelled there. In order to be a considerate visitor, I would need to let go of my human desire to do whatever I wanted and soften my energy so it would be heart-based.

With that in mind, the next time I heard that special song, I put away the binoculars, leaned up against a tree, and sent loving Reiki energy toward the singer. I told him I'd love to meet him face to face for a conversation, but only if he was comfortable with that nearness. And I assured him that whatever he decided to do would be fine with me, and his wishes would be respected

A few moments later, he fluttered into some brush about 20 feet away. Close enough to show me he was thinking about my invitation, but far enough away for him to feel safe. Warblers are very active birds, so he didn't stay still for long, but I got the message. Though I once had wondered why he had tolerated my persistence so long, now I feel that he was intentionally teaching me something important.

This fresh approach has served me well in countless similar situations. A feisty little Carolina Wren approached quite close and assumed one pose after another so I could see all his field marks (look for the peach-colored breast). A Gray Catbird serenaded me with his glorious liquid song from a perch only three feet away, and tilted his head to show me his black cap. A Sharp-shinned Hawk resting on our bird feeder made sure I could see the markings on her tail and face. A Redstart concealed in deep brush showed me the red-orange chevron on his wing, which was all I needed to see to know his name.

Can you FEEL the difference between saying: "Now I've identified that bird and I can add it to my Life List"; and "Now I know what kind of bird he is"? That energy tells an animal a lot about you as an individual human, and whether you can be trusted to offer no harm.

You can apply the ideas I've described any time you go into nature, with just about any kind of animal, and you don't need to be an animal communicator or Reiki practitioner. Simply project peaceful thoughts or visualize you and the animal close together. Your positive energy, respect, and desire to share a space or an experience—instead of trying to dominate or control it or take something from it—will be universally understood.

P.S. I'm still looking forward to figuring out that warbler if he stops by for a visit again this spring. If you're wondering why I don't just ASK him what kind of bird he is, it's not that simple. He might tell me his personal name, but it's likely he won't know (or care) what species name humans have given him!

Peggy River Singer is a heart-centered animal communicator, medium, faerie ally, and Reiki practitioner who has been writing all her life. She combines her gift for communications with her psychic abilities to help create harmonious relationships among all who share the Earth. Connect by phone at 734-548-0194; and by email at She shares her experiences and insights on her blog,

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Posted on May 3, 2019 and filed under mindfulness, Nature, animals.