When a streak of red passes my window in the gray days of winter, I know the Redbirds have returned. In the South, we call these stunning Cardinals-Redbirds. Their cheerful ways and bright feathers always make me happy and remind me of a beautiful poem called ‘At the Winter Feeder’ by John Leax. Winter Holidays can be difficult- may we never forget those who are broken. The Winter Season falls hard on some. These are the special ones- the ones whom God has sent to us as Messengers of Need. Look for them, offer them relief if you can- a kind word, a gentle embrace, a seed of hope at the Winter Feeder.

At the Winter Feeder

His feather flame doused dull by icy cold,  the Cardinal hunched into the rough green feeder but ate no seed. Through binoculars I saw festered and useless his beak, broken at the root. Then two, one blazing, one gray, rode the swirling weather into my vision and lighted at his side. Unhurried, as if possessing the patience of God, they cracked sunflowers and fed him beak to wounded beak, choice meats. Each morning and afternoon the winter long, that odd triumvirate, that trinity of need, returned and ate their sacrament of broken seed.image

An ‘odd triumvirate that trinity of need…a sacrament of broken seed…’ We would do well to watch for Messengers of Need throughout the Winter Season.image

Love y’all, Camellia

These Amazing Photographs were taken by my friend Sally Smith of and are used with permission.

John Leax is a retired English Professor and Poet in Residence of Houghton College. His author page and wonderful books may be found on and other major book retailers. All material may be subject to copyright

13 thoughts on “Redbirds…

  1. We have cardinals year round. They are always a bright spot of color. I’ve spent the past week with some friends for whom the holidays are painful. We must always reach out to them. That’s what Christmas is really about. People. Loved your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of Alabama has the common redbird year round- often we will get a migratory influx of the larger Northern Cardinal- we notice them more also when the leaves are gone and the days are gray. Yes, Christmas is about more than gifts and merriment it is about our Savior and the people, especially those who are hurting. Thank you Kate! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Camellia's Cottage and commented:

    After ‘Redbirds’ was posted, my friend and amazing photographer Sally Smith sent me her beautiful photographs- I edited ‘Redbirds’ to include them- I hope you will enjoy reading ‘At the Winter Feeder’ by John Leax again! Thank you Sally for making this post so beautiful! Love y’all, Camellia


  3. What a lovely poem and the photographs are stunning! In Michigan we have Cardinals all year long and they come to the feeder on our front lawn every day. I’ll never look at them in quite the same way again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I edited it from a Christmas post to a Winter Post- the photographs were just so perfect for the poem! I am glad you enjoyed it- Sally is an amazing photographer and her husband is a glass artist among other things! We have redbirds most of the year too, but the larger ones we know are the migratory ones. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post, I’m surprised how cold your winters are. My experience of Alabama has been in the summer months. I’m reading about the South at the moment following on from a short on line course, fascinating culture and history. I plan to visit again, this time with a better understanding of the area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great news! Alabama has the most diverse ecosystems of any state; our winters do not always include snow and certainly not from Central Alabama where I live on down to the Coast- however, it is not unusual to have freezing temperature…snow never stays on the ground for days on end that is why we treasure the sight of it! I think Alabama will surprise you- we love our football and we are sort of quirky if you believe all of the newsmakers but Alabama also has some amazing things going on down here! thanks for stopping by! xoxo


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