Lessons from a Warbler

A week ago, during a 30 inch snowfall over two days, a bird that I did not recognize showed up at our suet feeder. His little beak told me that he was a bug-eater, not a seed-cracking year-round resident. I posted his photo on Facebook, both in my news feed and NY Birders. The owners of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop (Saratoga Springs) identified mystery bird as a black-throated blue warbler. He’s a tiny little thing, about the size of a goldfinch. My bird books agree that they summer in the Adirondack and Catskill mountains and that he “should” have skedaddled in September or October. Hum….

warbler and woodpecker What was I to do? The only thing a mother CAN do…. FEED him! He’s a bug eater, so I stocked up on highest quality suet with dried meal worms, increased the number of feeders and made sure the bark butter (seen in this photo) did not run out.

My friends who “follow” totem animals implored me to discover his meaning. Only then would I be released and he could fly south to his winter home. I’m always curious about the spiritual meaning of wildlife when some critter out of the ordinary shows up, so I did my research and discovered that when a warbler flies in as a spirit guide:

  • You have a song that you want to share.
  • You seek confidence to be yourself.
  • You have a dream but are not following it – when you need guidance or direction.
  • You have a desire to be valued for your work or effort.**

Well sure, I can always apply any spirit message when an animal shows up.

Snowed in for a day, ignoring “other” work that needed to be done, I watch this little bird take sustenance from the feeders and this season’s grapes left on the vine for wildlife. I fret about how he lost his way, wonder why he didn’t leave with his flock on schedule, curious to know how he found our feeders.

Comments on Facebook range from dire predictions to suggestions on what to feed him to ooohs and aahhhs and keep us posted. Every dawn and dusk I’m glued to the windows looking for our little visitor.

A week later, he is still here, through below zero nights.

In the stillness of pre-dawn, as I hear the rain of a warmer day ahead, my heart speaks and lessons are revealed.

I acknowledge my abiding desire to nurture.

Nurture songs that has yet to be shared — yours as well as mine.

Nurture confidence and encourage you to be yourself, as I strive to be authentically me.

Nurture my unfulfilled dreams, as I support and celebrate you fulfilling your own.

No doubt there is more.

Back to little bird… Who am I to say he is “out of season”? I would never think that of you.

What if he is exactly where he’s meant to be?  Landing on my doorstep to receive nurturing and sustenance. Until he is ready to fly, this is his safe refuge.

What if YOU are exactly where you’re supposed to be? (You are.) When you’re ready to fly, you will.  In your time of “waiting”, I will nurture you with the sustenance of unconditional love and remind you that letting go of the need for certainty (Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection) and trusting what you cannot see is a true act of courage.

As I sit in acceptance of this moment and surrender to the fickle weather of climate change, I’ll feed and nurture little bird and continue to rumble with the gifts of this miraculous visitation.

Some people see angels. Me too.

** credit for the spirit guide info: https://www.auntyflo.com/magic/warbler

This entry was posted in Brené Brown, compassion, integrative coaching, life coach, purpose, self-acceptance, self-compassion, Uncategorized, understanding and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Lessons from a Warbler

  1. Lorraine Hochman says:

    Thanks for sharing. Nature has always nurtured me since I was a little girl. Looking for salamanders in the woods of the Catskill Mountains I discovered so much beauty.Moss till this day is a comfort to me. I get very curious when a particular animal seems to suddenly show up. this past year it was a Robin Redbreast. very common in this area however this or these seemed quite intent on calling my attention. leaving berry poop on my deck and banging into my windows. thanks Cate.

  2. Anne Breznau says:

    You are the”little bird” showing up at my feeder today. Thank you.

  3. Barbie Dallmann says:

    So well written. Just what I needed to read today. Barbie

  4. Love this post Cate, particularly that you really paid attention to the little bird’s arrival and his connection to you.


    Exquisite. Thank you for Catie, little Warbler. 💕


  6. Nicole Emmi says:

    Wow. One of these little beauties showed up in the budding lilac bush outside my bedroom window today. I’m just outside Detroit and I’ve never seen one before. I sat and watched it, took photos, and immediately felt the need to find out what it was and what it may mean. Thank you for this beautifully written article, it was just what I needed and the message rings so very true, as this time in which we’ve sheltered at home during the pandemic has caused some passions of mine to surface – the absence of busy schedules having apparently made room for them to breathe…I’m trying to work up the courage to change careers and start investing my time and energies into my creative pursuits instead of investing in other people’s dreams. This really hit home today and I’m so grateful to have found your site.

    Nicole Emmi

    • I sent him to you! 🙂 Seriously, Nicole, I’m glad that my blog was helpful to you. I acknowledge you for all that you realize — Yes, no better time to invest your precious time and energy into YOUR creative pursuits, rather than other’s dreams. I’m glad you found my site, too! Do check out Brené Brown’s books if you haven’t already. You can start anywhere, but Gifts of Imperfection is my go-to. Rising Strong changed my life for the better, forever. Plus, being licensed to offer her work to groups and individuals keeps me constantly immersed in the practice of showing up, being seen and being brave. You go, woman! I will be offering some virtual workshops no later than the fall. If you are interested, stay tuned here or contact me at catelabarre@gmail.com and I will add you to my newsletter distribution. May you continue to be healthy.

  7. EMILY says:

    I believe I have a little warbler that has been coming into my home in South Florida for about 2 weeks, maybe more. He comes through my back door that’s facing north. Each day he comes in, he gets closer to me as I am seating on my couch working from home and even entered my room. He comes into my home multiple times a day and looks around for food. Even when if I keep my door closed for the day, the next he’s here again. Interesting because I have never had that happen.

  8. Hi Emily, Thank you for your comment. What a lovely gift from nature and gift to me for the share. No doubt attracted to your loving energy and good bugs! Let him know when nesting time comes around, the welcome mat is out in the wilds of Upstate NY. And safe journey. Perhaps he will return to you again next winter…. certainly a safe place to be a snow bird!

  9. Matthew says:

    Thank you for this, a warbler (American Redstart) with much the same message, resounding as I read your post.

  10. Monique Prince says:

    Love this! I’m a very spiritual person and the Universe lead me to ask the significance of the warbler. I have one outside who has been here and I think lives here in Pensacola Florida to which I came only for the winter. I’m from New Hampshire. A variety of bird themes are coming up for me and the warbler is one of them. I am truly on a new adventure spreading love and light to the world thru TikTok! @greygoddess777
    So thank you for this because I just asked the Universe about it and it started to sing immediately after I asked and then I googled it and found you!!! 😊 ❤️ ⚡

  11. Sandra says:

    Thank you for this beautiful and very moving article. I came upon it looking up the uncommon bird singing near my house and the message I’m sure he’s carrying. Not sure he’s a warbler though, but your words have deeply moved me, so I just wanted to say ”thanks”. 🙏❤🐦

    • Thank you for your kind words, Sandra. I am in awe of the natural world and this little bird touched my heart. Grateful that we had an abundant grape crop that year, more than before our since. It kept him going along with the suet. I’ll never know if he made it to a warmer spot. I rarely see warblers, but hear them in the woods. There’s a great phone app, BirdNET, you record bird song and it identifies the bird for you! Others for identification by sight include Merlin, eBird, and Cornell Lab or Ornithology. I’m sure there are more. Happy bird watching!

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