Among the thousand still-winter gratitudes, I am grateful for birdhouses. It’s not yet time to put out the hummingbird feeders, but it will be soon. That feeder is a source of sheer delight.

Throughout the winter, one of my neighbors puts out ears of corn for squirrels, and many, many houses for birds. He and his wife are in their nineties, but in the summer, they always open their garage to share the abundance of apples and pears they have gathered from their trees, and they always look out for the small animals of the neighborhood. So there are always squirrels. There are always rabbits. And there are always, always so many birds.