Untitled Document

Even the Sparrow

Every year in the spring my husband Jim and I move from our dining room to sit in our improvised breakfast room on the back porch—a smaller, sunnier, and more intimate setting where we can enjoy a view of our backyard. Though there is much to enjoy in a new spring garden, I have especially enjoyed watching the birds. Among them are noisy blue jays, red-breasted robins, large and aggressive grackles, cooing mourning doves, and even an impressive hawk. The sparrows, this year, though, have been my favorite.

Based on the informative bird cards that I gave Jim for his birthday, and the use of a pair of binoculars to see the birds up close, I think we have house sparrows, the most common and widespread bird in our country. They are small, the female especially drab, and they have a monotonous chirp. They are sociable and like to beg for food in parks and parking lots. I have happily been able to observe the domestic life of some of these common house sparrows, seemingly so appropriately named.

The sparrows lead an active and generally quiet life in our little garden. The previous spring, an enterprising and industrious pair of robins had built a nest atop a small lamp fixture attached to the side of the garage. We left it up to see if another bird would repurpose it, and sure enough, the practical sparrow saw an opportunity to build an upward addition to the nest to suit its needs. It took many days to add on to the nest, and they added so much foraged material that the end result was more like a cave with a very small opening at the top. Jim reminded me of the beautiful verse in Psalm 84: “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God” (v. 3).


Patricia Kushiner is a retired long-time staff member of the Fellowship of St. James. She and her husband, Jim, have six children and sixteen grandchildren. They attend All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on family from the online archives

32.1—January/February 2019

The Life of Sean

on Down Syndrome & the Lives That Matter by David F. Watson

31.1—January/February 2018

In Defense of Prudery

The Wisdom of the Victorian Quest for Innocence by David Sandifer

33.2—March/April 2020

Christian Pro-Family Governments?

Old & New Lessons from Europe by Allan C. Carlson

more from the online archives

18.8—October 2005

Vanishing Sea of Faith

European Islam & the Doubtful Future of Christian Europe by William Murchison

31.2—March/April 2018

Watchful Dragons

Neil Gaiman’s Brush with Narnia Lingers by Russell D. Moore

18.10—December 2005

A Mighty Child

on an Apostle’s Encounter with the Son’s Children by Anthony Esolen

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone