At these words, as Francis himself used to say and those too who were there with him, the birds, rejoicing in a wonderful way according to their nature, began to stretch their necks, extend their wings, open their mouths and gaze at thim. And Francis, passing through their midst, went on his way and returned, touching their heads and bodies with his tunic. Finally he blessed them, and then, after he made the sign of the cross over them, he gave them permission to fly away to some other place.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Celano, First Life