Monday, February 17, 2014

Consider the Birds...and Count 'Em!


Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26

This -20 degree Celsius morning I opened the door to our home and heard birds. First of all a blue jay, followed by a cardinal, then a supporting chorus of others including the hardy chickadees. Chickadees are tiny miracles of nature, able to survive the coldest temperatures and whose brains grow during the harsher months to help cope with the demanding work of staying fed. I am certain my brain shrinks during the colder, darker days of winter.

I may make a report today of the feathered friends who have appeared at our feeders over the weekend. This is the GBBC weekend, don't you know? We are all invited to submit our backyard sightings, and we are fortunate to have eight or so species who comes to our feeders through the winter. The count is an attempt to identify species in a time of troubling declines of virtually all the species which were once common. The loss of habitat, north and south, the expansion of human populations, and the use of chemicals in agriculture and on lawns all contribute to the decline.

I am reading a book at the moment (by fits and starts) called Consider the Birds by Debbie Blue. In these ten essays she ponders different birds of the bible and offers a theological reflection. I like what she has to say about watching birds:

"I'm convinced that there is something about the sort of consciousness necessary for birding that is very much like the practice of faith. It comes and it goes. It requires waiting. You must use both your body and mind. Attention is paramount."

Are you encouraged to get in touch with your inner "bird nerd" and do an inventory of your neighbourhood? Do any of you have feeders? Have you ever thought about the number of birds named in scripture?


Laura said...

Admittedly I notice their song some mornings with wonder, and other days don't slow down enough to notice. I guess today was a day I was meant to notice as another site I follow also sent a bird theme message and a beautiful rendition of one man, one cello, four parts playing God of the Sparrow: one of my favourites.
Check it out

Nancy said...

I noticed the bird songs in our blue spruce tree on Friday for the first time since the cold snap I commented, "ah the birds are happy, spring is close..." I heard them singing. We feed the birds and this winter have had doves, (one is presently on the window ledge looking at me), sparrows, chickadees and nuthatches. I did see two blue jays the other day, but they have not been frequent visitors this winter. What I do wonder about is the cardinal family we have had for the last several years. There has been no sign of them this winter. I wonder if the icestorm took it's toll on them.
Lovely Laura, thanks for sharing.

colinm said...

I've often believed that birds are a representation of the spirit God wants us to envision. Their ability to defy gravity, to be released from the anchors of earth's surface while still being a part of it ought to remind us that there is more than the here and now.

This my 5th year taking part in the GBBC. I am tracking 14 species, but miss many species that came to my feeders in Nova Scotia.