Bird-brained behavior

IWAA7I just finished repairing and reinstalling one of my bird feeders, and this morning I stopped in my tracks when I saw a bright red cardinal enjoying his breakfast with a smaller white-striped bird I didn’t recognize. 

Then I saw him feeding the little guy—ah, what a good parent!  Daddy even aggressively chased off a sparrow from the breakfast table so his growing kiddo could eat privately. (Poor sparrow.  He was just trying to quietly go about his morning also…)

It was fascinating to watch, this avian culture!  But I just wanted to be sure I was identifying it all accurately.  Thus, I turned to that incontestable resource—the internet—and guess what?  It wasn’t a juvenile cardinal Daddy was feeding; it was a juvenile cow bird! Continue reading “Bird-brained behavior”

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A bird in the hand, (unless it’s a starling…)

vintage-1824834_1280

It appears a male starling is making advances to the female, who in turn is playing hard to get.  At first, I hear sweet tunes, which quickly have turned into unpleasant assertions.  Then arrives male #2 and the competitors have at it, chasing each other through the branches while the female ignores them, rearranging her coiffure and powdering her beak.

One of the males is run off (how can you tell them apart?), and the young couple is left to negotiate their terms of endearment.  Not that I care; good grief, it’s not like we need more starlings in the world. Continue reading “A bird in the hand, (unless it’s a starling…)”

Incoming!

IWAA7The college’s bell tower had not yet rung 6AM, and the sun was still coming up over the wheat that was drying out from the recent rains, which had at least brought in cooler weather.  So sipping hot tea on my patio while donning a sweatshirt in southern Missouri in mid-June was a real treat.  Birds singing, an occasional rooster (even though we live in town), and my big black dog was not panting yet.  Not bad at all for a summer Monday morning!

Until a bird decided to critique yesterday’s sermon notes: Continue reading “Incoming!”

Scissors, please

IWAA7A gruesome site greeted me when tending the garden after being gone for a week of family vacation.  Sure, there were the typical weeds and such, no big deal, just hands and knees stuff.  But what gave me a drop-shoulder-roll-eyes kind of pause was the leftover feathered carcass of a bird that had obviously been trying to pilfer my blackberries, but had gotten entangled in the netting.

Not a pretty site.  Not a happy ending.  (I will spare any readers a photo.)  I mean, he was, after all, just trying to get something to eat, doing what birds do naturally.  It’s sign1not like I could put up a “No Trespassing” sign, although my dad suggested I could hang up some brightly colored ribbons.  That could help them at least see the netting, but the berries are just so inviting, I’m not sure it would divert them enough. Continue reading “Scissors, please”

NOT for the birds, definitely not.

IWAA7I’m in the second year of my small berry crop.  Here’s what I was anticipating by springtime:

raspberries

Makes your mouth water, don’t it?

Especially for me, the non-gardener.  I’m pretty proud of this little piece of earth, and all the sore muscles along the way.  Bob has been very patient with the big Sutherlands Home and Garden truck pulling up unexpectedly (for him, that is), or the time(s) I have inadvertently left the hose on after watering, (okay, so I get distracted.)

His tastes buds do reap the benefits, however, except for that year I had an over-abundance of cucumbers—he still requests no cukes in the smoothies… Currently, our favorite taste treat is the fresh raspberries and blackberries coming in from the second-year plants. YESssss!!

Unfortunately, this year the birds have likewise found them.  Especially the blackberries.  I wondered why I wasn’t seeing the ripened fruit day after day, and here’s evidence (it’s not for the faint of heart)—

ARRUGHH@#!!*@#!!!! (delete-delete-delete)

Now, I love birds.  They serenade me in the morning.  But that doesn’t mean they get paid by my hard worked-for berries.  So off to Sutherlands I go (didn’t need their truck for this one) to get some equipment, and concocted this:

Not only was it not pretty, it was also not entirely functional.  It didn’t fit, which meant there were gaps in the netting, and my attempts to cut and paste (well, zip-tie) left much to be desired.  Birds aren’t quite as dumb as I gave them credit, at least not when they’re hungry.  They know a good berry crop when they see it!

Learn from my mistakes, call my Dad for a little review in mathematic calculations, and a little ingenuity from Pinterest, and here is my current barricade:

netting3

Already I have seen a feathered kamikaze bounce off in bewilderment!

Inspecting my handiwork that next morning, I notice a few gaps, but also some nicely ripening blackberries.  I easily reposition and secure the netting, and let the fruit do its thing, unmolested and secure.

“Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”

I like that “guard AND keep”.  It’s one thing to set up a protective fence but it’s another to make sure it’s still effectively working.  And when it comes to protection, one size definitely does not fit all.

My precious berries were already protected from the ground forces of bunnies by the wire fencing—I learned that one the hard way a long time ago.  But just having put in the berries last year, I hadn’t counted on the air strikes (although, I confess, I had heard of them from the past…oh, if only I had paid attention to experienced gardeners!!)

After losing some of the crop, I went into action—better late than never.  But unfortunately, I “reacted” rather than “researched” properly, which left gaps and wasted time and money.

Finally, sacrificing some time (allocating that precious resource to a perceived priority—my berries!!) and relying on the experience of others, I have a tailor-made plan to “guard and keep” for a fruitful harvest.

When it comes to relationships, whether it’s in the family, or even in the Body of Christ:

  • Protection must be intentional. (And it’s rewarding to see Satan just bounce off, not that he won’t try again.)
  • We are given a template, but each “fence” will be unique; to force one on another will cause gaps and allow the enemy in to eat the “fruit”. (Ask me how I know…)
  • Research is better than reacting. Humbly asking for help if more effective than wasting time and emotion on crisis management.
  • Protection is ongoing: frequent inspections and adjustments must be anticipated. It’s called communication and resilience.  Forgiveness and grace. 

ripeberryFruit takes time (and effort) to produce.  But its reward is sooooOOO000ooo sweet.

Ephesians 4:3 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Definitely graphic, but not novel.

IWAA7I love birds.  Not like Audubons love birds, but Bob and I do own a cheap pair of field glasses and a nice Peterson’s Guide.  Here in southern MO, we live in a fly-over zone, and also near a conservation area, so we’re just geeky enough to enjoy a “date” seeing how many avians we can identify.  Our day is made if we are visited by a bald eagle or a close up view of a gaggle of something. 

Listening to Jesus, one would think that His Father was pretty keen Continue reading “Definitely graphic, but not novel.”

Expecting bird poop

bird picmonkeyAt this writing, I’ve just come in from sitting on my patio before going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning.  I mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.   The sky has been swept clean (wish I could say that about my patio…), the birds are singing, the sun is coming up over the horizon, the trees are sporting their new greenery—I even have some new things planted in my garden.  And I had a special treat this morning—two Canada geese flew overhead!  Great!

We live in southern Missouri in what’s called a “fly-over zone”, so the geese are frequent residents in transit.  But we also have a Continue reading “Expecting bird poop”

Not so bird-brained?

IWAA7The Seed Lady has returned!  At least, that’s what Bob calls me.  No, actually that’s what he says the birds call me.  Although I have been grossly neglectful of keeping the several feeders filled for quite a long time now, I have finally gotten my act together in the hopes that the grackles and starlings stay away. 

Yes, I am somewhat discriminatory about my birdseed…bird feeder

My husband, the bio-prof, says that the avian brain is basically a visual cortex, or as his brother, the business major, interpreted, “see bug, eat bug.”  Gleefully, I noticed that a mommy cardinal chose to grace my eating establishment with her morning presence! Sparrows came by also to test the menu. How cool, after all this time, I give them food, and somehow they find it. To paraphrase Kevin Costner, “if you feed them, they will come…”  

Even so, I’m impressed by the birds’ innate Continue reading “Not so bird-brained?”

Blue jays, beware

bird picmonkey

As I write this, I’m sitting on my patio in the cool of the early morning springtime watching a mommy robin feed squiggly brown disgusting things to the little ones in her nest, which she decided to make in a hanging basket outside my back door.  When I think of what we used to have for our young’uns to eat back in the 80’s (strained peas and carrots???), I guess to each his own.

Now she’s taking a bit of a break, just sitting on the babes keeping them warm.  Not that moms ever really take a break—yep, there she goes again, off to get more disgusting brown squiggly things.

Earlier, we had a little drama.  There must have been another robin invading the nearby territory as mom and/or dad went on the offensive.  There was a brief but Continue reading “Blue jays, beware”

Gettin’ a little crowded in there

babyrobins 4Don’t you think it’s about time for these guys to start finding their own food??  I don’t think mom and dad are going to be able to keep sustaining them (and themselves) much longer, and they’re outgrowing the nest by more than a bit.  Dependence is a comfortable thing, however, and self-sufficiency is hard work, and somewhat dangerous at times.  Just look at what happened to the Israelites during the prophet Samuel’s time—

Backstory: because of the enemy occupation, there were no blacksmiths allowed in Israel.  To sharpen anything, God’s (wayward) people had to go the non-Israelite smithies to simply file an axe or other daily implements.  (As if my kitchen knives weren’t dull enough…)  This was a really smart ploy of the enemy—they were basically in control of the weaponry, which decidedly put the people of Yahweh at an uncomfortable disadvantage.

“So on the day of the battle none of the people of Israel had a sword or spear, except for Saul and Jonathan.”

Unfortunately, our Enemy employs the same tactic today when I allow myself to become dependent on church leadership and the pastoral staff/worship team/Sunday school teachers for my personal spiritual sustenance and the responsibility I have for the effect of the Gospel in my family and community.

Okay, that was a run-on sentence, and back in high school my comp teacher, Mrs. Rose, used to give my red ink for that.  So I’ll break it down.

Point #1:  Any church philosophy that encourages the people to become solely dependent on the leadership team is from the enemy camp.

When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?  After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News.

Point #2: Church leadership is not to keep us in the nest, but to prepare us to fly on our own.  That doesn’t preclude church affiliation (mustn’t take the analogy too far) as it is obvious God expects us to keep up our teamwork and fellowship.  There is, however, a specific call for the church to BE the church, not merely GO to church.

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” 

Even “dumb animals” like robins know when it’s time to grow up and feed themselves.

Or maybe they’re not so dumb after all…?

 

Samuel 13:22; I Corinthians 3: 4,5; Ephesian 4:11,12  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.