Lessons from Around the Bird Feeder

There is a lot that can be said about Arizona. While most of what can be said usually involves how hot it is, the Arizona desert is an amazing place that is full of life and beauty. As one who enjoys photographing the images of creation around me, I thought it would be fun to put a couple of bird feeders and some water in the yard in front of our patio to see what might show up. Several mornings a week I drink my coffee and read while sitting on the patio watching the various birds and animals that have since started gathering. After several months of this I have observed several unmistakable truths that probably apply to churches and everyday connections with people.
1) If there is shelter, food, and water they will come.

Before we placed the feeders and water in the yard we would have the random quail and doves come by on their way to somewhere else. Occasionally a roadrunner would pass through but not much else and nothing consistent other than sparrows. We placed the food in water amongst a couple of thriving mesquite trees where there is shade and security and now on a daily basis we have a constant and consistent population of birds. Once it was discovered that food and water could be found every day within the security of the mesquite trees there is no lack of birds to be seen.

2) Life attracts life.

I don’t know what type of communication birds have but I couldn’t miss the simple fact that as birds began to congregate, more birds would show up. Word gets around when needs are being met, food is being served, and you are welcome to bring the kids.

3) You never know who will show up.

What began with sparrows, quail, and doves has turned into sparrows, finches, quail, doves, roadrunners, cardinals, Mexican jays, and innumerable rabbits. Each has their own unique personality and beauty that can’t be missed or ignored…nor should they. Without a doubt my favorite bird is the cardinal. I was disappointed when their attendance was spotty and actually got frustrated with the other, less attractive birds. In retrospect, the more the variety, the better we have all enjoyed watching them in their world.

We can’t really plan for the people in our lives but only accept those that come our way. Nor can we miss the reality that as we become “better” people the greater the variety of people we will connect with. Some won’t be so enjoyable, others will be downright annoying, others will be a huge blessing, and some will surprise us. We just have to accept the ones that God gives us not matter who they are.

4) Growth and life always attract predators.

Before we started catering to the local wildlife it was rare to see a hawk or eagle. While it isn’t an everyday occurrence they are fairly common now. In attracting a large number birds and animals we have in effect created a buffet for the various raptors. While I do enjoying seeing their version of wildlife the only reason they show up is to prey upon the others. Not much different than people in our world, too.

5) Growth and life will always bring conflict.

This has been an interesting one. I first saw this when three different families of quail showed up to feed at the same time. There must have been about 30 of them, the majority of which were juveniles or younger. It was mass chaos as the adults frantically chased off the young ones who weren’t theirs and the adults came to defend their little ones. Just this morning, two jays were trying to get onto the ground to eat the seed that was spread out but every time one would land a roadrunner would chase it off. The roadrunner spent its entire time doing nothing but chasing the other birds. But still, day after day, they all come back.

It would be wonderful if we didn’t have petty squabbles but that is life and always will be. While we work hard to lessen them we also can’t quit and give up because of them.

6) Growth takes time and effort

None of this happened overnight. We had to keep feeding and watering even when there wasn’t much to show for it. Perseverance and watchfulness eventually paid off and now daily we get to enjoy the benefits.

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