Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lesson From A Patient Starling

(I have been thinking about Spring, as I view the snow from the past weekend's storm slowly melting, taking its time. The following post was originally written on May 20, 2015 and I thought it would make a nice repost to remind me that Spring is surely coming!)

For the past few days, I've been hearing a sound somewhat like a rusty hinge screeching a flat chord. That's the best way I could describe it! I looked outside my open bedroom window and watched as starlings were marching up and down in the grass and weeds of our front yard, busily searching for tasty cuisine. I was still puzzled as to what was going on with that sound and how it connected to what I was witnessing in the front. It wasn't until I was later at the kitchen window, watching several birds at the feeder that it all became clear. While I was standing there, a mother starling and three fully grown and dull colored juvenile starlings landed over several of the feeders hanging from the pole. The noise was being made by each of the juveniles, while mom instantly became busy picking up food and popping it into the nearest open beak. The juveniles jostled together as they rustled their wings repeatedly, screeching in that same key, and shoving one another aside so they could be the one to be fed next. Once in a while, one of the juveniles would peck at something himself, or fly down to inspect the bird bath, but those forays didn't last too long. Over the next several days, I have witnessed this again and again and marveled at the mother's patience. When mom flew off, they flew off, and when mom came back, there they were, barely a feather's space between them.

Starlings aren't the only birds which display this behavior - cardinals, finches, bluebirds and several other breeds do it as well. Cardinals seem to have the least amount of patience though, I've seen a female cardinal peck a juvenile on the head a time or two when she was tired of being bothered. Bluebird fledglings stay on a tree branch, and the parent will fly back and forth from the meal worm feeder, stuffing their beaks. They all start chirping when the parent heads toward them. The dad will continue this even while mom sits on a new brood. When that brood hatches and then fledges, the birds from the earlier brood will assist their parents in bringing food to the new fledglings.

It's a scene repeated each spring, and has been going on since creation. The mature birds help their offspring and their nurture hasn't ended at the nest. Most of us experience some of that from our parents, and even some mammals do as well. It's an encouragement to me to see these age old routines played out at this time of year. What a reassurance that whatever craziness is going on in parts of the world, the normal order of things has not been broken. And it reminds me to be willing to be helpful to not only family members, but to other artists, of whatever creativity they are into. We don't live alone as hermits, and even if I don't practice a certain kind of art, I can be encouraging to its creator. After all, my Creator encourages me daily from what I see and enjoy in nature.

Enjoy your life one day at a time!

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