Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Bird Who Went People Watching

This is another story that was written by my Aunt Evie.  She shares how birds can teach us valuable lessons.  In this story she shares how a bluebird can teach us to hold fast to what we believe with determination and strength.  

Please note that the linked words in the text below lead to photos of the birds, nests, and insects talked about in the story.  And here is a link to Busy Bee Kids Crafts where they share instructions for making this pretty little baby bluebirds craft.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.   
1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV

"What are you making, Dad?" our son Art asked as he came into the garage where his father was busy cutting some little boards.

"I'm making a bluebird nesting box," Dad replied.  "Help me hold the sides together so that I can nail them."  Art helped to finish the box and then he and his sister, Karen, watched as Dad nailed it high on the north end of the garage.

A few days later someone shouted, "There's a bluebird in the box!"  We ran to the window to see not one, but two Mountain Bluebirds.  The male hovered over the next box while the female watched from a nearby perch.  It was easy to tell them apart.  The male wore a beautiful aqua blue suit, with a paler vest of the same color.  His mate wore a soft gray dress with only touches of blue.

The male hopped in and out of the box.  He sat on top of it and fluttered his wings eagerly and flew over to Mrs. Bluebird and tried to persuade her that they should move in right away.  "Phew, phew," he called in his gentle voice.  But she was not so sure.  After much persuasion she consented to have a look inside, but soon flew away again with Mr. Bluebird right behind her.  Time after time he brought her back to the box, but after a quick look she always seemed to loose interest.  We were almost as eager as he was to have her accept the box and decide to make our yard her home.  To us, bluebirds, with their iridescent colors and gentle refined ways, were just about the best summer guests we could imagine.

This went on for several days until one morning the tree swallows arrived.  They were not nearly as feisty as Mrs. Bluebird.  After a few quick looks inside the box they were ready to set up housekeeping.  It was just what they had been looking for and they claimed it as theirs.

Suddenly the bluebirds appeared on the scene and then the fuss began!  Each pair of birds tried to keep the other pair away from the box.  The scrapping went on for several days.  Finally the female tree swallow went inside the box and sat with her head peering out of the little round doorway.  She had claimed the box and she wasn't moving out!  The bluebirds twittered and fussed around the box.

We were sorry to see the swallows winning out, but we knew that they were really good tenants too.  They were also blue, though not as bright and pretty as the bluebirds.  We consoled ourselves with the thought that they were great mosquito catchers.

Mrs. Bluebird's apparent lack of interest in the box had disappeared with the appearance of the swallows.  So also had her gentle manners!  Now she showed an aggressiveness that I never expected to see in a bluebird.  She flew directly to the opening and grasped the swallows neck with her bill and dragged her out of the doorway.  Scrapping and squawking, they struggled together in the air.  Mrs. Bluebird dragged her victim right down to the ground.  Finally the swallow decided that she had met her match and flew away to look for a more peaceful neighborhood.

In later years we realized that this behavior was not as unusual as we had thought.  Whenever we have seen swallows and bluebirds contending for nesting boxes, it has always been the bluebirds who won.  If this were not the case, it is doubtful if the bluebirds could survive.  Swallows have found the increase of human building construction to their advantage.  They like to nest in and around buildings, and if they could, they would take over every available nesting box.  They like the same size of birdhouse that the bluebirds require.

Now Mrs. Bluebird was ready to settle down to the serious business of nesting.  Her gorgeous mate fluttered his wings in excitement.  At last his efforts were being rewarded.  Soon the children saw them carrying in grass and twigs for the nest and in a few more days they could peek in and see the little blue eggs.  Then all was quiet.  The female sat on the eggs hour after hour while the male sat nearby, watching to make sure no harm came to the nest.  But after a few days of this it seemed he became a little bored, or was he just curious about what people do inside of their nesting boxes?  At any rate, he decided to do a little early morning people watching.

About 5:00 AM one day he flew to our bedroom window and hovered in front of the glass.  I heard him twittering and opened one sleepy eye.  Suddenly I was wide awake!  I woke my husband and pointed to the window where the bluebird was fluttering in mid air.  His bright blue feathers were shimmering in the morning sunlight.  At first we thought that he was only trying to see his reflection, but then he hopped onto the windowsill and tried to look in through the sliding screen that held the window up.  He made twittering comments on everything he saw.

After some time he returned to his observation post near the nest, but early the next morning he was back, still curious.  Again he tried to peer in through the screen.  Just what was inside that window?  After watching him quietly for several mornings, I had an idea.  When the bluebird flew away for a few minutes, I slipped out of bed and removed the sliding screen and propped the window up with a stick.  Then quickly I slipped back to bed.

The bluebird was back in a few minutes, sitting on the windowsill, looking right in at us.  He stood quietly for a moment, noticing the missing screen.  Cautiously he hopped a little closer to the opening.  Two more hops and he was right inside.  He looked as us as if to say, "How can people sleep so long on such a bright, sunny morning?"  Then he flew to the top of a chest of drawers and surveyed the bedroom.  "So this is how people build their nests," he seemed to say. 

His people watching trips ended abruptly with the arrival of his newly hatched offspring.  Now there was no time for anything but the serious business of keeping them fed.  

Bluebirds seem to model what true Christianity should be --- gentle, refined, and well mannered, yet not afraid to do battle when the situation demands it.  There is a tendency to think of Christians in terms of the passive virtues only.  Love, gentleness, and kindness are always held up as the virtues that should be cultivated and rightly so.  But true Christians are not wimps or cowards.  The manly virtues of strength and courage are equally as important, yet they are less often spoken of.  When Jesus cleansed the temple He manifested a different aspect of His character than we usually think of.  He is represented as the Lamb of God, but He is also called the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  Each of these animals illustrate different aspects of Christ's character.

"The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a Lion."  Proverbs 28:1

"Fight the good fight of faith."  1 Timothy 6:12  

Copyright EvelynS@2011

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