110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Lynn Bowen
posted May 5, 2013 - 11:47:39pm
Is "birding" or bird-watching just a nice, wholesome hobby? Some folks just want to put a check mark on a list that they've seen a certain birds, then move onward to find another bird to scratch off their list. This can be a lifetime accomplishment. All this is fine, but to me personally, birding is much more. I actually learn lessons from the birds!
A one-footed great egret standing near the St. Johns River in DeLand one summer day was inspirational to me. He accepted his hardship that he could not change and overcame a major obstacle in life. He could still walk (on one foot and one ankle, of course) and had no problem flying. Isn't this remarkable!
Knowing the difference between need and want was obvious one day when I saw many Florida scrub jays gathering some acorns for their immediate use and burying some acorns for the future. These nuts are not for the distant future, but just for the next few months.
Oh my, being prepared for the uncertain future is smart, but spending too much time on it can be futile. May I gather only what I really need, yet be intelligent about it. Do I really need a Rolex watch when a Timex will do? is a parallel thought.
Persistence is a wonderful trait for birds and people. Not finding food in one location just makes a bird move on to a different place for a meal. How odd it would be if he did not persevere. Schoolchildren know that studying the multiplication table for weeks on end will reward them with a lifetime of knowledge that they need. Giving up on memorizing that table just won't do! All of life requires persistence.
Teamwork seems to be the Florida scrub jays' motto. They really are a close-knit family. Fledglings remain with their parents for years and help to rear the young! One jay will stand guard in a tall tree to warn of danger so that the others can find their food without worrying.
Caution in daily life is the norm for birds. Hummingbirds, for example, are extremely protective of their young. They will attack any person, bird or other animal that tries to harm them. That long bill is a good little sword! By being alert and cautious, they keep their lives as safe as possible.
This instinct is wonderful. For people, looking both ways before crossing the street is smart and sensible. Thinking through a problem before making a decision can often avert errors and poor judgment.
Perhaps you too can do more than just appreciate seeing birds; you can also learn from them!
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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