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Birds As Teachers
by Mary Wilson
When I began my venture
into the hobby of keeping pet birds, I never imagined that birds could
teach me anything. In my arrogance, I assumed that once I learned all
about bird care, then that would be the last thing I needed to learn,
until new information about bird care came along. Since then, I have kept
several species of birds and learned much to my delight, that birds are
I never thought much about the concept of
unconditional love. Instinctively, I had always accepted my birds for who
they were, not caring if I had a talker, or if my bird could perform
amazing tricks. Sure, I envied those owners' who had Amazons or Greys, but
I never hated my parakeets and parrotlet because they couldn't speak. The
idea seemed abhorrent to me.
I began working on an article about
this very topic for another publication, when it dawned on me that I
needed to apply unconditional love in all areas of my life. My husband and
I had been having our difficulties, nothing major, but the little riffs
that happen during a marriage. I had been trying to make him into my image
of the husband, just like the bird owner hating her bird because he didn't
speak the way she wanted him to. Once I realized this, I immediately began
to rectify the situation.
Birds teach tolerance. In the wild, the
flock cares for all members as long as they are able. Birds do not care if
one's shade of blue is brighter than the other, nor do they care that your
hair is mussed from a night's sleep, or you are cleaning the bird room in
your old robe. Birds love regardless of differences.
grackles greet the morning sun on a spring morning fills a bird lover's
heart with joy. Even the sparrows hopping from one bird feeder to another
brings a smile on a bird lover's face. So, too, does walking into your
bird room to hear a cheerful "Hello," from a pet parrot, or even the
joyous chirps that mean the bird recognizes you. Birds have many things
that they can teach us humans, if only we take the time to listen.
My birds have taught me to not see breeding, colors, physical or personality oddities.
They expect to be accepted for who they are and 'bonding' can only be accomplished through love and encouragement.
They have no sense of mortality and they live for the moment.
They respond to kindness and they recognize a loving spirit.
They react to how they are treated and always respond appropriately.
They don't judge and they forgive.
Their communication is natural and direct, without subterfuge or cunning, and every movement has meaning.
They notice everything and live by their senses.
They respect their elders and would die for their young.
They maintain a hierarchy for survival, not for prestige or arrogance.
They are good to themselves.
They own nothing, accumulate nothing, and are rich in their simplicity.
Their needs are pure sustenance, and their love and loyalty are without restraint.
They do nothing to damage the Earth or threaten our environment.
As an imperfect human who respects their perfection, and that of all birds, I can only wonder if 'dominion over the Earth' was granted to the wrong species.
It is human arrogance to suggest that birds do not have souls.
How can we flawed humans claim to be the only species created 'in His image,' when by their very nature they are surely closer to the Creator than we are?"