Bird Watching and God

white and black bird on tree branch

A short article on the splendor of diversity

photography of small blue and brown bird
Photo by Tina Nord on

I enjoy watching birds, as many people do, they are splendid creatures deserving of our attention, not even Jesus left them out, reminding us that not one of these tiny frail creatures falls to the ground without the father’s knowledge.

I live in New England a land consisting of a vast spectrum of seasons and weather conditions. Winter is upon us and winter in new England is gray with muted tones of browns and sickly yellows. All colors seem to have abandoned their posts. The cold dark days without apology whisked away flowers and blossoms. Only leaving the birds to entertain us, but even their colors have faded.  Throughout the day they Flutter around stripped bushes and empty apple trees hunting for seeds and insects. I have arranged a large comfortable chair to be situated exactly in front of a three-pane sliding glass door overlooking six bird feeders, which I tend regularly.

Many birds blend into winter, even some ordinarily colorful birds have easily shed their vibrancy and exchanged it for a more practical winter coat. For example, many people don’t know that the American goldfinch is a very different kind of bird in a different season. Indigo bunting, scarlet tanager and some warblers sport their best dress in the spring when trying to attract mates and appeal to the opposite sex, but quickly return to their winter camouflage after breeding, as its safer and less work. I guess people and birds are not all that different.

I love watching the birds, how they move, how they flitter and frolic and contest for a seed. They are interesting little creatures, some travel in flocks and others prefer just one mate. Their different sizes and shapes and food preferences fascinate me, yet In the winter when its cold and bare the birds are mostly unappealing in appearance and indistinguishable from one another. There are an extraordinary variety of sparrows in their hushed and subdued browns. There is always a tufted titmouse around,  chickadees show up on occasion and I see finches, blackbirds and juncos. Blue jays and cardinals are frequent visitors and then there are the rarer sightings, an eastern blue bird or a woodpecker. though winter hides their unique flumage and brightly colored displays still there are a great diverse company which is the why I love to watch them. They mesmerize, catch my attention and calm my anxious heart.

Today I saw a brilliant red cardinal, and even as I wrote a half dozen large blue jays, I was waiting for an eastern blue bird with its indigo back side and orange breast, but they made their debut yesterday. I saw two different species of woodpeckers, and a whole flock of starlings.  It is ever so delightful to watch such a variety of birds. Is God so different when it comes to watching us.

It occurred to me that God too in his love and tenderness gazes upon us. He must enjoy the diversity sees because he made us to be so. Bearing different skin tones and body shapes and languages and beliefs. We have such a broad spectrum of personality, and skill sets and psyches. The variety of birds are vast in this world, how much more the variety of peoples.

I’m looking out my window as I write this there are five large blue jays fluttering about. How cheery they are with their bright blue capes and white under belly, a crested hat and black choker against the barren and bare bushes of sticks and twigs. Some people believe jays are a nussance nothing but a pest and a bully, I suppose they think the same about those who are mentally ill, broken, autistic, or rude simply not beautiful according to the worlds standards, but I think they are brilliant. My friend says they are unwanted guests in her backyard because they disturb the “nice birds.” Isn’t that how they were made to be. Look at the variety they bring to the world and to society in the darkest days of winter there is a bit of light. they are different but does God value less or delight less in the birds that we don’t like or the people we don’t except because they are different. it is this very difference that draws the attention of bird watchers. In some splendid way they add to the masterpiece, the diverse and beautiful landscape a landsacape that needs them to brighten a world which want uniformity and same.

How often do we try to mold and fix and perfect by only sending invitations to the acceptable ones, forgetting it is the different and sinners and blue jays who bring the color and variation and God is watching and delighting also in them. God loves the sinners he watches all the while, he waits he peers with his lazer gaze fixed on humanity even the bullies have been created in his image and the unwanted have the favor of his kindness. The splendor of variety draws the gaze of God, it is the color that brings him cheer. It is only the broken and weak and insecure that need uniformity, not the unlimited all-inclusive Jesus Christ who said it is the sick not the healthy who need a physician and there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner returned than 99 who are already home. The father calls us to be a body made of many members, because he loves variety. And the body of Christ has a variety of unique functions and purposes and appearances all parts of our savior, all beautiful together. And if I, watching these birds find delight and joy how much more does our heavenly Father and Creator enjoy and delight to watch those made in his very own image engage in every day affairs no matter how different or awkward they are, it is the variety of his creation that pleases him and it ought to draw our acceptance as well.

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