Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Now We Are Three

I’ve learned something interesting about Starlings. Females, who may or may not have a nest, will often lay their eggs in another bird’s nest. When they do this they sometimes remove host eggs from the nest and place them carefully on the ground. I researched this behavior when I discovered the original two eggs had disappeared from the barbeque pit last Thursday.

At first I was sad and wondered if the original mother bird would return. Once the eggs were removed, I didn’t see any activity for several days until my husband and I stepped out to grill tonight. We fired up our new pit and saw our mother bird watching us from a neighboring chimney. With anticipation, my husband gently lifted the heavy cast iron lid of our old pit. To my delight, we had three new, baby blue eggs.

I’m looking forward to seeing these babies emerge. As you can see in the photo, the mother actually buried the eggs under a layer of grass. One more interesting fact about these remarkable creatures—they can actually mimic other bird’s songs. “The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.” (Psalm 104:12 NIV). Each song is a gift—we should take the time to stop and listen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Eggs

On this beautiful Easter Sunday morning, after a rather tempestuous evening, I heard our mother bird rustling around in the barbeque pit. With camera in hand my eager fingers danced with excitement as I watched her emerge from her nesting place.

Her eyes and body were black as night and her beak a bright yellow. She gave me a wink as if to say, “you can’t catch me,” and flew off before the shutter fired. Little does she know—for I am very persistent and will continue to wait every day, carefully studying her routine.

After weeks and hours of bird watching, hopefully I’ll snap the perfect picture of my darling Starling. Until then, I am posting this photo I call Easter eggs. She laid her first yesterday, and now two light blue eggs rest upon the grate of my dilapidated barbeque pit.

I am also putting a movie together that tells the story of this unlikely sanctuary from the beginning stages of building a nest to the birth of a new, little family. “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3 NKJV). I’m thankful for God’s wondrous creation—Happy Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Small Wonders

While watering plants I caught a glimpse of a tiny web gleaming in the morning sun. In the center was a spider no bigger than a mustard seed working away. I watched in awe thinking about how we are created to do something beautiful to glorify God. This spider was, in its basic form, doing what God created it to do.

This spring I have had the pleasure of seeing many of God’s creatures diligently working in preparation for what’s to come, in particular, a mother bird who chose an unlikely dwelling to build her nest. An old barbeque pit in my backyard was waiting for trash day until she staked her claim on it.

I suppose she felt safe in its cast iron hull. Now she has a comfortable place to hide from the strong winds and rain. It will likely take her three weeks to construct her twiggy haven. Then she will lay her eggs, and eventually life will emerge as it always does in course of the season.

Spring brings many small wonders, each an example of God’s handiwork. There is something beautiful about seeing His workmanship live the life He created them to live. Whether an artisan, teacher or tradesman, each of us is designed with special gifts that bless others. As we use those gifts, our lives are fulfilling and give glory to God.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Things I Love and Miss

My favorite Christmas memory took place almost fourteen years ago. I was in high school working the closing shift in a local grocery store. We were about to close, and I noticed a man dump a small bundle by the trash can outside. I guess he thought we were already shut down for the night because when the bundle moved, he kicked it back against the wall. To my surprise the bundle yelped.

My manager and I ran to the door in time to see the man jump in his vehicle and speed off. The tiny bundle—a pudgy, newborn puppy—shivered in the cold night air. Knowing my mom had a heart for pets, I explained the situation and she agreed to let me keep the baby dog. We took her to the vet and discovered she was a German Shepherd mix and was only about a week old, which explained why the pads on her feet were not worn or calloused. I named her Gretchen.

Gretchy was an awesome guard dog and a loving “lap” baby. She also had her quirks like stretching out full length beside me on my old bed, until I got married and she had to sleep in a doggy bed. Also, I couldn’t give her squeaky toys because she tried to protect them like they were her puppies. Two years ago my husband and I moved six hours away from family and friends and had to leave Gretchy with my mom who took excellent care of her for us. Sadly Gretchy contracted a form of canine cancer, as my other dog Maggie did, and recently passed away.

I loved my girls, Gretchy and Maggie, and am glad I had so many wonderful years with them. Their fuzzy ears and cold wet noses brightened up many days. Both of them landed on my doorstep in a way and impacted my life for the better. I miss them greatly, but each day gets better. I encourage anyone looking into getting a pet to rescue one. The local shelters are filled with all kinds of animals that are looking for someone to love them. My girls were both dumped and probably would have gone to a shelter had I not taken them in, and I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without them.