Gloomy Gray Bird Day
It’s been gray all day. First the sun hid behind gloomy gray clouds creating coldness like fall, not warmth like almost summer. I needed a warm jacket when I went out to buy groceries. Finally the sun peeked out beneath the clouds late in the afternoon, but by then another gray gloominess had settled over us.
Returning home from shopping, I found that a tragedy had occurred. As I put away my groceries, I peered out my kitchen window and noted feathers—lots of feathers on the ground around the birdhouse. Immediately I went out to investigate. The birdhouse was quiet. The feathers were not from the swallows. They were wide feathers, white, black, and gray/brown stripped. “Whose feathers could they be, and why are they scattered about,” I wondered?
As I walked around the area puzzled, my eye caught a tiny pink form lying on the deck step a few feet away. A featherless baby bird, Its eyes not even open, lay helpless. I went over and examined it carefully. It was breathing. The tiny body felt warm as I gently picked it up. It seemed unhurt, but its belly was large and bluish. I wasn’t sure if the fall from the birdhouse nest had perhaps caused an internal bleed.
Everything came clear. A menacing bird must have attacked the little family. There was surely a fight! The vigilant swallows no doubt fought for their little family’s lives. It happened while I was gone, so only a short time had passed since the fray.
As I gazed at the tiny creature warm and breathing in my hand, my eye caught another below the step on the pebbly sidewalk. Why hadn’t I seen it? This little bird was also alive and breathing. I gently picked it up and laid it beside the other in my hand. It's belly resembled the others', so I hoped that represented a normal look for baby birds instead of an injury. Neither made so much as a peep. Then I saw another tiny form about two feet farther on the path. This little bird was not breathing and had obviously been injured. Sadness filled my heart. I searched the area carefully for more, but no more were found.
The nest seemed abandon for the moment. I didn’t know if other babies were still inside and safe. I also didn't know if mother swallow would reject these two little ones if I returned them to the nest since I had handled them. Yet they could not survive without their mother. One-by-one I put the two surviving babies back inside the small round door of the birdhouse. Then I went inside to watch from my kitchen window.
Soon Mrs. Swallow returned. She sat on the perch and looked inside. Then she looked again. She flew off and circled around quickly returning to repeat the same behavior. But this time she went inside and disappeared out of sight. I hoped she was glad to find her two lost babies there.
I prayed for the little bird family as I buried their tiny sibling. It helps to know God knows. He understands the ways of nature in our fallen world. He doesn’t miss even the difficulties of his smallest creatures. I cared, but He cares more.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” (Matthew 10:29)