Wisdom of the Birds

Yesterday around 4pm I went out to buy birdseed. As I loaded the bag into the car, I looked up and saw a huge flock of birds flying together against the waning blue of the sky. As I drove home, I saw two more flocks of birds. They all flew together, and now and then one or two would fly up to the front, letting the last “front runners” fall back. There was an easyness and comraderie among them; you could tell that this is how they roll together. It made me think of a little story I heard a long time ago about the wisdom of birds:

“A long time ago in a little forest, one year there was a fiercely cold winter. The animals and birds who lived in the forest made ready for the coming cold as best they could. For the most part, the animals knew where to shelter and stay warm. The large birds, such as the blue herons, the eagles, the raptors and all, just flew away to warmer climes. But the pigeons and the little birds; the sparrows, the chickadees, the nuthatchers and all couldn’t fly away fast enough before a chilling snowstorm began to howl.

The little birds came to the pigeons and said, “you pigeons are so strong and warm, could we please shelter up under your wings?” Many of the pigeons immediately agreed and each lifted a warm wing. The little birds gratefully huddled up against the pigeons’ warm bodies, sheltered under each large wing.

But some of the pigeons said, “no! I’m not going to waste my body heat on you little birds; I need it for myself!” And they flew off to perch in the tall pine trees. The other pigeons, each with their own little bird tucked safely under their wing, settled in to weather the storm.

The next day, the storm had passed, and the sun shown brightly over the sparkling new snow. All of the pigeons who had sheltered the little birds were warm and safe, as were the birds; they had warmed each other. But the pigeons who had refused to shelter the little birds were dead; frozen stiff.”

The moral of this story is this: like it or not, we need each other. We need friendship, love, companionship, understanding and occasionally, some help. Sometimes we are too proud to ask for help. Sometimes we are too full of ourselves and think that we are smarter than others and can manage everything ourselves. But taking a lesson from the birds, there is wisdom in sharing our “warmth” with others.


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