Bird Brained


A Robin has been living in my yard for several weeks preparing for her summer brood.  She selected the wrong place for her nest – a small roof section outside my bedroom window.

While being able to see her comings and goings seems like a prospect I would want to witness, she has a big problem.  She’s messy.  Really messy and it’s not just failing to pick up her clothes.  She leaves tell-tale white droppings on the window and siding and roof and window shade as she flies in and out clutching pieces of grasses and soft flowers.  As much as I would like to watch her preparations, I recall last summer’s scrubbing of the house siding and gutter and regretfully decline her attempts to create a nest here.

I head outside with my rake and pull out her bowl shaped offering.  Seeing my arrival, she flurries off and watches me balefully from a few yards away.  When I return inside, she takes up her campaign and flies back to the sheltered spot with new twigs and grassy bundles.  I hear her outside my window, pecking and pulling and weaving the lawn materials shaping a warm, safe spot for her soon-to-come nestlings. It is not a fair match-up.  I am about one hundred times her size plus I have a long handled metal tool in my hand.  I must appear to be a giant in her eyesight.

Guiltily, I trudge outside the next day and remove the burgeoning nest structure.  Lifting my rake over the gutter and into the roof crevice, I tell her to find another spot to live.  She probably thinks I am just slow on the uptake and resumes her preparations.  Back inside, I hear her fluttering flight as she arrives with more carefully collected nesting materials.  She’s a bit hasty as time is running shorter for her to prepare her little home for egg laying.

Next day, we have another repeat of the human-bird nesting debacle.  I don’t like interfering with her instinctual drive. But I’m not going to allow this spot to be the place for her hungry young ones.  Surely there are other, more welcoming locations than my little roof spot.  After a week of our construction/destruction interactions, she moves on to find a more welcoming location.

I have to admire her though.  She displays a persistence I haven’t always shown in my life. I’ve gotten discouraged on many occasion and given up too soon.  I have allowed “giants”, whether other people’s comments about me, my self-talk, lack of training or knowledge, fear or whatever, to back me down from achieving my destiny.  Many times, I have not pushed through and made a concerted effort, like the Robin, to accomplish my goals.

But, I have also chosen wrong locations for my nest.  Like the Robin, I have not determined the positives and negatives before deciding to settle in.  I have accepted jobs without investigating a potential employer’s attitude toward their workers. As a result, I found myself in an abusive workplace that didn’t value employees.  I’ve made bad decisions when selecting a partner. Closing my eyes to their background and habits, I overlooked addictions which would affect me.  In a phrase, I’ve made “bird brained” decisions myself.  And usually, I’ve had to leave that nest building for another, better location.

I’ve also experienced God’s hand in tearing down a nest or two.  He has not allowed me to remain in abusive situations, to linger when I needed to leave or to squat when He wanted me to fly.  He has torn out twigs, ripped out dried grasses and sent strong winds to break branches so my nest would topple. At the time, it was hard to see His hand in the storm and tumult. Only in retrospect could I understand He had a better, safer, more welcoming location for me.

In Deuteronomy 32:11, God is described as an eagle who stirs its nest to get the young eaglets to move. Living in the Rocky Mountains near water sources and wildlife, I often see Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles.  They are large birds, with wings spanning up to six feet, and approaching nine pounds in weight.   Their eyesight is three times greater than that of humans which allows them to spot prey at long distances.  I even participated in an eagle survey in late winter, gazing in awe as these aviators soared in their natural environment.

Eagles are described as being the only birds that do not look back over their shoulders. I want to be like an eagle in this respect.  When God stirs my nest, forces me from my comfort zone,  and removes any chance of returning to my old ways, I want to launch myself from my old perch, look forward and say, “OK God, where to next?”

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