I grew up in the country. Living in urban areas for decades I missed the changing of the seasons. An office mate suggested that I start watching birds – which change with every season.
When I was reading through Genesis one more time my eyes lit up when I read Genesis 9:15. God’s great covenant of life, symbolized by the rainbow, was with “all living things.” “All living things,” not just us humans. Why? God’s design is infinitely complex and interconnected. It all works because it all works together.
In our church we have taken a very concrete step to honor God’s covenant with “all livings things.” One of the two greatest causes of avian deaths in the U.S. is birds hitting windows and dying. These window strikes kill between 500 million and a billion birds annually. Fifty-five per cent hit windows in low rises like churches. Birds do not see windows as we do. Our creation care team convinced our trustees to install a retrofit system against bird window strikes on the two very large clear windows in our sanctuary. We may be the first church to do so. If churches have large clear windows they can find solutions-in in a free “Consumer Guide to Window Strike Prevention” at https://birdfriendlyyards.net/consumerguide/ . We still need to install collision prevention on about 20 smaller windows.
And the second reason that birds are so important?— we can count them. That is important because they actually are the “canaries in the coal mine” of God’s ecosystem. They are both predator and prey, they control insects and live off them, they pollinate and distribute seeds, and many other living things — fish, amphibians. They are now delivering us a very troubling message. Bird populations are down almost 30% since the 70’s. There are 3 billion less birds in the U.S. than there were. Our ecosystem is degrading quickly.
Consider bluebirds. Their parents must feed them about 8,000 insects. Songbird nestlings do not eat seeds. The trees and plants that God put here in North America together, thrive together. Plants native to our region can provide 35 times more food than those imported trees and shrubs. The fruit from our native shrubs has 50 times more fat than imports. Stored fat is what makes the miracle of bird migration possible. For recommendations of what trees and shrubs to plant in your yard go to https://birdfriendlyyards.net/freeplans/
Finally, let’s do no harm to these God’s creatures. Keep cats inside — the # 1 bird killer, and second, protect birds from striking your windows. For why and how to do this go to https://birdfriendlyyards.net/consumerguide/ God did not make windows. Birds do not see them, hit them and die by the hundreds of millions.
And after all, Jesus did say “His eye is on the sparrow…”