Life Lessons From the Birds

Birds are delightful creatures that offer nature's wisdom
By Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, has written three books, course manuals, book summaries, blogs, articles, and devotionals. Donna writes out of her own varied life experiences, including those of dancer, instructor, file clerk, business owner, real estate salesperson, wife, and mother. Her goal in writing is to bless and help people reach their full potential in this life. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, is married with five children and twelve grandchildren. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance."
November 5, 2021 Updated: November 5, 2021

I fell in love with birds when I took care of a conure (small parrot) for a friend while she was on vacation. Until that point, I thought birds were pretty to look at and sometimes lovely to listen to, but I didn’t believe they could exhibit much personality. I was happily mistaken.

I have “outside birds” at multiple bird feeders, but I also have two “inside birds” that are my lovable pets. These tiny creatures have minds, wills, and emotions, and they naturally do the right thing most of the time. Besides making me happy, they have taught me many things about life.

Routines

Birds are creatures of routine. They wake up when it is light and sleep when it is dark. This natural practice was the way of life for human beings, too, before they discovered electricity. We have made alterations and lengthened our workdays so that this timetable is an impracticality for us today. However, I can’t help but wonder if observing this schedule would open up deeper abilities within us that are not otherwise attainable.

Self-Care

Constantly preening and grooming, birds take great care of themselves. They get ready for their day like their contributions are necessary and needed. Should we not do the same? We don’t want to miss any opportunity, whether for ourselves or for what we can give someone else.

Community

Huddling together and working together, birds demonstrate the importance of community. Even though they may quarrel when one gets out of line, they quickly resolve their differences and get on with the business at hand. In so doing, they uplift and enjoy each other. 

Whereas alone, we are vulnerable; we are strong when we stand together against threats and adversity. When they sense danger, birds quickly warn each other, presenting a united front against the adversary. One spring, I saw a baby robin that had fallen from its nest. I went to pick it up to return it to the nest, and suddenly more than 30 robins appeared in the nearby trees screaming at me. Fortunately, I saved the baby and left before the army could attack. 

Rest

Birds take breaks to enjoy a snack or bath whenever they feel the need. Do we, or do we forfeit the lift that even a 10-minute break can give us? We have deadlines, so we must keep on working so that we can meet them. I know we can’t take a bath if we work outside the home, but what about a walk around the block or a cup of tea? A break of only a few minutes will renew our strength and rejuvenate our mental energy.

Shelter and Healing

Birds seek shelter or move away when it is too cold out. They rest and quiet themselves when they are ill. What do we do? We try to keep going, and we post our pains on Facebook. Meanwhile, our bodies are created to heal in quietness and rest.

Awareness

Are we, like the birds, as present and aware of our surroundings as we need to be? They notice even the little things, be they harmful or helpful. They never miss an opportunity to frolic with their friends, but they can be intensely serious at the same time. We should be aware of our surroundings and walk circumspectly to know our position in the scheme of the moment. If something doesn’t seem right, birds fly away from it, and so should we. 

Birds seize the moment as they grab that sunflower seed lying in front of them. We ought to notice and be appreciative of the blessings that come our way every day. Let’s determine not to let tunnel vision cause us to miss the many little things that will indeed bless our hearts.

Healthy Eating

Then there is the matter of diet. We often eat things that are not healthy while they eat only the right foods: proteins along with fresh vegetables and fruits in season. If we followed this one lesson from the birds, we would have the energy and mental fortitude we need for the day. That said, birds will eat poorly if presented the chance, like the bread bits we may feed to ducks. Here too is a lesson: Avoid situations where you will be tempted to eat poorly.

Sharing

When they have found a good thing, birds immediately call their friends with the news. It only takes one bird to stop by my newly filled feeders and vocalize their delight. Before long, the air is filled with all sorts of clucking, chirping, and flapping as they abandon themselves to the feast. Yes, good news should be shared and enjoyed! Cooperation wins over competition.

Spending Time in Nature

True, birds live in nature, but the benefits of outdoor life can be ours, too. Being outside and even working with our hands in the dirt, weather permitting, can give us peace and joy like no other activity.

Parenting

Adult birds nurture their children and equip them with everything they need to know for survival in the outside world. When they come of age, the parent birds kick them out and force them to fly independently. They do not try to keep their fully grown children in the nest. 

In Conclusion

Like the birds, we must sing our songs so that others can hear us. Each of us has a unique tune that the world needs to hear. And when it is time to move forward, we have to let go of the branch that we were clutching and trust our wings to carry us. 

Formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, has written three books, course manuals, book summaries, blogs, articles, and devotionals. Donna writes out of her own varied life experiences, including those of dancer, instructor, file clerk, business owner, real estate salesperson, wife, and mother. Her goal in writing is to bless and help people reach their full potential in this life. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, is married with five children and twelve grandchildren. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance."