Letter to the Editor: Learn from the Birds

I am an avid bird observer. Living in a rural area, I have the privilege of being a witness to a lot of birds and their behaviors. 

First, these amazing creatures come in all shapes, sizes, colors, personalities and voices. I’ve seen doves, crows, swans, pelicans, ducks, geese, flickers, eagles, hawks, redwing blackbirds, grackles, robins, cardinals, blue jays, cranes, woodpeckers, chickadees, all kinds of sparrows, cedar waxwings, grosbeaks and hummingbirds – all beautiful in their own unique ways.

I’ve never seen them fight each other. Occasionally I’ll witness a small bird chasing after a hawk in order to steer it away from the eggs in its nest, but fighting each other violently hasn’t happened in my view. They all coexist quite nicely. They go about their business unruffled by their other winged neighbors – and miraculously unruffled by us for the most part.

The symphonies of their “talk” are a bouquet of melodies for my ears! Their meanings are clear to each other, open and always honest. They sing to their heart’s content.

Some may say, “What kind of naïveté is this? What could we hope to learn from birds?” 

Perhaps nothing – but then again, perhaps more than we know.

As we approach the upcoming privilege of electing our leaders, I would welcome the opportunity to be able to “talk” with people about their thoughts on this topic. Even though our feathers may be of a different color, size or shape, and our “songs” might vary in their melodies, we have our humanity in common.

How beautiful it would be to have gentle, thoughtful, enlightening discussions about what we believe or to ask questions to better understand each other. Too often these days we find ourselves silent for fear of ridicule or condemnation – our voices stifled, withdrawn. Lines are drawn in the sand, dividing instead of uniting.

As I take down my hummingbird feeders, I wonder how we will evolve as a people. I can only hope we will someday coexist as miraculously as the birds do. Naïve? Perhaps. Hopeful? Most definitely!

Laura Johnsrud

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin