Birds of Prey and Birds We Eat
“And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:20-23).
A few weeks ago, I was sitting on our parsonage deck at twilight, enjoying the warmth of the evening with no mosquitoes! It was quite lovely with the continual croaking of the frogs in the background. Suddenly, there came a sound from the sky of Canadian geese.
Seeing and hearing the honkers made me think of all the other larger birds that are in our area. We have ducks, pheasants, turkeys, turkey vultures, hawks, owls, sand cranes, chickens, ospreys, bald eagles and golden eagles. It’s not uncommon to hear the pheasants squawking in the morning. Pheasants remind me of my Mom who grew up in South Dakota where she used to hunt them with her Dad. (No one could cook pheasant like my Mom with yummy cream gravy).
Many would say we are fortunate to have an eagle’s aerie just down the road. Lots of people stop by the side of the road right after the eggs are hatched, and young ones are seen in the nest. Eagles tend to be frequent visitors around the church and parsonage. Yes, they are majestic when they soar through the air riding the currents, but frankly, they also scare me. I’ve heard stories of eagles taking family pet dogs and cats. I’ll never forget one Sunday morning waiting for outdoor worship to start. I was sitting outside in my lawn chair with a cat under it. All of a sudden a shadow passed over my head, and then an eagle perched in the oak tree directly in front of me and stared at us. Oh, those eagle eyes! I’ve also gone by fields where an eagle is feasting on carnage, and it will glance up and look me right in the eyes. Haunting! Or, how about the time when an eagle perched on an old dead tree of our neighbors looking towards the parsonage. It stayed there for 8 hours. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer, so I cawed like a crow, and it left.
The eagle is mentioned 33 times in the Bible, usually as an illustration of protection by God. Many people love the hymn, “On Eagle’s Wings” by Michael Joncas, “And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hands.” (based on Psalm 91).
One cannot forget about the chicken, though, in connection with the Bible. I love watching and visiting chickens. They come in so many varieties. Also, farm fresh eggs are found in easy supply around here. Jesus uses a mother hen as an illustration while he awaits his death in Jerusalem, when He says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).
Indeed, how many times are we not willing to come under the Lord’s wings? God’s wings are always available to us! Just think of how a mother hen protects her brood under her wings. What a wonderful feeling!
Next week: Emu on the loose!