I love the birds that visit our yard. Cardinals and chickadees. Yellow and purple finch. Hawks and hummingbirds. Robins, wrens, sparrows and titmice. Owls and crows and woodpeckers. And blue jays.
I have a special affinity for the blue jays. Their color is striking and catches my attention no matter the weather or season. But their call is grating and harsh and they drive the smaller birds away from the bird feeders. So, why do I like them so much?
Many summers ago, I heard the blue jays in our bank of burning bushes screaming for help. As my family watched from the deck, I ran into the middle of the 12 foot high bushes like a crazy lady. Armed with a garden stake I pulled out of the ground, I found a pair of blue jays next to their nest. They were screaming because they were trying to stop a 5 foot long black snake from eating their eggs. I swung at the snake and it slithered away but I was too late to save the babies. I struggled out of the bushes, crying for the birds and wondering how I had managed to fit through the densely branched bushes.
From that moment on, I have felt a deep connection to the blue jays and a deep hatred (a word I rarely use) for snakes.
Since that day, a pair of blue jays have visited our yard every morning. They were always together. Until just before Christmas a few years ago.
That morning I looked out my favorite bird watching window (my bathroom) and saw just one blue jay. For the next three days, I only saw a lone blue jay. I was so worried and sad, thinking that its mate was dead. Then Christmas Eve day I looked out my window and saw not one blue jay–but four!! I started crying, threw open the window and thanked them and Mother Nature for their presence in my life.
Yes, a small thing but a huge and amazing affirmation that my friends, the birds, are my sign that God is with me and a reminder that even His smallest creations can bring great joy. I look forward to the day when I can feel the same about snakes.
“Those who find beauty in all of nature
will find themselves at one
with the secrets of life
L. W. Gilbert