Wednesday, September 23, 2009

God's creature?

...or invasive species? More on this later.

Several days ago, as my husband and I were busily working outside--getting outdoor things ready for winter--we heard a thump, and then watched our dog, who was inside, go ballistic. My husband investigated, and then came to get me.

--There's a bird lying on its back on the patio, apparently having hit the window. And Tipper is going crazy. Can you come help?

So, with my gardening gloves already on, I went to see what had hit the window. Herewith.

A very stunned bird, lying on her back, little feet curled and in the air. She looked for all the world as though she were dead--or should be dead. But she was very much alive, and very stunned.

I picked her up, and held her, first on her back, and then gradually turned my hands so that she was upright. She seemed perfectly content to sit there in the warmth of my gloved hands.

As I held this bird, I kept thinking--this little sparrow is such a common bird. And it's considered to be a nuisance--an invasive species.

Yet I marveled at its unbearable lightness of being. So small, so fragile, so tough--to hit a window and survive. The bird blinked her bright eyes, turned her head this way and that--looking around. But she stayed put in my gloves. And I stayed put, holding her.

What makes something an
invasive species? Understandably, it depends why you ask. Here's one definition you will find in the referenced Wikipedia article: "a non-indigenous species (e.g. plants or animals) that adversely affect the habitats they invade economically, environmentally or ecologically."

Well, now.

By that definition, humans are an invasive species. This thought is not original with me. But, we sure do fit the definition. Non-indigenous species--yup. Adversely affect the habitats they invade economically--yup. Environmentally--oh, yup yup. Or ecologically--triple yup.

So, here we sit, judge and jury pronouncing other species as invasive.

We would do well to recall the words of the psalmist--Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts. (Psalm 84:3).

After a few minutes, I walked up into our backyard where the tall evergreen trees are. Perhaps seeing that greenery was inviting enough--suddenly, the little bird was stunned no more. Off she flew. God's creature.


UPDATE: Julie Zickefoose in her recent blog entitled "We Eliminated Them" demonstrates how humans are the prime invasive species.


Beverly said...

And I love the song, "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."

Jayne said...

So glad she was only momentarily stunned. Indeed, invasive can mean many things.

Ruth said...

That is only a young bird. Invasive bird species were brought here by people. It is not their fault and another example of how man is really the invader. Very thoughtful essay...

Ginger said...

What a fascinating story! Thanks for sharing it, and your musings about our species. We are so thoughtless.

NCmountainwoman said...

Very thoughtful post. I always feel great compassion and sorrow for an injured bird or animal. But try as I may, I can't get beyond the destructive nature of the House Sparrow. For this individual bird I am happy that he lives to fly another day.

possumlady said...

I've held many a bird in my hand and I always feel privileged to do so. But, I've also heard horror stories of House Sparrows (HS) pecking blue bird babies to death and then chucking them out of their nest so the HS can use it. I've also seen their very aggressive side at the feeders, keeping away the more submissive titmice and chickadees.

That said, I'm with NCmountainwoman and am glad that your little guy was all right.

warriormom said...

Amazing photos of you holding the sparrow....and as usual, thought provoking to boot, how invasive we are. It never ceases to amaze me though, when I see large flocks of sparrows or any bird, God's provision for me.

KGMom said...

Beverly--I agree. In fact, I thought about embedding the Ethel Waters' arrangement from "Member of the Wedding."

Jayne, Ruth, Ginger--thanks for your kind words, and thoughtful responses.

NC, PL--well, after reading Julie Z's post on We Eliminated Them, I think house sparrows driving out bluebirds is mild. We like bluebirds because they are pretty, but what if house sparrows did that to grackles. Would we care as much?

WarriorWmn--the scripture gets it right, doesn't it.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

A lovely story! I'm glad I stopped by (after a VERY long absence).

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Hundred of thousands of birds fly into windows of the building in the city. In Toronto they have people who go out early before the office workers show up and pick up the little carcasses.
It is a sad carnage!

Dog_geek said...

I know that people dislike House Sparrows, but I wouldn't be able to harm one. We have the occassional bird strike on our windows - and I always cringe and try to do what I can, even if it is a grackle or a starling. I just can't help it.

JeanMac said...

This post moved me to tears, you captured it well with words.

Ginnie said...

I'm so glad you were able to show us the photos too...especially the last one. Thanks.

Anvilcloud said...

I am happy to come back and read such a moving post.

LauraO said...

A nice story with a happy ending. I often have very mixed reviews about invasive species and I think one comment you made about how we like "bluebirds because they're pretty" is so true. I'm married to a Native American and we don't want to get him started on what identifies an 'invasive species'!!