Lessons birds teach us

BY: The writer Lawrence Darmani
The eagle is the king of birds
The eagle is the king of birds

When I was a young boy growing up in the forest village, the only communication link between birds and me was my catapult.

With a catapult in hand, when I looked at a bird perching on a tree branch, it was not its beauty I admired but the possible meat I was about to have!

As I grew older and my interest in bird-watching developed, I began to admire birds, not for their tiny meat but for their intrinsic significance and the surprising education they offer.

Just observe their different sizes, colourful feathers, singing tunes, flying patterns, and you can’t help but acknowledge that God is, indeed, the Master Artist.

World-renowned theologian and Bible scholar, Rev. Dr John Stott, insists in his book on birds that birds are our teachers. The encyclopedia reports over 770 species of birds in Ghana out of about 9,000 worldwide.

Eagle

Ghana is among the nations that have the eagle in their Coat of Arms. Others are Nigeria, USA, Poland, Romania and Mexico. Some companies use the eagle as their corporate emblem, among them the GCB Bank and Barclays (now Absa) Bank.

Referred to as “the king of birds,” the eagle symbolises strength, courage, freedom and long life.

Dr Kwagyir Aggrey told the story of an eagle that a farmer reared with his chicken.

Failing to realise its uniqueness and potential, the eagle mingled with the chicken, unaware of its strength and power.

But when a naturalist took hold of it, made it realise it was an eagle and not a chicken, the eagle summoned its massive force and flew away towards the sun.

Some people look down on themselves and fail to take advantage of opportunities open for them; whereas, with courage and determination, they could rise high.

While we make the effort to rise up, we must trust in the Lord to help us. For it says in Isaiah 40:31, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

The wetland at the Sakumono Lagoon in Tema is a protected area where bird-watchers can observe 70 species any day.

My friend Dr Andrews lives near this spot. “Come and watch,” he told me when I visited him. We went out and watched dozens of birds. “Many of them migrated all the way from South Africa,” he told me.

Travellers

Birds are long-distance travellers. Ornithologists, experts on bird studies, say birds can travel a distance of up to 16,000 miles and stay in flight for eight hours a day.

People who give up when embarking on a challenging project can learn determination from migrating birds.

Predator hawk swoops on smaller birds for lunch. It’s beautiful to see the mother hen gather her chicks under her to protect them.

Smaller birds assemble in their numbers to warn others of the presence of a hawk by their piercing chattering. Such solidarity is impressive.

Roosters are ground birds, famous for their crowing at dawn. Despite being warned that before the rooster crowed he would disown his Lord, Simon Peter disowned him just hours after the warning. Cockcrows warn humanity that the coming day is full of uncertainties, therefore beware how you embrace it, making the most of each moment, for it is the day the Lord has made.

Ravens can never let go any piece of meat.

But God sent meat and bread to exhausted and hungry prophet Elijah by ravens (1 Kings 17). The dirty, greedy ravens became obedient stewards of what God entrusted to them.

So when we, humans, are entrusted with anything for others, we must learn from the ravens and maintain a high level of reliability and integrity, for we are stewards of God’s provisions. And would you eat meat from dirty ravens? Well, Elijah had to learn humility.

There were many birds in Noah’s ark but he sent the dove to check whether the flood had subsided. Individuals and entities that wish to communicate harmony use the dove, which is gentle, faithful, peaceful, and innocent.

During the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit descended on him as a dove, which makes the dove a very special bird.

Jesus used the sparrow to show how God takes care of us. Although sparrows are so many, not one of them is forgotten by God. Therefore, “fear not,” the Lord said, “you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).

When the going gets tough and the anxieties of life plague us, we learn from the sparrows that God will not forget us.