2020-06-17 - Fledgling or Fully-Fledged?
The other day, I spied a Grackle through the wooden lattice top of the fence, in our small section set aside for safe canine exploration. Next, I noticed a second bird and was not quite sure if they were a pair of grackles, or perhaps the second was a young bird. Then, the dirty dark brown up-and-comer with hints of black feathers hopped a few steps and squeaked a bit, grabbing at grass seed bits on the two-inch stalks surrounding it. It was after seeing that and watching the two birds meander - each on their own paths but clearly together - that I surmised the second bird was most likely a fledgling still under supervision. The full-grown black beauty with pale yellow eyes was woofing down a couple of worms, about six to eight feet behind the apprentice - or so it seemed. Suddenly, the rookie raced toward her whining and stopped long enough to revert to nest behavior, opening its mouth wide and throwing its head back. When no action was taken, it squawked and did it all over again. After a few of that pattern, the unfazed parent turned and walked toward a tree, making its own refute to the need of feeding the tenderfoot. Finally, the fledgling leaned over, pecking at the ground, and after several attempts had a bit of worm in its beak, to eat on its own.
It seemed I had witnessed a step at the end of fledgling-rearing. until they are able to fly and obtain food on their own (Websters New 20th Century Unabridged; second edition, 1983). The adult bird may not have eaten any of what I thought I saw, but rather likely mashed it up a bit and dropped it on the ground for easier consumption. Before long, the little feathered Grackle will grow into its full species color, will hone its abilities to fly, land, seek shelter, communicate with other birds in song or warning, and gather food generally less than a month after hatching from the egg. They must learn, in their own designed, time how to survive without being spoon-fed anymore.
Since the time I was unable to be on my own, it has occurred to me that for humankind, there is a difference between the temporal change and abilities learned leading to independence, as opposed to those that are spiritual. Birds only need the temporal training, and their connections to the world around them is substantively different than human beings. Their goal is to survive and procreate their species. Even their songs are designed for a reason, although they can bring great enjoyment to the people listening to them. According to thespruce.com the main reasons birds sing are as follows: claiming and defending territory, attracting a mate, courtship duets, and general communication.
While there is potential for times of song purely for joy, a bird‘s emotional enjoyment is not well understood. To that end, it seems to me that we, as created beings with a spiritual and temporal side, have the potential to reach others of our own kind - humanity - on an even deeper level than even the most complex song of our ornithological friends. To gain that deeper experience, we must learn how to take care of ourselves as birds do, along with understanding how to expand our minds and spiritual sides, as well. We, too, must get beyond the time of being spoon-fed (1 Peter Chapter 2) - literally or spiritually speaking. And while there are exceptions to that rule like those with special needs, debilitating injuries, or diseases, making it necessary to be taken care of indefinitely, those who are able to sharpen those skills on many levels should do so and then pass it along by sharing what is learned with others (Proverbs 27:17). Are you a fledgling, or are you fully-fledged to bear witness to a risen Savior? While we are always learning, there comes a time when we must leave our nests, so to speak. Are you ready?
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.