Critters make great teachers

Brenda Nail Delauder


Around our house we have daily routines with nature’s critters that must be followed. There’s feeding time, even a fresh water time, and if the routine is thrown off schedule, the birds squawk loudly and Bluejays tap on the window to remind us they are waiting. Once the morning feast is ready for them, there is the “calling” time. That’s when one scout of each bird family announces to the rest, “food has arrived!” They remind us of children with their antics and attitudes, sounding as if they are throwing out insults and tacky remarks, particularly the jays and crows. Yet no different from human families, they look out for each other.

This morning while I was on the porch, a hawk suddenly swooped down toward the busy feeder, but quickly made a hasty retreat when it realized the crows were on watch. Pepper, Catcher and I watched a tail feather from the hawk drift down while the crows, joined by the Bluejays, chased it off. In a few minutes with the hawk gone, all were back in the yard finding food, taking baths, and chattering away.

Spring, moving into summer, is full of sound. The young fledglings are out of the nests and following their parents around begging for food constantly. This is a demanding job which is never done quietly. In fact when they leave, there is a noticeable silence and I miss their chattering. Of course there are other sounds to hear, such as the snorting of deer while they raid the bird feeder, the chirp of a chipmunk hurrying away from the kitty, and the fussing squirrels, who are tattletales about everything. Then when evening arrives, the bugs start up and the bullfrogs, in a neighbor’s Koi pond, hold a croaking symphony.

The joys of nature may not all get along and they fuss at each other regularly, but they help each other too. It’s not surprising, particularly this time of year, to see Bluejays at the feeders, knocking out seed to the ground for the Cardinals and Brown Thrashers so they can feed their young. The crows march around the yards looking for a peanut, but they will stand back and let the smaller birds go first. On our deck feeder, it is a regular occurrence to see at least a couple of crows and two or three fat squirrels sharing the space, until smaller birds arrive. Then the crows chase the squirrels off and sit on nearby branches to keep watch. Of course this requires lots of talking which is humorous to hear.

Often I wonder why humans can’t take lessons from critters. When the storms come and disasters happen, people quickly respond with help. But in day-to-day life, do we help enough? In our haste to get through the grocery store, do we stop and hand down an item from a tall shelf to someone? Do we let people with fewer items go ahead of us in line? Did we remember to buy a few extra things to help out the local Food Pantry? What about a “thank you wave” to the driver who let you into the traffic flow?

Every act of kindness offered to someone should be an ordinary occurrence. As Christians, we serve Christ and sometimes the best way we can accomplish that, is through a simple act of routine kindness. Instead of only focusing on our own lives, include those around us, treating them as we would like to be treated. Watch birds and other creatures God created to see how they interact. In God’s nature kingdom, there is always a lesson to be learned!

Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.