As I was working at the computer early yesterday morning in my quiet office, I suddenly jumped an inch out of my chair when a loud thud hit the window. I knew exactly what it was even before my heart calmed down. A bird had flown into the glass window thinking it was a grand expanse of space. I knew it even as I got up to go look out the window for the carnage.
And there it was, a large female Northern Flicker Woodpecker laying on the ground. Her body in convulsions and the red patch on the back of her neck was shaking violently.
I don't like these hard nature lessons. Death and violence is still death and violence no matter the species. I sat back down in my chair, knowing nature would take it's course but not happy about it in the least. I uttered a silent prayer, then realized I was praying for a bird outside my office window and how crazy was that, then I continued.
Moments later I started to hear a gentle bird song that I don't often hear. It grew in volume and I got up to look out the window again and I saw that there were four other Northern Flickers gathered around the stunned bird calling to her. She had somehow managed to get herself to her feet and there she stood staring off into the sky, not moving at all, just staring.
I watched as they called to her, encouraging her. It was a most touching sight as the community gathered around her, willing her to live.
Then they saw me at the window and two of them flew back to safety while the other two just stepped back a bit. I gave them back their privacy.
I sat reflecting on what I'd just seen and how good it was that even in the bird world they know the value of community and support and helping a sister along through a rough patch. Even the animals know these things! I thought.
Sometimes the animals are smarter than we are.
And I considered what lessons there are to be learned about the heart of Creator God, just through watching his creation.
I got up again after a few minutes, expecting the funeral cries to be nearly done. But when I looked to where the gathering had been, there was just concrete. I looked under the bushes and around the corner but no dead northern flicker. I looked for her mates and they were gone too.
Nothing left except for the powerful lesson of what community can do for you when you're hurting and wounded and stunned.
Let that be our lesson for today.