By Joan Clayton
It’s been hard for me to find something good about grackle birds. Those huge black birds annoy me.
During the early dusk of the winter season a black sea of birds descend on neighborhood trees, including ours. They leave the lawns white with residue, not to mention vehicles. My husband’s great day is thwarted when he finds his pickup streaked with the grackles’ early departing signs. I’ve watched mockingbirds and doves courageously trying to protect their domain and after the fray I find little white broken eggs on the ground.
I watched the grackles at dusk one night and their erratic behavior captured my attention. The approaching storm with its ground lightning and roaring thunder put them in chaos. Grackles flew here and there, landing on one tree and then another, flying back to the same tree in utter confusion. They followed the crowd as if someone surely knew what to do, giving way to anxiety, fear, unrest and “high bird blood pressure.”
During all of this I couldn’t help but notice a mocking bird. He kept his song during the storm. How could he sing in the fierceness of nature’s anger? He had no regard for himself. He sang for his mate, reassuring her of his presence. What a wonderful husband! He didn’t care about the storm. He was simply fulfilling God’s purpose for his life.
The grackle’s irritation has given me a greater appreciation of the many other beautiful feathered friends who come to visit. I love the brave stance of the robins. Their little plump red breasts and the twinkle in those black eyes captivates me. They dare me to come close and I see how close I can get before they hop away.
Who doesn’t love the cooing of doves? Have you noticed they are whiter this year?
Doves are a symbol of innocence with a gentle spirit. They are faithful to their mate and are home-loving.
The dove is used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As Scripture teaches, “And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him, in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven. ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’” (Luke 21-22 NIV).
I am sad when I think about innocent doves as well as other birds and animals having to be sacrificed in the Old Testament. It makes me have a greater gratitude and appreciation for Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice for mankind. His precious blood cleanses, saves and heals.
Many times you and I face storms. Threatening doubts of gloom, fear, worry and unrest try to prevail, but God’s child has an anchor and that anchor holds: “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:30 NIV).
It’s been a challenge, but I found the “good” in grackles. It’s the lessons I can apply to my life:
1. Following the wrong crowd can get you into trouble.
2. Worldly darkness leads to problems.
3. Build your own nest and then dwell in it.
4. Too much “cackling” can get old quick.
5. Put others first, yourself last.
6. “Birds of a feather,” flock together.
7. Outward beauty sometimes misleads.
8. Know your destination in life.
9. Fly by faith.
10. In a storm, “hang in there.”
11. Soar in the heavenlies.
The grackles are part of God’s creation too, so I co-exist with them. What’s a little annoyance with so many blessings in our lives? Embracing the good leaves little room for doubt.
I have made peace with these birds. I still put birdseed in my bird feeder, even though they have tested my patience.
Because of Jesus, I can be joyful, even around grackles.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: