Looking Beyond

Welcome dear friend, I thought I’d take you on a walk through the nature of birds today.

Hubby & I were strolling along the waterfront the other day, when we witnessed some interesting bird behavior that I knew I just had to share with you!

So grab your cuppa, get comfy & join me in some birdwatching & reflective thoughts. My cuppa today is a Lady Grey & my treat is some peppery gf Ginger nut cookies.

Since childhood I have loved watching birds, it was an interest nurtured by my Dad, who kept prized Budgies.

Although, I wasn’t very popular when I gave his prized birds their freedom when I was two years old!

I thought they should be flying with their bird friends in the sky! I have never liked seeing any animal caged even if they were in a sizable aviary.

My enjoyment in birdwatching is to really appreciate the beauty & antics of birds as I witness them in their natural habitats.

Uniquely Australian

Here in Australia we have some very unique birds that are both beautiful & fun to watch.

We have Galahs, from the Cockatoo family, who are the comedians of the Australian bird world. They get up to all manner of hilarious mischief & antics.

When I lived on the farm with my late husband, we would put the sprinkler on to water the lawn on a hot Summers afternoon. The Galahs would come in huge numbers to have a drink, cool themselves off & play.

Spreading their wings out wide under the sprays of water, washing the dust off, then it was time to play doing somersaults & upside down antics. Just like children do under the sprinkler on a hot Summers day!

We also have our Australian Magpies (we call them Maggies here) who are from one of the most intelligent bird genus, the Crow & Raven family.

Their call sounds like a beautiful harmonious caroling which to me signals the quintessential sound of the Australian Bush.

At this time of the year, Spring, they have their chicks in the nest of whom they’re fiercely protective.

Dive bombing & attacking anything that comes within fifty metres of their nest.

Cyclists are especially targeted. We see strange alien spiky helmets (laden with plastic pull ties) on cyclists who are attempting to keep these Magpies from attacking their head.

Birds of Prey 

It was actually a Maggie’s behavior that we witnessed the other day on our walk. This particular Magpie was warding off a magnificent adult White-bellied Sea eagle!

We need to put this into perspective, an adult White-bellied Sea Eagle stands approximately 85 centimeters (2′ 9.5″) tall with a wing span of approximately 2 metres (6’7″) in flight! They’re diet consists of mainly fish, small mammals & smaller birds! Gulp!

The Maggie though bigger then some local birds is still much smaller, less then half the size, of the White-bellied Sea Eagle!

But this smaller bird was dive bombing the Sea Eagle relentlessly. Warning the bird of prey that this littler Maggie meant serious business if the Eagle was going to come near his family!

Hubby & I stood gobsmacked as we watched this bird who could’ve at any moment become a tasty snack for the Sea Eagle.

But the Sea Eagle eventually flew out of range of the harassing attacks of the Magpie.

Extreme Courage or mere Foolishness?

This had me thinking about the wisdom of these birds. Was it courage to take on predators more then double your size & attack humans many more times your size or sheer foolishness?

After all both have the ability in one fell blow to leave the attacking bird fatally wounded.

Their rather defensive & offensive behavior to anything that comes within range of their nest seems rather excessive at first.

Until we look beyond & do a little background research, we discover that these birds live in rather complex social systems. With many levels to their Magpie hierarchy.

‘Family groups’ (although they may not necessarily be of the same parentage) defend their own territory fiercely & vigorously against other ‘family groups’ of Magpies, at times to the death!

Thus these birds are always on hyperalert, which creates its own set of behavioral issues. What we call in the counseling world hypervigilence.

Hyperviligence ⇔ stress ⇔ anxiety.

And yes animals do indeed suffer from these stressors.

How do these relate to us?

These relate to us in ways that may not seem evident at first. Let us ask ourselves the following question; how many times do we witness someone behaving in a manner that we judge as excessive?

This may be in what we perceive as over the top enthusiasm, or rather eccentric behavior or even inconsiderate or rude behavior.

And assertiveness can be perceived as being officious or even aggressive behavior, depending on the background of the one on the receiving end of such assertion.

Looking beyond

To be fair, there may be circumstances surrounding the behavior we are witnessing. That we have no knowledge of just like the Magpies who live in a complex social system & in a state of hypervigilence.

Please Note; I am not referring to any type of criminal or abusive behavior towards others here, that is never okay.

What I am highlighting is that in every person’s background there are a set of complex life experiences that have impacted them.

And where they’re at in dealing or not dealing with those complexities will influence their present behavior.

People are complex, some examples

Let us look at a few complexities;

The more introverted of us will become quickly overwhelmed by having to interact with a large group of people. This is also the case with those living with anxiety or mental health issues.

Retreating into the kitchen of the social setting to ‘help’ the host will often be a course of action taken. Where it’s much more comfortable with one on one social interaction then in the larger group.

Then there are those of us who are living with chronic health conditions. We run out of energy very quickly, more info here & need to leave a social situation much earlier then others.

All social situations take an enormous amount of physical & emotional energy to navigate.

Another example can be seen in those living with social phobias. They will become extremely stressed in social situations & may behave in ways that appear excessive because of their extreme discomfort. They may say things out of context or conversely be extremely quiet.

And those living with special abilities (aka special needs) also find it extremely difficult to navigate social situations.

  • But let’s applaud all for being present & joining in! We all need to be accepted & loved by our community.

We all need love & acceptance

I’m reminded that Jesus accepted & loved all those who were unique, especially those who were seen as different or eccentric to the societal norms of the day.

Let’s look at a few…

John the Baptist, Jesus’ first cousin was one eccentric guy who lived in the wilderness most of his adult life wearing animal skins, eating bugs & wasn’t afraid to confront the injustices of the day. But he paved the way for Jesus ministry.

Peter the apostle (aka Simon Peter) was a rugged fisherman. He was impetuous, defensive & at times even offensive in his behavior. Often saying things completely out of context. But Jesus chose Peter to build the early church.

Mary Magdalene was a woman who had a past with many issues in her life that made her different but she was one of the loyal followers of Jesus. Whom He appeared to first after His resurrection.

Love & acceptance changes lives

Love & acceptance changed these people lives, particularly the love & acceptance of Jesus.

Remembering while here on earth, Jesus highlighted the second commandment,

“Love your neighbor as yourself,”

Mark 12:31

He called it one of the most important commandments, only behind loving God with our whole being. That’s how important it is!

Who are our neighbors you may ask? Every man, woman & child upon this planet!

May we be mindful that every one of us are dealing with life’s complex issues in one form or another. And may we love & accept others with the love of Jesus. Who truly does change lives!

Until next time,

Jennifer

You’re most welcome to join me in The Reading Nook


© 2020 Jennifer M. Ross, teawithjennifer.blog, All Rights Reserved. Photos Refer 2 .

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18 thoughts on “Looking Beyond

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  1. My husband told me yesterday that on his walk he watched a large group of starlings washing, jumping and frolicking in a very large mud puddle. He said it was wonderful to see their joy at the rain finally coming. As for differences, I always relish them. Imagine if every one of us was the same! We would not think too highly of a God with so little imagination. Instead He creates each one of us once only!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a moving and complex post, Jennifer! You are so right – each one of us is unique and has our own baggage to carry. Luckily we have Jesus to help us carry that heavy load. “Love & acceptance changed these people’s lives, particularly the love & acceptance of Jesus.” What a beautiful line!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so true that we all need acceptance. We are so blessed that, even if the world doesn’t accept us, Jesus is waiting with arms wide open to accept anyone who will come to Him and accept His acceptance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post, Jennifer! It’s so important to remember that we often don’t know what people are really dealing with and when their behaviour seems odd or extreme there are often reasons behind it. Approaching people with love and acceptance makes a big difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer, first, those birds are beautiful! Secondly, thank you for the reminder that we each have value, regardless of whether or not we understand the whys behind another person’s actions. When we can learn to offer kindness and grace to those we don’t understand, we reflect our Savior. I so appreciate your wisdom in this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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