Lipperty-lipperty-lip scampered Peter Rabbit behind the tumble-down stone wall along one side of the Old Orchard. It was early in the morning, very early in the morning. In fact, jolly, bright Mr. Sun had hardly begun his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. It was nothing unusual for Peter to see jolly Mr. Sun get up in the morning. It would be more unusual for Peter not to see him, for you know Peter is a great hand to stay out all night and not go back to the dear Old Briar-patch, where his home is, until the hour when most folks are just getting out of bed.
Peter had been out all night this time, but he wasn’t sleepy, not the least teeny, weeny bit. You see, sweet Mistress Spring had arrived, and there was so much happening on every side, and Peter was so afraid he would miss something, that he wouldn’t have slept at all if he could have helped it. Peter had come over to the Old Orchard so early this morning to see if there had been any new arrivals the day before.
“Birds are funny creatures,” said Peter, as he hopped over a low place in the old stone wall and was fairly in the Old Orchard.
“Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut!” cried a rather sharp scolding voice. “Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut! You don’t know what you are talking about, Peter Rabbit. They are not funny creatures at all. They are the most sensible folks in all the wide world.”
Peter cut a long hop short right in the middle, to sit up with shining eyes. “Oh, Jenny Wren, I’m so glad to see you! When did you arrive?” he cried.
“Mr. Wren and I have just arrived, and thank goodness we are here at last,” replied Jenny Wren, fussing about, as only she can, in a branch above Peter. “I never was more thankful in my life to see a place than
I am right this minute to see the Old Orchard once more. It seems ages and ages since we left it.”
“Well, if you are so fond of it what did you leave it for?” demanded Peter. “It is just as I said before—you birds are funny creatures. You never stay put; at least a lot of you don’t. Sammy Jay and Tommy Tit the Chickadee and Drummer the Woodpecker and a few others have a little sense; they don’t go off on long, foolish journeys. But the rest of you—”
“Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut!” interrupted Jenny Wren. “You don’t know what you are talking about, and no one sounds so silly as one who tries to talk about something he knows nothing about.”
Peter chuckled. “That tongue of yours is just as sharp as ever,” said he. “But just the same it is good to hear it. We certainly would miss it. I was beginning to be a little worried for fear something might have happened to you so that you wouldn’t be back here this summer. You know me well enough, Jenny Wren, to know that you can’t hurt me with your tongue, sharp as it is, so you may as well save your breath to tell me a few things I want to know. Now if you are as fond of the Old Orchard as you pretend to be, why did you ever leave it?”
Jenny Wren’s bright eyes snapped. “Why do you eat?” she asked tartly.
“Because I’m hungry,” replied Peter promptly.
“What would you eat if there were nothing to eat?” snapped Jenny.
“That’s a silly question,” retorted Peter.
“No more silly than asking me why I leave the Old Orchard,” replied Jenny. “Do give us birds credit for a little common sense, Peter. We can’t live without eating any more than you can, and in winter there is no food at all here for most of us, so we go where there is food. Those who are lucky enough to eat the kinds of food that can be found here in winter stay here. They are lucky. That’s what they are—lucky. Still—” Jenny Wren paused.
“Still what?” prompted Peter.
“I wonder sometimes if you folks who are at home all the time know just what a blessed place home is,” replied Jenny. “It is only six months since we went south, but I said it seems ages, and it does. The best part of going away is coming home. I don’t care if that does sound rather mixed; it is true just the same. It isn’t home down there in the sunny South, even if we do spend as much time there as we do here. THIS is home, and there’s no place like it! What’s that, Mr. Wren? I haven’t seen all the Great World? Perhaps I haven’t, but I’ve seen enough of it, let me tell you that! Anyone who travels a thousand miles twice a year as we do has a right to express an opinion, especially if they have used their eyes as I have mine. There is no place like home, and you needn’t try to tease me by pretending that there is. My dear, I know you; you are just as tickled to be back here as I am.”
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian
“He sings as if he were,” said Peter, for all the time Mr. Wren was singing with all his might.
Jenny Wren looked over at Mr. Wren fondly. “Isn’t he a dear to sing to me like that? And isn’t it a perfectly beautiful spring song?” said she. Then, without waiting for Peter to reply, her tongue rattled on. “I do wish he would be careful. Sometimes I am afraid he will overdo. Just look at him now! He is singing so hard that he is shaking all over. He always is that way. There is one thing true about us Wrens, and this is that when we do things we do them with all our might. When we work we work with all our might. When Mr. Wren sings he sings with all his might.”
“And, when you scold you scold with all your might,” interrupted Peter mischievously.
Jenny Wren opened her mouth for a sharp reply, but laughed instead. “I suppose I do scold a good deal,” said she, “but if I didn’t goodness knows who wouldn’t impose on us. I can’t bear to be imposed on.”
“Did you have a pleasant journey up from the sunny South?” asked Peter.
“Fairly pleasant,” replied Jenny. “We took it rather easily, Some birds hurry right through without stopping, but I should think they would be tired to death when they arrive. We rest whenever we are tired, and just follow along behind Mistress Spring, keeping far enough behind so that if she has to turn back we will not get caught by Jack Frost. It gives us time to get our new suits on the way. You know everybody expects you to have new things when you return home. How do you like my new suit, Peter?” Jenny bobbed and twisted and turned to show it off. It was plain to see that she was very proud of it.
“Very much,” replied Peter. “I am very fond of brown. Brown and gray are my favorite colors.” You know Peter’s own coat is brown and gray.
“That is one of the most sensible things I have heard you say,” chattered Jenny Wren. “The more I see of bright colors the better I like brown. It always is in good taste. It goes well with almost everything. It is neat and it is useful. If there is need of getting out of sight in a hurry you can do it if you wear brown. But if you wear bright colors it isn’t so easy. I never envy anybody who happens to have brighter clothes than mine. I’ve seen dreadful things happen all because of wearing bright colors.”
“What?” demanded Peter.
“I’d rather not talk about them,” declared Jenny in a very emphatic way. “‘Way down where we spent the winter some of the feathered folks who live there all the year round wear the brightest and most beautiful suits I’ve ever seen. They are simply gorgeous. But I’ve noticed that in times of danger these are the folks dreadful things happen to. You see they simply can’t get out of sight. For my part I would far rather be simply and neatly dressed and feel safe than to wear wonderful clothes and never know a minute’s peace. Why, there are some families I know of which, because of their beautiful suits, have been so hunted by men that hardly any are left. But gracious, Peter Rabbit, I can’t sit here all day talking to you! I must find out who else has arrived in the Old Orchard and must look my old house over to see if it is fit to live in.”
Why did Jenny and Peter Wren leave? Do you know what that is called?
How far did they travel?
What color are they and why does Jenny like it?
What kind of tongue did Jenny have? How is your tongue?
Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)
Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? (Job 39:26 ESV)
Job was being asked by the Lord if he knew how and why the Hawk knows that it needs to go south for the winter. The Lord is smarter than we are and when He created the birds, He gave them instincts (knowledge) to do certain tasks. He put within the Hawks and other birds that migrate (travel to other areas) the knowledge of when and where to go.
Why do they migrate? There are various reasons why they travel, many great distances, for the winter or summer. The weather turns cold in the northern part of the world (northern hemisphere) in the winter and many birds cannot survive in really cold weather. In the summer, those birds go back north, because it gets cold down where they spent the winter. (The seasons are reversed in the northern and southern hemispheres.) So, some birds just keep going north and south each year so they can live in warm weather.
Other birds move around or migrate because their food supply ends and they go to the next area to be able to feed themselves. The Lord promised the birds and animals to provide for them, but He does not “spoon-feed” them. They have to go where He has provided for them.
And to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the ground–to everything in which there is the breath of life–I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. (Genesis 1:30 AMP)
A tree in Daniel has this promise given about it:
Its leaves were fair and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The living creatures of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches; and all flesh was fed from it. (Daniel 4:12 AMP)
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matthew 6:26 AMP)
Those are very good promises by the Lord, the Creator, that He will provide for them. That last verse also gives you and I the promise that He will also provide for us, because we are worth more. He loves us and has given us much more. See The Wordless Birds.
Once there were two birds who lived in Portland, Oregon. Their names were Belinda and Steven and they were pigeons (a.k.a. Rock Doves).
Belinda and Steven lived on top of a stop-and-go light in the middle of a busy street where they had built their nest. They loved the city life so they didn’t mind all of the cars driving by, especially when they honked. They also didn’t mind all of the headlights that lit up the streets at night. Every day, Steven would fly through the city to search for food. And every day lots of cars would drive by.
As December drew near, it started to get colder. Eventually, snow started to fall. The more snow fell, the colder it became.
Belinda and Steven decided it was time for them to fly down south for the winter. They would spend Christmas down there just as they did every year. They both liked spending Christmas down where it was warm.
They started flying early the next morning because it was going to be a long journey to fly down south. As Belinda and Steven travelled, they were careful to not fly too high when they flew through the mountains because the tops of the mountains were cold and snowy. They flew past many mountains because Belinda and Steven were flying through the Rocky Mountains.
Eventually, after several hours, Belinda and Steven reached Death Valley. It was nice and warm there. But Death Valley was a little too warm for them. Fortunately there was a group of road runners that gave them directions to Arizona. Belinda and Steven were already in eastern California so it wasn’t that long of a flight to get there.
Belinda and Steven were able to fly to Arizona and made it there by Christmas Eve. It was nice and warm and the desert was filled with cactuses. Belinda and Steven decorated a cactus with some Christmas decorations they had brought with them so the cactus looked festive.
Together, Belinda and Steven had a wonderful Christmas, and they didn’t even mind that it would still be a long trip back to Oregon. They would have to come back to Arizona next year.
A week ago, we went to Lake Morton in Lakeland for half hour or so. Several of the Swans were sitting on nest and a Peking Duck or a White Mallard was working on her nest. She kept adding twigs and grass to the nest and then walked away.
Have you ever watched a bird build or work on a nest? They add the “walls” and a “floor” and some birds like Weavers, make a “roof” over their nest.
As I watched the bird working on her nest, it reminded me of what was going on at our house. As I mentioned last week, our house was in “disarray” while our “spare” bedroom and two other areas were being worked on. Many spare rooms become a collection of “stuff.” (At least our is)
Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 39:6 KJV)
This was a warning to the Israelites. We all know that there are good things put in “store.”
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:2 KJV)
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:19 KJV)
Back to our nest. This verse: “Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 NIV)
Another lesson we can learn from our birds. They do not load their nest with stuff. Some add colorful threads now and then, but there are no hat racks or closets with different feathers hanging. They do not have to decide what color feather they to wear today. No cooking utensils to worry about. No suitcase ready to pack when it become time to migrate. When it is time to go, they go.
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) with youngstersby Raymond Barlow
Must be a lesson there. I am a bit of a pack-rat and it has been interesting around here lately. Especially when all did not go as planned. A mix-up caused a delay, so the disarray has continued longer than expected. Now that the floor is finally completed, I am trying to de-clutter some as “things” are returned to the “spare” room. At least the computer is back up and running. Yeah!
Yep! The birds have the right idea. Lord bless you all as you face your challenges. Maybe the birds will have a hint to help you also.
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. March, 1897 No. 3
THE RETURN OF THE BIRDS.
“Everywhere the blue sky belongs to them and is their appointed rest, and their native country, and their own natural home which they enter unannounced as lords that are certainly expected, and yet there is a silent joy at their arrival.”
HE return of the birds to their real home in the North, where they build their nests and rear their young, is regarded by all genuine lovers of earth’s messengers of gladness and gayety as one of the most interesting and poetical of annual occurrences. The naturalist, who notes the very day of each arrival, in order that he may verify former observation or add to his material gathered for a new work, does not necessarily anticipate with greater pleasure this event than do many whose lives are brightened by the coming of the friends of their youth, who alone of early companions do not change. First of all—and ever the same delightful warbler—the Bluebird, who, in 1895, did not appear at all in many localities, though here in considerable numbers last year, betrays himself. “Did he come down out of the heaven on that bright March morning when he told us so softly and plaintively that, if we pleased, spring had come?” Sometimes he is here a little earlier, and must keep his courage up until the cold snap is over and the snow is gone. Not long after the Bluebird, comes the Robin, sometimes in March, but in most of the northern states April is the month of his arrival. With his first utterance the spell of winter is broken, and the remembrance of it afar off. Then appears the Woodpecker in great variety, the Flicker usually arriving first. He is always somebody’s old favorite, “announcing his arrival by a long, loud call, repeated from the dry branch of some tree, or a stake in the fence—a thoroughly melodious April sound.”
Few perhaps reflect upon the difficulties encountered by the birds themselves in their returning migrations. A voyager sometimes meets with many of our common birds far out at sea. Such wanderers, it is said, when suddenly overtaken by a fog, completely lose their sense of direction and become hopelessly lost. Humming birds, those delicately organized, glittering gems, are among the most common of the land species seen at sea.
The present season has been quite favorable to the protection of birds. A very competent observer says that not all of the birds migrated this winter. He recently visited a farm less than an hour’s ride from Chicago, where he found the old place, as he relates it, “chucked full of Robins, Blackbirds, and Woodpeckers,” and others unknown to him. From this he inferred they would have been in Florida had indications predicted a severe winter. The trees of the south parks of Chicago, and those in suburban places, have had, darting through their branches during the months of December and January, nearly as many members of the Woodpecker tribe as were found there during the mating season in May last.
Alas, that the Robin will visit us in diminished numbers in the approaching spring. He has not been so common for a year or two as he was formerly, for the reason that the Robins died by thousands of starvation, owing to the freezing of their food supply in Tennessee during the protracted cold weather in the winter of 1895. It is indeed sad that this good Samaritan among birds should be defenseless against the severity of Nature, the common mother of us all. Nevertheless the return of the birds, in myriads or in single pairs, will be welcomed more and more, year by year, as intelligent love and appreciation of them shall possess the popular mind.
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by S Slayton
Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)
This time of the year the birds head back north, at least in North America. Unfortunately they leave us here in Florida where some of them have been on their winter vacation. Birdwatching excitement slows down for us, but picks up for those of you who have been without your avian friends during the winter. Trust me, they are on the way. We have been out watching birds several times this last week or so and the winter birds have left or are packing their bags and folding up their lounge chairs. We are getting a few of the migrants that are passing through on their way north. They land to rest and feed, then off they go again. Keep your eyes alert, northern friends, the birds are coming.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for March 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.