Do you love birds?
The ancients believed that birds could bring us messages from the gods: whether a battle would be won or lost, or if plenty or famine would befall the city. Birds do bring us messages from the divine, but not necessarily those the ancients sought. Because of birds’ very different lineage; because they are made of different stuff than we; because of the powers that birds possess that we do not; and because, despite our deep differences, we can share much of a bird’s mental and emotional experience, birds bring us news far more important than our own personal, human lives. They bring us news about the larger and more wondrous life, about a world that we, with our merely human senses, have barely begun to perceive.
Birds teach us reverence – a virtue that, writes classicist and philosopher Paul Woodruff, ‘begins in a deep understanding of human limitations’. No beings show us our limitations better than do birds. When we see a bird in flight or let our hearts soar on the notes of its song, the mystery of the world wells up before us – a mystery we long to embrace rather than conquer.
From Birdology, by Sy Montgomery.
I’m no scientist. Nor do I travel the world to see birds.
I do love birds, though.
Guess I’m a birdologist …