Spring is here even if there is still snow on the ground.
In just over a month the weather will be getting warmer and the flowers will start to bloom. The leaves will be opening on the trees as the birds gather to sing early in the morning before the sun is up.
Typically we pay little attention to nature unless we train ourselves to notice the beauty God has created. How often have I just not noticed the birds singing?
When I was a little girl of about 5 and 6, my teenage sister tried to interest me in birds. She loved them and still goes out with her husband armed with a camera to ‘birdwatch.’ I never developed the same level of appreciation for them as she tried to instill in me. Shame.
So, why do birds sing?
If you Google ‘why do birds sing‘, you will find what scientist believe the reason is for birds singing early in the morning. I have no doubt they are right, though I do think there is another reason for their songs.
Why does the pileated woodpecker repeatedly tap out his beat on the trunk of a rotten tree? Why are birds singing so early when we have trouble pulling ourselves out of bed and maybe even are a bit grumpy as we grope for coffee to wake us up?
Why does the cardinal have such a delightfully clear song? You don’t even want to be up this early and it doesn’t even seem logical, and you wonder why the birds are already giving their happy chorus. You did know that their song is called the morning chorus?
Scientist would tell us that it is mostly males who are doing the singing because they are attracting females and protecting their territory from predictors. Birds do sing throughout the day but not as much as they do in the still of the morning before the sun is up.
This spring set your alarm and get outside in the early morning before dawn to hear the birds sing. These male birds are vigorous in their song to attract their female as they sing loudest in the predawn and also to tell other males to keep out!
Here is my question again: Why are these birds singing?
Why does any bird sing?
Is it only to attract females or scare off predators? Is it to please the ears of men?
Do birds sing because they want to express their sheer joy at being alive?
Psalm 148 gives what I believe to be the true reason.
“Praise ye the LORD….Praise ye the LORD….Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, AND FLYING FOWL.”
A bird sings to praise the Lord, his creator. If we aren’t going to praise the Lord, the birds (and the rocks) will cry out in praise of their creator!
I could learn so much from listening to birds early in the morning this spring and summer. They sing with gusto and with a vigor that I have never praised the Lord with. I have anxieties and worries that crowd out praise. This shouldn’t be.
I am going to start praising the Lord with my voice, not just in church where it is expected and appropriate to sing, but early in the morning when no one but God will hear me. True worship offered to God is when no one is watching. When there is no chance that we are performing in front of others. Just me and God.
How about you? Will you listen to the birds this spring and take a lesson from them and sing a song of praise to your God?