My bird feeders hang unmolested after two whole weeks and I’ve added the Audubon Birds of North America app to my phone, which is how I identified the brown-headed cowbirds here for breakfast today. Ornithologists call them an invasive species, which strikes me as a most generous description.
Brown-headed cowbirds are parasite brooders in that they neither build their own nests nor sit on their own eggs. They sneak into other birds’ nests to lay their eggs and fly away undetected. Occasionally the other mama will notice the eggs
The best sense I can make of it is that nature needs insect-eaters, but some of the best happen not to be good parents. Nature needs them to have babies but never raise them. Nature needs other birds to accept and raise these troublemakers alongside their own as best they can. I’m not sure it has a human parallel and yet it feels familiar in a way – the call to accept the unexpected, not judge how they’ve come into our lives, to receive them well simply because they are here. The Bible calls it hospitality. The gospel calls it grace. Without it, only God knows where any one of us would be.