Lessons from a finch

This morning while in my bathroom, attempting to comb down my well-slept upon hair, I heard a strange fluttery sound. I thought at first it was my husband, choosing his shirt from our tiny closet on the other side of the wall. This idea was negated when he walked past the bathroom and the sound continued.

I looked out the bathroom window to see what the commotion was. We have a large group of finches who spend the majority of their morning in our maple tree out in the back yard, and their cacaphony seemed louder than ever.

Imagine my surprise when I found one of the finches, apparently stuck to the window screen. The fluttery sound was the little guy attempting to fly away, with his feet firmly clamped around the mesh of the screen. Every few seconds, a couple of his flock-mates would come swooping near him, chirping and fluttering around him in encouragement, but the small bird didn’t budge.

Cooing words of encouragement to him, I gently touched his claws on my side of the screen, trying to determine where he was stuck. He responded by hopping along sideways. Hmm, I thought. He obviously isn’t stuck. By this time my daughter and husband had come into the bathroom to see what was going on. The finch hopped on the screen again, up a little higher but still apparently unable to fly away. He’d flutter his wings, but held tight to the screen. His friends continued their periodic swoop-and-chirp campaign, attempting to help him let go of the screen, but to no avail.

Birds are hard creatures to read. They have no facial expression to show how they feel, and I am completely unfamiliar with avian body language. However, I felt that this little guy was really and truly scared. After all, he could let go the screen, but he just didn’t. Even with the encouragement of his flock, he still held on there for dear life.

I put on some gloves and went outside to the back yard, leaving my family in the bathroom. I approached the little guy gently, touching his back in what I hoped was a soothing motion, all the while sending him a gentle swoosh of Reiki energy, to help him with his innate fear of all things human. Gently I wrapped my hand around his soft and tiny body and lifted him from the screen. In a flurry of feathers, he was away from me, chirping to his friends who had settled in my neighbor’s yard when they’d heard me come outside.

Just like that he was free. He could fly, his feet were not stuck in the screen. There was no physical reason that he couldn’t have let go the screen. Even with the encouragement of his peers, the little bird was scared to let go. Being perched vertically on the screen, I can only surmise that he was frightened to let go because of the strange angle and perhaps a fear of falling.

Drinking my coffee later on, and listening to the cacophony that is finches in the morning, I realized that we all need a little help and encouragement now and then. It’s so easy to hold on, to stay with what feels secure and familiar–even if it is slightly scary–because the unknown is always scarier than the known. We need to listen to our flockmates, take the plunge and find out that scared or not, we can soar after all.

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Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 8:01 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Wonderful! Your story so clearly illustrates the truth that, as you say, “because the unknown is always scarier than the known.”


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