Our little village is home to a large number of Rooks and Jackdaws.
Sometimes they come into the garden and strut around on our back lawn looking for tasty morsels. And I have to admit (very begrudgingly) that they are really quite bright birds. Not as bright as parrots of course, but still more intelligent than many other species. I know this to be true because of what I’ve seen.
There have been several occasions when I’ve glanced out of the window to see dozens of Rooks and Jackdaws flying around in a tight spiral shape, climbing higher and higher up into the sky. In fact, much higher than they would normally fly. Each time there must have been at least 100 individual birds taking part, all collectively forming a large rotating funnel shape, going up and up and up into the Heavens. So, being a bit of a parrot “Einstein”, I thought I’d better get to the bottom of this strange behaviour. And I did.
I came to realise that all of these Rooks and Jackdaws were taking evasive action because a terrifying new predator had turned up in the area. A Goshawk!
I used to think that the Sparrowhawks were bad enough, but a Goshawk is like a large Sparrowhawk on steroids! A Rook or a Jackdaw would make a very tasty breakfast for a bird like this. So, having spied the danger, they all come together to form one large moving shape which probably confuses the agile Goshawk. And not only that; Goshawks hunt for their prey low to the ground. The Rooks and Jackdaws know that the higher they climb, the safer they will be. And by all working together, they make it much less likely that any of their number will be harmed.
This reminded me of a story that a friend recently sent to me. Apparently, during the Second World War, there was only one Nazi-occupied country in Europe which was able to protect the majority of its citizens from the Holocaust. And that country was Denmark. When the Nazis ordered Danish Jews to wear the star of David on their clothes, almost all Danes took to the streets with stars sewn onto their clothes. Even the Danish Royal family did so in an act of solidarity with the Jews. So this made it very difficult for the Nazis to work out who was a Jew and who was not. And it bought enough time for the Danish resistance to smuggle out the majority of the Danish Jews to neutral Sweden. In the end, only 120 Danish Jews lost their lives, -a fraction of the numbers that died elsewhere.
The New Testament is full of scripture telling us that we should help and support one another, especially when somebody is suffering or in need. And I’m reminded of that pivotal question in Luke 10: 29: “And who ismy neighbour?”
Well, the Rooks and the Jackdaws all seem to know who their neighbour is. And the Danes certainly did during the war. But what about the rest of us today? Do we think of the hungry as our neighbours? Or the person that’s become homeless or who’s been bereaved? Are our neighbours the sick, the weak and the vulnerable? Or humans that live in poor countries where they can’t afford medical care or Covid vaccines?
Our world is so full of suffering and need, and so much of it could be sorted if humans only learnt to look out for one another and to come together as one…
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law ofChrist.” (Galatians 6:2)
“…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its partsshould have equal concern foreach other. If one part suffers, every partsuffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.”
(1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
About my book:
“The Random Thoughts of a Christian Parrot” is published in hardback, 176 pages in length, full colour throughout and featuring more than 100 photographs. The ISBN is 978-1-5272-9810-1 and copies cost £12.00. The book includes a Foreword written by the Bishop of Crediton plus a total of 83 reflections which can serve as your “parrot thought of the day.”
Copies are available from Amazon, some bookshops or direct from me! If ordering direct, please enclose a cheque for £12.00 made out to the “Oakmoor Group of Parishes” and send it to: Coco the Parrot, Parkstone, George Nympton Village, EX36 4JE, U.K. Postage and packing is free!
100% of proceeds will go towards funding the work of local North Devon parishes, and particularly a new Outdoor Church initiative located on the edge of Exmoor. My book will make a great Christmas present for friends and family!
This is what others have to say about my book:
“I grant you, a book by a feathered friend is novel, but with this parrot, faith finds its wings. It is intelligent, kind and spiritually perceptive – more than can be said for some religious functionaries. I wonder if dog collars come in parrot sizes?”
(Dave Tomlinson: Priest, author and broadcaster)
“The mix of humour, challenge, biblical text and photography along with the views of our perceptive parrot, make this book a unique reflection on our twenty-first century lives.”
(Right Reverend Jackie Searle: Bishop of Crediton)
“Sometimes human wisdom just isn’t enough. Standing or flying outside our messy, confusing, but glorious lives, Coco the parrot helps us to look afresh at the things that really matter and the ways we can re-connect with God’s love – so that we too can soar!”
(Giles King-Smith: Acting Archdeacon of Barnstaple)