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Birds teach us about songs


Eurasian Wren singing (you can hear their song at the end of the article) Credit: Pieter van Marion/Flickr/Creative Commons

Eurasian Wren singing (you can hear their song at the end of the article) Credit: Pieter van Marion/Flickr/Creative Commons

Birds Sing at Certain Times

It is recognized that there is a time for the singing of birds and their songs communicate different messages.  King Solomon recognized this truth and even sang about it.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come…” (Song of Solomon 2:12).

It appears that the Psalmist realized the power in song when he wrote;

“I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33)

Singing at Dawn

The best time to hear bird songs is at dawn when birds all over the world demonstrate their greatest amount of singing activity.  With little wind and less disturbances, sound travels the best in the early morning.  Songs which are broadcast at dawn can be twenty times as effective as those broadcast at midday.

However, with so many variety of birds competing for the same audience, they have a remarkable knack of sharing the stage.

Mankind also is encouraged to worship the LORD in the early morning hours when there are less distractions from the busyness of life.

“O GOD, You are my God, early will I seek You…” (Psalm 63:1a)

“But I will sing of your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning:”
  (Psalm 59:16a)

Birds Sing to Attract Mates

Singing is the way male birds try to attract females onto their territory.  It is said that female birds will listen for a number of days to their male suitors and that in fact, they prefer to mate with males singing the most complex songs with the largest repertoire.

Hence the LORD is also singing over His people with a large repertoire.

“The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you in His love, He will rejoice over you with singing”. (Zephaniah 3:17)

And

“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7)

How much more should we, the Bride of Christ, respond to the love songs of Jesus and sing His words back to Him!

“Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
 Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day”. (Psalm 96:1-2).

And

“Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” (Psalm 119:54)

Birds can Distinguish Voices

Birds can distinguish their neighbors from strangers by individual differences in their songs. Like the Bird family, people who love Jesus Christ know the voice of their Shepherd.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

Songs of the Night

It is believed that a Nightingale may hold up to three hundred different love songs in his repertoire.  A Nightingale sings its beautiful songs from a high tree branch where they carry a long distance.  At night, when it is hard to see the singer and the audience, song is the reliable way to communicate one’s love to a lover.

Since sound travels in all directions and can penetrate through or around objects, a song in the night is the perfect way to communicate over a long distance.   In case of humans, singing at night in the dark is a way of telling our Savior Jesus, that we are in love with him.

“I call to remembrance my song in the night…” (Psalm 77:6a).
 “Let the saints be joyful in glory;

Let them sing aloud on their beds.” (Psalm 149:5).

“You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept,
  And gladness of heart, as when one goes with a flute, To come into the mountain of the LORD, To the Mighty One of Israel.” (Isaiah 30:29).

Singing Defends a Territory

Male birds can claim or defend a territory by singing into it.  These territorial songs carry over long distances and convey detailed information about the location and identity of the singer.  Protected habitations are necessary to attract a female and to breed off-spring.

Skylarks actually use song as a form of defense against predator birds.  Similarly, King Jehoshaphat of Judah instructed those who should sing to the LORD as they went before the army into battle with their enemy (read II Chronicles 20:14-30).

Singing within our Environment

Like humans whose native songs differ according to their languages and culture, it is recognized that the tunes bird sing are shaped by their environment.  A bird which lives in New York City’s Central Park will have a different tune than one on the island of Fiji.

In fact, it is known that different environments will cause birds to sing more or less. Like humans, birds will sometimes keep silent when they are being preyed upon.

“For there those who carried us away captive required of us a song, And those who plundered us required of us mirth, Saying, ‘Sing one of the songs of Zion!”
 How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:3- 4).

I live in a well-treed neighborhood in which hundreds of birds make their habitation.  A few summers ago, I found it unusual that the birds weren’t singing around my house. I soon realized that I had not been singing much either in the past weeks.

That night I determined to worship the LORD and spent an hour singing and playing the piano. The next morning as I opened my front door, I was startled by the hundreds of birds eating worms in my yard.

The birds had returned! I believe they were attracted back by the Song of the LORD. And to this day they continue singing!

“And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
 For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name.”
 (Romans 15:9)

(Note: Much of the information on Bird Song is found @  http://www.pbs.org/lifeofbirds/)

Below — Eurasian Wren singing:

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