The Fate of Feathers in the Hands of the Faithful.


     “He’s got the birds and the bees in his hands!”

So sang the soloist while the offering plates were being passed Sunday morning. I’d never heard that particular verse to the old spiritual and found the thought very moving.

Like so many people, I’ve had memorable and inspiring moments thanks to the sight or the song of a bird.I remember a few years ago on Thanksgiving Day as we were sitting down to give thanks before enjoying a huge feast.

Suddenly about 20-30 birds we had never seen before landed on our weeping cherry trees and had their own Thanksgiving feast. What joy it was to watch and then to identify them as cedar waxwings, the one and only time we’ve had them in our backyard.

Every year now at Thanksgiving we wonder “Will those beautiful birds return?”

Unfortunately a similar question may be on the lips of millions because a slow motion catastrophe involving many beloved bird species is now in process.

The Audubon Society released a study last month stating that 314 North American bird species (more than half) are threatened by global warming. This number includes the Bald Eagle and dozens of iconic birds like the Common Loon, Baltimore Oriole and Brown Pelican, according to the study. (

What will our children’s world be like with so many birds gone?

The Audubon Society says there is hope but bird lovers must get busy now working to preserve and protect these beautiful and inspiring creatures.

Poet Emily Dickinson famously wrote: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.”

Audubon Society President and Ceo, David Yarnold says: “ WE are what hope looks like to a bird.”

He expands on that by exhorting bird lovers to get busy promoting clean energy, changing the plants in their backyards, working at the community and state level to protect the places birds will need to survive.

That brings to mind a saying familiar in faith circles: “God has no hands on Earth but ours.”

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