Thoughts by Bonnie, May 2017

Thoughts by Bonnie, May 2017

May’s timetable will keep us busy. The landscape is beautiful—trees in bloom, various hues of thick, green grass and meadows blanketed with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush flowers. Mid-month on the 14th is Mother’s Day. Like many others, I will pay tribute to my mother remembering special times we shared, especially at the dinner table. My mother was a wonderful cook and baker, often called upon by town-folk to prepare one of her famous pecan pies for a family after they lost a loved one.

In May, we also welcome our feathered friends back to their habitat after spending the winter further south. I recently read an article in Birdwatching magazine about Cerulean Warblers that migrate from Columbia to their habitat in northwest Pennsylvania.

Last spring for the first time, researchers from the American Bird Conservancy were able to track their northern migration route. In early 2016, 19 males were outfitted with high-tech backpacks that capture light data. As a result, they know more about places that must be conserved to reverse the Cerulean Warbler’s decline, which has shrunk 70 percent over the past 50 years.

One of the birds outfitted, dubbed Elmer, left Columbia on March 20, 2016, traveling thousands of miles to Guatemala, spending three weeks fattening up before flying across the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike some birds, Elmer avoided gas and oil platforms, lit up to warn boats and aircraft. Birds become attracted to the light and circle around them for hours depleting energy needed to complete their journey.

Refueling in central Tennessee, Elmer by-passed the big cities and tall buildings which confuses migrating birds. He also avoided houses, windows, and free-roaming cats. Against all odds, Elmer arrived in May to his breeding grounds in northwest Pennsylvania, right on schedule. The first thing he did was fly to his namesake elm tree where he had nested the year before, and started to sing.

In today’s world, people use high technology to guide their route. I recall being with my daughter not long ago, and was taken aback when I heard a woman’s voice on the speaker (they call her Siri) telling us where to go— “turn here, turn there,” etc. I was impressed until our “guide” got us lost.

Isn’t it amazing how little birds like Elmer instinctively know where to go without the help of Siri?

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27​