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Shadow Boxing

Why do you pass judgment on your sibling? Or your, why do you despise your sibling? For we will all come before the judgment seat of God. ~Romans 14:10

When we think about birds and peace, the obvious first image is of a dove with an olive branch. This comes from the story of Noah and the dove bringing a branch back to the ark was a sign that the flood was finally receding. Funny thing, though, there was a good chance it was a Rock Pigeon or related species that was probably a dull gray and more like an urban nuisance than a divine harbinger. Of course, we should be slow to judge and even slower to project human behavior on our avian siblings.

Far and away the most common battling between birds is one of the reasons we find them so Birds on territory effectively compete in rap battles that never escalate into gang violence.

Yes, there is some fierce battling within and between bird species, that we might see as modeling our own aggressive behavior. There is one extremely clear difference, though. Human aggression all too often results in death, which is so rare among birds that when it happens it is likely by accident. A few years ago in Cleveland, two female Peregrine Falcons got in a battle over the prime nest location on Terminal Tower. The loser was decapitated! Experts agree that a Peregrine was certainly capable of literally biting off the head of a rival, but since that was not something previously reported, the suspected culprit was the nearby guy wire for a tall tower meeting the neck at an extreme speed.

For the most part, physical altercations between birds are brief and without serious injury. We could stand to learn a thing or two from birds about conflict resolution. Still, there is one area where the birds might learn from us. When a territorial male sees his own reflection he is prone to strike the image repeatedly, obviously causing self-injury wasting energy on a battle he can never win. At least humans are smart enough to know to stop beating ourselves up. Right?

Prayer: Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen


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