Always on the lookout for new and exciting discoveries on our wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary, my husband and I recently took a stroll around the property. Our neighbor had invited his artist friend to collect a dead dear off his property just a few days earlier, (a gorgeous 8 point buck that had died behind an abandoned trailer), and this news inspired us to also take a look around.
We were awe-struck with what we found, not to mention humbled, as our WILD life reminded us that LOSS of life is often required to sustain the CIRCLE of life.
We quietly and reverently observed the bones we found scattered inside and just beyond the outskirts of our property line: first we saw a leg, then a second leg, then the rib cage and head to what appeared to be a second deer – all picked perfectly clean.
As I took photographs, I celebrated the legacy this deer left behind and the sacrifice of it’s life for the prosperity of other wildlife. And I became deeply aware of all our habitat signifies – not only the grace of Creation but also the savage reality of survival, and I marveled at the beauty of both.
I shuddered. I recognized that sound.
It was so loud it made me jump right up out of my chair and I went running to the back porch to see if the worst had indeed happened. And it had. In spite of taking every precaution to avoid window collisions, underneath the window pane, on top of the chip bark below, lay the tragedy. The robin was beautiful. She took a few short and final breaths before flying off to bird heaven, and I shed a tear.
I always shed a tear when I lose one of the precious birds that comes to visit our sanctuary. After all, they are only responding to my beck and call. They can’t refuse an invitation to dine at our feeders or drink from our watering holes. And my husband has to remind me time and time again that with a habitat like ours, we’re likely to have some casualties. Logically, yes I know that. Emotionally, it still breaks my heart. And so I ALWAYS shed a tear.
“I’ll remove it for you when I get back from town,” he said as he left for his appointment.
I wondered… maybe removing the bird wasn’t the best idea. Maybe I need to let the circle of life play out a little bit. After all, our bird sanctuary is also a wildlife habitat, and I wondered what wildlife might benefit from our dearly departed. So, I did some research and discovered that there are many species of wildlife that will consume a bird that has already, shall we say, expired including:
- feral cats
- some squirrels and chipmunks
- carrion-eating bird species like crows, seagulls, vultures
- hawks and owls
I also discovered that most rodents are really omnivores, and will eat insects or meat whenever they can get it.
The reality of the freezing temperatures and scarce natural water sources swirled around in my mind. Winter can be harsh enough for the wildlife and so I decided to let come what may. I’ll leave the sweet girl where she is and trust that God will use her to provide for some other creature in need… one with a hearty and grateful appetite.