Tag Archive | house finch

To Hug Or Not To Hug

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Floey being hugged by one of her best friends.

“Floey, did you see that story on the news last week? The one that said dogs don’t like to be hugged?”

“Yeah. I saw it, Mom.”

“Well, what did you think about the story? Do dogs like to be hugged, or not?”

“Mom, it’s not exactly a yes or no question. I love to cuddle. You know that.”

“I sure do, Floey. You’re the cuddliest dog I’ve ever known. Often when I’m sitting on the couch, you hop up right next to me and snuggle. I love to put my arms around you and give you a little squeeze, and you nuzzle me or try to squirm even closer to me. I love it that you’re such an affectionate dog.”

“I usually like to be close and snuggly with you and Mim. And when you and Mim are close together, I like to get in the middle to get hugs from both sides. That’s heaven. My whole world seems to be brimming with love during those times.”

“Oh, that’s good to hear. I thought maybe you were jealous.”

“Oh, no, Mom. Just feeling the love. But you know, sometimes I like to be all by myself. At those times, I’d prefer for you not to hug me. And I never want a complete stranger to hug me. I want to be free to move quickly if I feel I need to move. So, like I said, there’s not a yes or no answer to the question of to hug or not to hug.”

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Mim and Megabyte walking Mim’s mom about 20 years ago.

“I understand, Floey.”

“I know some of my dog friends don’t like anyone to hug them.”

“You know, Floey, your oldest step-sister, Megabyte, our first dog, was a very sweet,loving dog, but she didn’t like to be hugged at all. She loved to be petted, and she loved to play together, especially to catch tennis balls, but she didn’t like hugging. I guess it made her feel too confined and vulnerable.”

“I think that’s it, Mom. Some dogs just like to feel completely free to move at the tiniest glimpse of a potential threat. It doesn’t mean they’re not loving. It may mean they want to be totally free to protect their family.”

“Well, I’m awfully glad you’re a cuddler, Floey.”

“Hey, Mom, while we’re talking, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about. It’s about Mim.”

“Okay. What’s up?”

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Mim and Floey sitting together on the couch.

“I really love her as my second mom. You know that, don’t you?”

“Of course, I do.”

“Well, I don’t like to criticize, but I think she’s being awfully nasty to the Finch family that’s trying to move back into our yard. Mr. House Finch perches on the deck railing off and on throughout the day and sings to his heart’s content. Ann just loves watching and listening to him when she’s sitting in her easy chair next to the patio doors. And, Mrs. House Finch flies back and forth to and from the deck with little sticks and grasses to build her nest. Mean old Mim keeps opening and closing the awning to chase the Finches away. Then she goes out on the deck to pull down the nest that’s in progress and she sweeps all the nest building materials off the deck. That’s so mean! Mrs. Finch needs to get her nest built so that she can lay eggs. Doesn’t Mim understand that?”

“Oh, she understands that, Floey. And she really wants the Finches to stay in the neighborhood. It’s just that Mrs. Finch insists on building her nest under the metal cover of the retractable awning that goes out over the deck. Every time we push the button on the remote control to roll out the awning, the nest will be disturbed. If there are eggs in it, they will probably get broken. Or, if Mr. or Mrs. Finch is sitting in the nest, they might get hurt. Although the metal awning cover may seem like a good homesite to Mrs. Finch, it really isn’t. Mim is just trying to discourage her from building her nest there. Maybe she could build it under the deck flooring. Or in one of the trees next to the pond. Or even under the roof of the condo. Just not under the awning cover.”

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“Now I understand. I couldn’t believe how hard-hearted Mim was being. I felt so sorry for Mrs. Finch. What can we do to help Mrs. Finch understand?”

“The only thing Mim and I can think of is to move the awning in and out whenever we see her up there. But she still keeps trying. I hope she gives up soon and finds another homesite.”

“Maybe I could start barking whenever I see her flying up there with a beak full of grass and twigs. That might scare her away.”

“It might, Floey, but it might scare Mr. and Mrs. Finch away entirely. We don’t want that. The Finches are nice neighbors. They sing such a happy song when they’re sitting on the deck railing.”

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“Yeah. You’re right. Sometimes I wish all of God’s creatures spoke the same language. Wouldn’t that be great, Mom? Then we could communicate better with each other, avoid misunderstandings, and get along with each other better.”

“That sounds good, but think about it, Floey. Think of all the people in the world who speak the same language. Like Mr. Trump. Senator Cruz. Governor Kasich. Secretary Clinton. Senator Sanders. Do they really understand each other? Do they really get along with each other? Yet they speak the same language.”

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“I see your point, Mom. But it’s not hopeless, is it? You and I have learned how to communicate with each other. Like earlier today, when we were talking about hugs. You know what I like, and I know what you like. We want to make each other happy. We respect each other’s preferences, and we treat each other with kindness. Hey. Maybe that’s the secret for all of us getting along with each other. Kindness – your special word for this year.”

“You may be right, Floey. So, ‘mean, old Mim’ is really being kind to the Finches by removing their nest every time Mrs. Finch starts to build it in the awning. Mim doesn’t want her to waste her time building a nest where it won’t be safe. Mrs. Finch needs to get busy building her nest in a safe place so that she can start laying eggs. We’re telling her that the only way we know how.”

“Yeah. Maybe we can show even more kindness to the Finches by working with our other neighbors to be sure the bird feeders are kept full. Then the Finches will know they’ve chosen a friendly neighborhood for their family.”

“Good idea, Floey.”

“Hey, this is fun, Mom. How many ways do you think we can come up with to be kind to the Finches?”

“Let’s not stop with the Finches, Floey. Let’s think of all the way ways we can be kind to all our neighbors!”

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All God’s creatures understand kindness.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Birds

Phyllis and Fred H. Finch. Photo from www.allaboutbirds.org

Phyllis and Fred H. Finch.
Photo from http://www.allaboutbirds.org

This morning I overheard a conversation between Phyllis and Fred H. Finch in our back yard. I actually was listening for them specifically, because I felt bad about something Mim and I did yesterday, something that hurt them, I’m sure.

Fred H Finch often sings from the railing of our deck.

Fred H Finch often sings from the railing of our deck.

Fred often sits on the railing of our deck and sings beautiful songs. I love watching his bright red head and throat as he sings praises to God, totally engrossed in praising his Creator. A few weeks ago, his wife, the hard worker of the family, kept flying back and forth, building a nest in our retractable awning while Fred was singing. As soon as Mim and I saw what she was doing, we got out a ladder and one of those three-foot long grabbers, and pulled the nest down. We love having all the birds in our back yard, but we were afraid the nest in the awning would damage the mechanical parts that enable us to extend and retract the awning with a simple remote control. So, we wanted to discourage Phyllis from building their new home in our awning. Well, yesterday, Phyllis decided to try to build a nest in the awning again, and Mim and I got the ladder and the grabber out again, and pulled out the unfinished nest.

This morning Phyllis was perched on the back of the metal chair on the deck, whimpering. Fred flew up beside her and asked, “What’s wrong, sweetie?”

House Finch Pair 2“Oh, Fred, they did it again. I watched them from a distance yesterday, and I was pretty sure that’s what they were doing. Those two big wing-less monsters climbed up on a ladder, and with a long stick with a beak on the end, they pulled apart the brand new nest I was building. Oh, why did they do that? That awning is such a perfect foundation for our home. I’m almost ready to start laying eggs, and we need a home for our children. Now I need to start building our nest all over again. I prayed all night to the great Mother Hen that they really hadn’t destroyed our home again, but it didn’t do any good. Why does Mother Hen allow bad things to happen to good birds? I just can’t understand it.” Phyllis’ chirp returned to a whimper.

“I don’t know, Phyllis, I just don’t know. But I do know that Mother Hen still loves us and will see that our needs are met. In the Bible she said, ‘Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Mother feeds them.’ (Matthew 6:26)

“I know you’re right, Fred, but sometimes it’s hard to keep the faith when bad things like this happen.”

“Proof of Mother’s love can be seen all around us, Phyllis. Let’s go looking for another home site. I’m sure we can find one nearby. You probably shouldn’t try the awning again, but I’m sure we can find another good foundation if we look hard enough. And there are plenty of small twigs and grasses around to build a nice nest once we find the right spot. Mother Hen is good.”

Then the two house finches flew off the deck to search for a new home site. I hope they find one nearby so that Fred will keep coming to the deck to sing.

Mother Hen protecting her chicks

God’s love explained: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.” (Matthew 23:37)