Even before first light I am aware that it is morning. The birdsong begins
slowly, gently, easing me into the day. Soon the air is filled with patterns of
sound, ever different, ever delightful, bringing a smile to start the day.
The birds that sing each morning are one of the treasures of Kaua’i.
Perhaps some take them for granted, having always lived with them. But if you
have ever lived where you do not hear birdsong, you come to realize what a
blessing we have by their presence.
So why am I writing about the
songbirds? Because for the last two weeks I have become increasingly upset by
what I am seeing each day as I drive to work. Dead birds.
Each day for the
past two weeks, I have taken note of the dead birds on the road … three,
four, five per day, just on the roads I am driving. How many more are lying
dead on all the other roads across the island? How many more are killed day by
day by day?
If this continues, how long before our morning song no longer
starts our day so beautifully? Today I saw a bird actually being hit and
killed, by a large truck barreling along.
Birds actually are very
cooperative about getting out of our way. If they are in the road, and they see
us coming, they will fly away. The problem is that sometimes we are traveling
so fast that by the time they see us, they don’t have time to clear the roadway
before we’re upon them.
The solution? Simple, actually. It would take only
about three seconds of your time to save a bird’s life. If you’re driving with
the awareness to watch out for birds, and you see one in your path, all it
takes is to let up on the gas pedal slightly for about three seconds.
don’t have to stop. You don’t have to swerve out of your lane. All you have to
do is slightly slow down for about three seconds, and that will give the bird
enough time to get out of your way.
Surely, in the course of your day,
three seconds on the way to or from work will not make a difference to you. It
will make a great deal of difference to the bird. For to the bird, it is the
difference between life and death.
The next time you are driving, just keep
a small corner of your mind watching out for the birds. And allow just a little
more space between you and the car in front of you, in case they too are
watching out for the birds.
Remember, just that slight slow down can make
all the difference. You may save a bird’s life today. And tomorrow morning,
when you hear all that joyful song greeting the day, singing welcome to the
sun, singing about the wonder of being alive, perhaps a part of that song will
be a “thank you” to you, from a bird who is still alive, thanks to your
awareness and consideration.
On behalf of the songbirds,