Ecclesiastical Bird Watching

The following is a summary of the annual report of the Ornithological Society of Ec­clesia.

Frank M. Wieskel, Minister of the Congregational Church oi Amherst, New Hampshire.

The following is a summary of the annual report of the Ornithological Society of Ec­clesia:

Ecclesiasticus Criticus: This is a rather com­mon species of bird that inhabits most parishes. It is a close cousin of the ruffled grouse because it is easily ruffled and makes grousing noises when disturbed. It rarely joins in the activity of the flock, but hops around on the edges and utters critical cries that sound something like: "Why did they do that?" or "They should do something about it." Sometimes it leaves the flock altogether, but sooner or later it turns up to utter its odd cries. Often it builds a well-feathered nest in the better part of the parish, and the other birds tend to respect it.

Backward-looking Dodo: Though this bird is an odd creature, it is not a rare species. It is prevalent in parishes over 25 years old, and large flocks are found in what is known as "historic" parishes. Its head is turned backwards most of the time—it wants to see where it has been. It is disturbed by change; when other birds start to build new nests, it gives great cries of alarm that sound like: "Things-are-not­what-they-used-to-be." It lays no eggs because this would change its life and cause it to look to the future. Some normal birds become Dodos when they reach a certain age. When there are too many of them, they can stop the normal growth of a whole flock.

Gregarious Conferencius: This bird is attrac­tive upon first sight. It likes to travel. It flits from flock to flock and its favorite haunt is the large bird conferences held throughout the country. It will often neglect its own nest and young to attend these gatherings, where it may chirp loudly about what it thinks, or thinks others should do. It becomes very enthusiastic about group action, but never really does any­thing because it is too busy going to another gathering. This bird usually develops a certain disdain for its original flock. It lives in the re­flected glory of the bigger birds who conduct flock gatherings. Its one wing is likely to be over-developed from continually patting other birds on the back and from shaking wings with bigger birds.

Statisticus Primus: This bird is distinguished by its great love for numbers of any kind. It likes to gather with big groups and count them over and over again. It can add and divide and get an average which it readily quotes. Its chief food is dry statistics, which it eats in huge amounts. It can be easily frightened by small numbers and has been known to go into a frenzy over the quotation: "Where two or three are gathered together . . ." It doesn't seem to care what the numbers are about as long as they are more and larger than last year. Recent increases in church attendance have given a great impetus to this species, and it flourishes especially in growing churches.

Loyalus Laborus: This bird provides basic structure in an otherwise flighty flock. Having no distinguishing call or feather markings, it is often mistaken for the common sparrow because of its humility and modesty. While the rest of the flock flits here and there and leaves for warmer climates, the Loyalus stays put and pecks away at whatever needs to be done. If attention is called to what it is doing it makes chirping noises, quickly distracts attention and disappears into the anonymity of the flock. Some ornithologists claim that under the right at­mospheric conditions and in the right light, this bird has a kind of golden aura around its head. Legend says that the ancestor of the Loyalus was among the birds that listened to the preaching of Saint Francis of Assisi.

From Christianity and Crisis, Feb. 3, 1958.

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Frank M. Wieskel, Minister of the Congregational Church oi Amherst, New Hampshire.

September 1958

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