Bird-Friendly Churchby Bev Eckert on June 29, 2022
St. Margaret’s to be recognized as a bird-friendly church by the Arkansas Audubon Society
At each Sunday worship service during the Prayers of the People we offer an intercession that focuses on creation care. That prayer reads as follows: “Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory.” This is a call to action to each of us do our part to protect and defend the natural world. On May 7 as part of a diocesan wide effort for creation care, Rev. Ragan Sutterfield of Christ Church Little Rock and Dr. Dan Scheiman of Audubon Delta hosted a webinar to discuss how churches and individuals can care for creation by participating in the Arkansas Audubon Bird-friendly Yard Program. A review of the requirements for bird- friendly certification was undertaken by the Property Committee of the Vestry, and it was determined that our church meets many of the qualifications including maintenance of: (1) our woodland that provides native perennials, shrubs, trees, brush piles and snags that protect and shelter our feathered friends; (2) our bird-friendly pollinator garden and the fountain in the columbarium; and (3) the timers that regulate our lighting to reduce light pollution that will decrease bird strikes. We will also install a feeder that will be tended and cleaned regularly. We will receive a banner in recognition of our church’s qualification as bird-friendly, and it is our hope that learning about this effort will inspire individual church members to apply for bird-friendly certification for their own yards.In contemplating the astounding variety of birds in Arkansas I began to think about St. Francis who is often featured in images with a bird resting on his shoulder. I decided to pull out a book I have on my shelf about St. Francis whom we honor each year on the Sunday nearest his October 4 feast day when we bring our animals for blessing. A recitation of the following quote cited therein seemed a fitting conclusion to this article “We have forgotten how to be guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.” (Statement of 1972 Stockholm Environmental Conference). So go be a guest in your own yard and be renewed by the sights and sounds of the beautiful birds all around you.