Of robins and bears, instinct and reason

Guess what, Everyone! Two of my mama bird’s eggs hatched. There is just this squiggly mass of pinkish flesh with little tufts of feather at the bottom of the nest next to one unhatched blue egg. I wonder what it feels like to sit on that? I also wonder how she knows how long she can be off the little ones till it is too long. How does she know how many worms to get? I don’t think robins live long enough to watch another robin raise young so she’s operating on pure instinct. Quite amazing, if you ask me.

A really good description of instinct is found in the book Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. There is a moment when the smartest Neanderthal and the Cro-Magnon girl, who was adopted into the Neanderthal group, are working together and her mind races ahead of his at lightening speed. He can do no more than he’s always done for he’s at the limit of his ability. He operates on what he knows from inside in a repetitious way. He recognizes that she builds on what she is given and finds new ways to do things. It is a special gift that he does not have. We know it as intelligence, the ability to learn through observation and practice – as opposed to instinct, where inborn “memories” direct the animal as to what to do.

The robin makes me wonder how these memories get transferred from one generation to another because I do not get memory that way, at least I don’t think I do. What is it in the human that makes our memory different from animals or is it? Some people claim they have memories of another life, a kind of deja vu about certain places and things. I know I was in God’s mind before the world was made so I’ve existed, at least in the creator of the universe’s thoughts, for a long, long time. So far, though, I’ve only been given one physical body in which to dwell. I’ve often wondered why God chose to put me in the United States, make me with white skin and have me be born mid-20th century (Acts 17:26). Ann’s blog on Wednesday in the Walk with Him Wednesday community is so rich. She deals with this issue of placement and timing as she discusses those who were in a place to get hit by a tsunami or a tornado. Why wasn’t that me? She elaborates on this and tries to dispel the idea that somehow we earned His protection. I was stretched in many directions today in this community. I have much to think about.

God bless you!



2 comments on “Of robins and bears, instinct and reason

  1. My friend is raising a baby robin that was blown out of the nest by a raven or the gusty wind. She can’t find the family so is relying on maternal instincts and asking for intelligent info on how to help this wee one. It survived the night and is trying to ‘live’. We found empty eggshells yesterday in our field blown already from nests…It seems just like yesterday our fields were blankets of snow and now the birdsong and activity are joyous! God is amazing to place us where he does!

  2. Dear Susan,

    I googled to find out how long a robin’s lifespan was and I was saddened that 2 out of every 3 robins born this summer will not live beyond summer. Those who make it to adulthood can maximally expect to mother 2 times, most robins only live a little over a year on average. One site had recorded one robin as living 14 years, however.

    Has your friend gotten any advice on how to feed her peep? My mama bird and I don’t speak the same language or I’d ask her. I will watch to see what she does about feeding, though, and get back to you if I see something useful.

    Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day in the Lord,

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