The Barn Swallow – The Benefit of Competition

Jun 20, 2023

One morning on my way to work I happened upon a bird that had been hit by a car. Its little chick was by its side, still alive. I think that the little one had been pushed out of the nest to fly and mom was probably coaching it.

I stopped the car and grabbed the little bird, knowing mom had been killed and that the chick was ripe for any nearby cat to make a meal from.

At home I put the chick in a box, took a picture and went to work. I had many thoughts about the bird. Can I nurse it to adulthood? What will be required for such a small bird? Can someone help?

I jumped on the phone and called a number of bird sanctuaries in the area. After sharing the picture of the bird they told me that I had rescued a “Barn Swallow.”

Swalllows are protected species and only certified handlers are allowed to treat them. After more phone calls, I found one that was 50 miles away that would take the bird.

That night we drove up to visit the handler. We had a nice visit and I asked him what was it about his services that qualify him to rescue this type of bird.

He explained that he could keep the bird alive by feeding it and providing it the things it needs in his aviary. But he couldn’t teach the bird to live in the world unless he trained the bird to compete for food and shelter, just like his mother was trying to teach him.  Those are the skills the bird will learn before being released back into the wild.

There is a difference between being alive and living. The bird could be kept alive in the aviary and fed regularly. But he wouldn’t live the life we was born to experience.

Do you want to be alive or live? Often the path to living is harder than the path of just staying alive. But that’s where all the rewards are.

Are there things in your life that are holding you back from spreading your wings to become the true person you only you can be?