This is not a riddle. It is not a trick question. What do a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), and White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis ) have in common? If you knew that being birds with feathers and all the bird characteristics was not the answer you will still find multiple answers.
Here are four.
First, a common life element for these birds is winter. All three live in blood and muscle freezing temperatures day and night; for months. Snowstorms, freezing rain even blizzards are a part of their winter. In this frozen world some do not survive. They become food and soil in the ecosystem. Yet, most remain active and very alive.
We can be grateful they respond to our attempts to provide them with food and water. This is the second common element for them. Each of these birds and their spring and summer mate benefits from food and water provided by those who walk upright and live in houses. We get to observe them and find joy and delight in them when we keep feeders and bird water basins filled. It could be truthfully stated that watching birds in winter is health giving.
That brings us to a third common element shared by these three birds. It thrills me. These three species and the many others who come to winter feeders reveal something else; the power and divine nature of God who created them. A bird, whether in winter or any other season is a living testimony of God. Paul, the Apostle wrote the book of Romans in the Bible. In the first chapter Paul, inspired by God’s Holy Spirit wrote these words, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20
Can we really see the power and divine nature of God in a bird? Yes. This is number four, when common is uncommon. Consider the proof: flight, eggs, feathers-in color, song, and migration-young birds fly to wintering areas, without their parents. This does not include how all three of these birds have built-in ways to survive a below zero winter night. There is nothing ordinary about a bird, whether it overwinters in place as these three, or migrates. We see them every day. We often consider things we can see regularly to be common, not important enough for another look. But, in truth, there is nothing common about them. The power and divine nature of God is present in each.
Three birds, three witnesses of God, the eternal, all-powerful Creator who loves you and me. Consider the birds of the air.