Welcome to our community: Make yourself at home

It’s been a long journey.  I’m just a little bird, and I’ve travelled from far away, thousands of kilometers.  I’m tired and I’m lonely.  I’m looking for a safe place to bed down, meet others like me, and start afresh.  Can you help me?

bird houses

“Why, yes I can”, said a gentleman in my neighbourhood.  And so he did, building a backyard community of bird houses, a welcome mat for birds, at the end of their seasonal migration.

A community for birds

I took the photo above on a midday walk this week, a few minutes from my home.

I spoke with the homeowner, aka bird community organizer, and asked him a little about his hand-made backyard bird houses, and the occupants.

Apparently, its mostly sparrows that show up, and a few swallows.  Others, such as woodpeckers, also find some of the homes attractive, and stay.  Many of the birds build a nest in one of the bird houses, with young ones soon to follow.

As you can see, the bird houses come in many different colours and shapes.  To each his own.

The right size entrance hole can make certain species welcome while ensuring that larger birds don’t take over the house. Plexiglas holes are fitted around some of the houses to deter squirrels.  A safe bird house design helps keep nesting birds secure and sheltered.  Still, hawks sometimes loiter nearby, drawn to the community.  Beware.

After the nesting birds, and their new brood, have left, the houses are cleaned.

A community for humans

People, too, like to feel welcome when they arrive at a new community.   We like to feel that we have arrived at the right place.   In my local neighbourhood, there are many ways people say, “Welcome”.

And, just like the birders’ community:

  • Each of us is different.  We have our preferences.  A diverse and inclusive community respects those differences.
  • In our hierarchy of needs, not much happens without food and security.  A community that ensures those basic needs are being met is a true community.
  • Are there others like me, here?  Do we share similar interests? We often ask that as we face a new community.  We are drawn to those like and and those that like us.  Social animals we are.
  • Can I leave at any time?  Why sure.  We are glad you stayed as long as you did.  Your participation in our community is voluntary.  You are not locked in, here.
  • And, all the while we understand, especially in public communities, there may be those who are with negative intent.  We welcome the paradox of open community; opportunity and danger.  Life it is.  We are confident in the process that ensures everyone’s safety, and the health of the community, as a whole.

Spring arrives – are you ready?

In the northern hemisphere, Spring officially arrives this week.   How are you helping your community, no matter the type, prepare for the new arrivals?

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