Last Updated on May 20, 2016 by Stacy Averette

Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. If you’re ever on Jeopardy and you pick Ornithology this blog post won’t help much. But if you’re a parent or a teacher or you know some children, keep reading.

Research has also shown that most birds learn the song of their species at a very young age.

Parrot on a bench

 (Parakeets aren’t considered songbirds but isn’t he pretty!)

Those of us who are parents, teachers, aunts and uncles, know that children, too, learn the “song” (language) of their species at a very young age. We see how quickly they mimic our facial expressions and sounds. Nothing thrills us more than to hear “Momma” or “Daddy” for the first time.

Maddie with parrots

We go to great lengths to teach our children words and phrases and songs. We repeat them over and over and wait for anything that sounds like a response.

Caleb with bird

I don’t have little ones anymore and we’re well beyond the years when they’re learning how to talk. My job is done I think to myself. I check the box on my imaginary parenting to-do list and move on to the next big thing.


But in a study published in the Aug. 7, 2003, issue of Nature, the researchers show how songs that birds have learned to recognize, trigger responses in the bird’s brain. As birds learn to recognize certain songs, the cells in the brain become sensitive to particular sound patterns that occur in the learned songs.

The reminder that my children parrot more than the sounds of vowels and consonants is sobering as a parent. When they were two and four it was cute to hear them mimic certain words. Now I hear their words drip with meaning and belief, learned by listening to my life song.

The truth hits like a snowball to the back of the head. The season of teaching them how them to speak words has passed yet I am still blessed with the opportunity to teach them the heart language of a Christ follower. I must write my life-songs with scripture and testimony. These songs will trigger responses; sounds patterns to which their heart and mind become sensitive—a tune of faith with a chorus of praise.

This year we stand knee deep in change and dreams.

The days are full of disappointment and hope. They are listening. Waiting for my song.

3 at the zoo

The sun goes down and night comes and like the bird outside my window who sings even at night, I must sing. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I know that,  “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,’ Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.…”Psalm 139:11-13

With all this talk of singing I fear I may have mislead you. No one has ever accused me of being a songbird because I don’t sing in public. But just so you know I sound just like Adele or Kari Job or Natalie Grant. Not. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I sing anyway. I sing out in church and in the car and when I run. I don’t worry too much about how I sound. I just sing.

But how my heart sings….oh that matters to me a great deal. I want my little birds who are still in the nest and still learning and refining the songs of life to hear sweet music from my heart. I want them to hear joy in the sorrow, forgiveness in the pain, hope in the hard times. And I want them to hear it over and over and over again. I want to repeat the song of praise until they know it by heart. Until its the only tune they know.

My heart is tuned to sing his praise. Every stanza and chorus has been written by the One who made me. His rhythm marks my steps. His Word is my anthem. And so I sing.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Psalm 46:1-2


One thought on “I’ll take Ornithology for $1000”

  1. Wow, great message Stacy. I think that you might have been gifted by God in your writing 🙂 In fact, I don’t ‘think’ you have been gifted, I ‘know’ you have been gifted. And I must say, I’m a little bit okay with the fact that you can’t sing, your words not mine, because if you could sing and write?, well, that just wouldn’t seem fair now would it? Be blessed my Sister!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.