The Birds of Christmas

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Birds are symbolically rich in a vast number of ways, whether it be religion, literature, poetry, art, or any other cultural expression. Bird enthusiasts are quick to notice that this is especially true around the holidays. This time of year, wherever you look you are likely to find graceful doves, striking red cardinals, or gaudy peacocks incorporated in holiday decor. Birds are everywhere, and when I came across this blog post by 10,000 Birds, I really started to think about what birds symbolize to human beings.

The blog by 10,000 Birds is a great read. I’ve always sung along (like most, usually out of tradition over actual desire) to the The Twelve Days of Christmas, but I had never noticed how prominent birds are in the lyrics. In fact seven verses of the twelve are bird-related. For a few of the species mentioned, I wasn’t surprised at the interpretations behind them. Partridges and doves are long considered representative of themes of love and peace. But the “five golden rings” referencing Ring-necked pheasants was a surprise. Who would have thought that even when the song isn’t referencing birds, it is still referencing birds?

This lead me to think about how important these creatures are to our culture. Clearly, birds mean more to us than just another animal. They show us freedom and peace, they remind us to be carefree, and they astound us with their grace and love. For me, and hopefully for others too, this is a reassurance that birds deserve our help in protecting them. They are not merely animals, but representations of hope, happiness and prosperity. It’s no surprise, then, that at Christmas time these are all especially true. It’s why we decorate our trees with their images, see them printed on holiday cards, and hear about them in song.

For many, the holidays are the happiest time of the year. It’s also the time of the bird. Their beauty drives so much inspiration, including our inspiration for their protection. I’ve never appreciated birds as much as I do now, and every shining holiday trinket affirms my belief that they are incredible creatures with incredible significance.

May your holiday season be filled with peace, joy, love, and birds that find you!

by Brittany Webb, Pandemonium Aviaries Intern