This western bluebird looks peaceful enough in this picture, but it’s important to not be fooled by the appearances.
While many birds will have territorial disputes, most are settled relatively peaceably. Often the matter is settled based upon some display of courage. They might even have a sing off to determine who is going to maintain rights to the territory. But with western bluebirds, these gentle looking birds are some of the fiercest fighters in the avian world while defending their territory.
The battle between two males might well start in the trees, or even in the air, but likely will end on the ground with the winner standing over a defeated opponent. Not a dead opponent, but one that has been toppled by the other snatching his legs out from under him, and then pecked into submission.
This complete domination leaves no doubt as to who is the winner, but it also is likely to leave one or both of the contending birds injured. If you think about it, winning this battle is likely to leave the victor in such a condition as to guarantee losing the next battle.
If I draw a lesson from the very territorial western bluebird, it is believers should carefully pick our battles. There are indeed things within our doctrinal stand which are worth fighting for. But if your list is too big you will never have time to do anything but fight.
Once people begin to see you as someone who will fight for every little detail of practice and belief they will no longer take anything you are fighting for seriously, not even if it is the most important tenets of our faith.
Remember as children of God our defining factor is to be our love. The bluebirds fight each other to define their pecking order. Who is more important and who is less. But we believers are commanded to prefer others above ourselves. If we adopt the worldly way of doing it, we leave the Christian way behind.
Galatians 5:15 (HCSB) “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.”