Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
- Genesis 1:26
Maybe it's that, or maybe it's something else, but I feel a responsibility to the birds. Dominion, by its definition means sovereignty, and as such, imparts us with a responsibility to the animals the cohabit this Earth with us.
Maybe it's the idea that we are all born to a place, and with some of us, it is impossible to leave that place. The birds were here first, and as such, they have prominence over those of us who built houses on top of their houses. We chased them from their place and forced them to live in our place.
Maybe that's too simple.
I have had a bird feeder outside my tiny condo ever since I have lived here, which is now going on its twenty-third year. The past few winters have been kind to my aviary friends, but this year, not so much. Snow cover makes it difficult for them to find food, so - to me - and my dominion, I believe that falls on me to find food for them. It's pretty easy, really. All I have to do is walk to the grocery store and find bags of food for them. If they had the ability to purchase food, I'm sure they would. They cannot, so it falls on those of us (me) with dominion.
Whatever the reason, it gives me great pleasure to see the finches, sparrows and the ground-feeding doves feasting on the fruits of my labor. Maybe I put to fine a point on it, but I think they appreciate it.
Short story: My previous cat, the late, lamented Kitty, was sick. I knew he was sick because he didn't move from his spot and didn't touch his food for an entire day. I wanted to take him to the Veterinarian, but my ex-wife thought that "he'll be fine." I knew he wasn't "fine,"and told her, "If he could drive himself to the vet, he'd do it. But, he cannot, so it falls on us to do it for him." I took him, and he was given an antibiotic to cure his problem. In a couple of days, he was well and I knew that he wouldn't have been any better if we had left him to his own will. It all goes back to the "dominion over animals" part of the thing. We owe them.
So, here I am, spending good money to feed birds that I do not own nor control. However, I feel like it makes me a part of the giant circle of life, or whatever thing you want to assign to it. Suffice it to say, the birds have no control over where they are and are powerless to change it, so it falls on me (or you) to make their lives as pleasant as possible. It's part of our place here on Earth.
Or, maybe I just like birds.