Some species of birds start to communicate even before they are hatched. A female quail, for instance, lays up to eight eggs, at the rate of one egg a day. If all the eggs developed at a uniform rate, they would hatch over an eight-day period. The mother would then face the difficult task of keeping track of active, week-old chicks while still incubating an unhatched egg. Instead, a clutch of eight quail chicks will all break out of their shells within a six-hour period. How is that possible? A key reason, researchers have suggested, is that quail embryos communicate with one another from inside the eggs and somehow orchestrate the almost simultaneous hatch.
When birds mature, it is usually the male of the species that sings. He does so particularly during mating season to mark his territory or to attract a mate. Each of the thousands of species of birds has its own language, so to speak, and this helps the females identify mates of their own species.
Birds sing mainly in the early morning and at sunset, and for good reason. There is less wind and background noise at those times. Researchers have discovered that the songs of birds carry up to 20 times better in the morning and in the evening than they do in the middle of the day.
While males are most often the singers, both males and females utter a variety of calls, or short bursts of sound, that have distinct meanings. Chaffinches, for instance, have a vocabulary of nine different calls. They utter one type of call to warn of a threat from the air—such as a patrolling bird of prey—but emit a different call to warn of a threat approaching from the ground.
The instinctive wisdom of birds is certainly impressive. But when it comes to communication skills, humans are much more impressive. God has made humans “wiser than even the flying creatures of the heavens,” says Job 35:11. Unique to humans is the ability to convey abstract, complex thoughts and ideas through sounds produced by the vocal cords or by gestures.
Unlike any other creatures, human babies seem to be programmed to learn complex languages. The online journal American Scientist says: “Toddlers manage to acquire language even when their parents don’t talk to them directly; deaf children will go so far as to invent their own sign languages if they are not exposed to sign at home.”
The ability to communicate our thoughts and emotions through speech or signs is truly a wonderful gift from God. Yet, an even greater gift given to humans is the ability to communicate with God through prayer. In fact, Jehovah God invites us to talk to him. “Do not be anxious over anything,” states God’s Word, the Bible, “but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.”—Philippians 4:6.
When we face difficult decisions, Jehovah wants us to draw on the vast store of wisdom he has had recorded in the Bible. He will also help us to know how to apply the advice we find there. “If any one of you is lacking in wisdom,” says the Bible writer James, “let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him.”—James 1:5.