“Most Endangered” a lesson in Tenacity and Grace

Lessons from Nature

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.


By Merrilyn Jaquiery

This is a true story of Tenacity, Grace and Salvation of one the most endangered birds in the world.

Her name was “Old Blue”. She was one of the last five remaining Black Robins in the world. “Old Blue”, named after her blue coloured leg band, was not much bigger than a sparrow, but her tenacity to see her species saved, gifted her with a life span of around thirteen years when the average life of a Black Robin is around eight. I call that favour, for it seemed her Creator God did not want to see the life of one his precious creations become extinct.

I had the privilege of working alongside the New Zealand Wildlife Service and one especially dedicated wildlife officer whose ground-breaking initiative named “The Foster Programme” helped save her species. The wildlife officers would initially take “Old Blue’s” seasonal first clutch of eggs and repositioned them into the nest of a Tom Tit.’ Both nests were similar in size, except the Tom Tits themselves were quite a bit smaller than the Black Robins. They didn’t seem to mind, they would religiously sit on the eggs as if they were their own until they hatched. Once hatched the little Tom Tits being great foster parents would be ever frantic catching bugs and grubs to feed their fast and larger growing adopted young. 

In the same season, “Old Blue” would produce her second clutch of eggs and this time she was left to raise them by herself.  

The wildlife officer over time formed a relationship of trust between himself and Old Blue, in fact he said, it was as if she knew instinctively he had come to help her. He would feed her and her mate “Old Yellow,” who was also named after his yellow leg band little white grubs. He’d put them on a log and they’d fly down to get them. “Old Yellow” himself was the last remaining fertile male on the block, and I’m now delighted to say there are many new kids on the block as I write this message. 

The Black Robins over time had become endangered through many factors (1) by introduced predators, (2) the loss of habitat, (3) and having to live in a hostile environment,

They were literally surviving in a 5hectre bush area on the remote Chatham Island of Little Mangere off the coast of New Zealand. 

I liken the wildlife officer who every year made the perilous journey across the Southern Ocean, then having to leap off a boat onto rocks that would scare anyone of us, for the Southern Oceans swell and depth of water beside the rocks would have been life threatening if you missed. Then once safely on the rock he had to turn around and climb a 60ft cliff to reach the Black Robin habitat. 

Not only that, but he also needed to spend a few months on the wind-swept Island. I liken him to a fearless evangelist, one who will go forth with tenacity to the ends of the earth not giving up, ever searching for a way to save the one. 

In the same example, I also see Jesus wanting to bring restoration and life to those who are endangered of being lost forever, as if they were the last one remaining on earth.

Jesus is the only One who can break the barriers of mistrust, just like the wildlife officer did between himself and the Black Robins. Ever patient, ever loving, Jesus too extends His hand of trust and grace. 

I liken the Wildlife Officers initiative and ground breaking “Foster Program” to the Church and the body of believers who foster those in need, to love one another, to foster encouragement, to edify, and to bring hope where there is none.                 

I liken the number of the remaining (5) Black Robins to the number of God’s Grace.

I liken the introduced predators to a foreign invader, they are those people who feed off the vulnerable and cause the desolation of someone’s life. In the case of the Black Robins they were the ships rats that came on the early vessels that discovered NZ. 

In my first paragraph, I wrote; ‘I believe, that God does not want to see the life of one of His precious creations become extinct’ (in other words, separation from Him outside of Eternal Life).  

In the Black Robins story, the wildlife officers were sent to save the Black Robins from becoming extinct. I liken this to God sending His Son Jesus to earth, so that we mankind, who are His precious creation and who are made in the very same image of Him, came, gave His life to save us all, for in Jesus’s own words He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3: 16) NKJV.

Today the NZ Chatham Island Black Robin is still on the endangered list, but not critically endangered. “Old Blue” was the mother, grandmother, and is the many a great grandmother of all of today’s Black Robins. In this true story, it was a combination of things that made this program successful. 

(1) It was the dedication of those who were assigned to the project, yes, it was their job as wildlife officers but in all truth, it was in their hearts to save something so precious. I know personally of the heartfelt love that the wildlife officers had for “Old Blue” and her offspring.

(2) It was the acceptance of “Old Blue” to re-adjust her life and trust in the one who had come to save her. And we too need to re-adjust our lives to trust in the One who is our Saviour Jesus. 

Wildlife along with nature is something that Jesus used in His teachings. The Parables of nature bought enlightenment to the multitudes of the lost.