Sunday Inspiration – Deep Love of Jesus

White-tailed Blue Flycatcher (Elminia albicauda) ©WikiC

White-tailed Blue Flycatcher (Elminia albicauda) ©WikiC

He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great. (Psalms 115:13 KJV)

Today we have nine families being presented. Why? Because they all have very few species in each group. To have enough photos for the slideshow, these were combined.
Bombycillidae – Waxwings – 3
Ptiliogonatidae – Silky-flycatchers – 4
Hypocoliidae – Hypocolius – 1
Dulidae – Palmchat – 1
Mohoidae – Oos – 5 Recently Extinct
Hylocitreidae – Hypocolius – 1
Stenostiridae – Fairy Flycatchers – 9
Nicatoridae – Nicators – 3
Panuridae – Bearded Reedling – 1

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) © Paul Higgins

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) © Paul Higgins

Waxwings are characterised by soft silky plumage. (Bombycilla, the genus name, is Vieillot’s attempt at Latin for “silktail”, translating the German name Seidenschwänze.) They have unique red tips to some of the wing feathers where the shafts extend beyond the barbs; in the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its common name

Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus) by Michael Woodruff

Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher (Ptilogonys caudatus) by Michael Woodruff

The silky-flycatchers are a small family, They were formerly lumped with waxwings and hypocolius in the family Bombycillidae, The family is named for their silky plumage and their aerial flycatching techniques, although they are unrelated to the Old World flycatchers (Muscicapidae) and the tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae).
They occur mainly in Central America from Panama to Mexico. They are related to waxwings, and like that group have soft silky plumage, usually gray or pale yellow in color. All species, with the exception of the black-and-yellow phainoptila, have small crests.

Grey Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus) by Nikhil Devasar

Grey Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus) by Nikhil Devasar

The Grey Hypocolius or simply Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus) is a small passerine bird species. It is the sole member of the genus Hypocolius and it is placed in a family of its own, the Hypocoliidae. This slender and long tailed bird is found in the dry semi-desert region of northern Africa, Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and western India. They fly in flocks and forage mainly on fruits, migrating south in winter.

Palmchat (Dulus dominicus) ©WikiC

Palmchat (Dulus dominicus) ©WikiC

The Palmchat (Dulus dominicus) is a small, long-tailed passerine bird, the only species in the genus Dulus and the family Dulidae. It is thought to be related to the waxwings, family Bombycillidae, and is sometimes classified with that group. The name reflects its strong association with palms for feeding, roosting and nesting. The Palmchat is the national bird of the Dominican Republic.

Kauai Oo (Moho braccatus) WikiC

Kauai Oo (Moho braccatus) WikiC

Mohoidae is a family of Hawaiian species of recently extinct, nectarivorous songbirds in the genera Moho (ʻŌʻōs) and Chaetoptila (Kioea). These now extinct birds form their own family, representing the only complete extinction of an entire avian family in modern times, when the disputed family Turnagridae is disregarded for being invalid.

Hylocitrea (Hylocitrea bonensis) ©Drawing WikiC

Hylocitrea (Hylocitrea bonensis) ©Drawing WikiC

The Hylocitrea (Hylocitrea bonensis), also known as the yellow-flanked whistler or olive-flanked whistler, is a species of bird that is endemic to montane forests on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Has traditionally been considered a member of the family Pachycephalidae, but recent genetic evidence suggests it should be placed in a monotypic subfamily of the family Bombycillidae, or even its own family, Hylocitreidae.

Fairy Flycatcher (Stenostira scita) ©WikiC

Fairy Flycatcher (Stenostira scita) ©WikiC

Stenostiridae, or the fairy flycatchers, are a family of small passerine birds proposed as a result of recent discoveries in molecular systematics. They are commonly referred to as stenostirid warblers. This new clade is named after the fairy flycatcher, a distinct species placed formerly in the Old World flycatchers. This is united with the “sylvioid flycatchers”: the genus Elminia (formerly placed in the Monarchinae) and the closely allied former Old World flycatcher genus Culicicapa, as well as one species formerly believed to be an aberrant fantail.

Eastern Nicator (Nicator gularis) ©WikiC Rainbirder

Eastern Nicator (Nicator gularis) ©WikiC Rainbirder

Nicator is a genus of songbird endemic to Africa. The genus contains three medium sized passerine birds. The name of the genus is derived from nikator, Greek for conqueror. Within the genus, the western and eastern nicators are considered to form a superspecies and are sometimes treated as the same species. The nicators occupy a wide range of forest and woodland habitats.

Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus biarmicus) by Peter Ericsson male

Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus biarmicus) by Peter Ericsson male

The bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus) is a small, reed-bed passerine bird. It is frequently known as the bearded tit, due to some similarities to the long-tailed tit, or the bearded parrotbill. The bearded reedling was placed with the parrotbills in the family Paradoxornithidae, after they were removed from the true tits in the family Paridae. However, according to more recent research, it is actually a unique songbird – no other living species seems to be particularly closely related to it. Thus, it seems that the monotypic family Panuridae must again be recognized. The bearded reedling is a species of temperate Europe and Asia.

(All data from Wikipedia)

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Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 KJV)

Listen to Megan Fee (Violin) and Jill Foster (Piano) as they play and watch the Lord’s beautiful avian creations.

“Oh The Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus” ~ Megan and Jill during communion.

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More Sunday Inspirations

Bombycillidae – Waxwings Family
Ptiliogonatidae – Silky-flycatchers Family
Hypocoliidae – Hypocolius Family
Dulidae – Palmchat Family
Mohoidae – Oos Family
Hylocitreidae – Hypocolius Family
Stenostiridae – Fairy Flycatchers Family
Nicatoridae – Nicators Family
Panuridae – Bearded Reedling Family

Gideon

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Orni-Theology and The Nest

Say’s Phoebe Nest and Nestling

While working on that last post, Say’s Phoebe and Nest, I got to thinking about that nest. Did you really look at it? Click the photo to enlarge it and really LOOK at it.

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

What do you see? All kinds of different material. There are weeds, pieces of paper, strings, lint, feathers, and even some “weed-eater” line (blue).

It is amazing what goes into a nest, yet it turns out to be quite comfortable for the baby birds. Each piece of “stuff,” though different, seems to blend together.

Our churches are the same way, or at least they should be. I Corinthians 12 has much to say about the body and the church.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV)

Scripture goes on to name different gifts, then says, “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:11-14 KJV)

Weed-eater Line

Weed-eater Line

Just as there are different things making up that nest, the Lord gives us a part to do in the church. Some are good at one thing and others another. That weed-eater line reminds me of those willing to mow and clear out the weeds around the church. Some like to sew things and could have provided the strings. Not all of us can be preachers, deacons or teachers, but the Lord has some talents He has given all of us. It is up to us to be willing to use it for Him.

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18-20 KJV)

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:27 KJV)

I think that nest looks a mite “rag-tag” from my point of view, but to that little bird, it is “home” and he seems quite comfortable. We are fortunate that we have a great church “home” at Faith Baptist and I trust you have a great church “home” also. No matter our age or abilities, there must be something the Lord would like you to do. Just be willing and pray for His leading.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

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Sunday Inspiration – Australian Robin and Friends

Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus) ©WikiC

Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus) ©WikiC

“The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, The Rock of my salvation! (2 Samuel 22:47 NKJV)

This week’s birds from their Creator include the Petroicidae – Australasian Robins, Picathartidae – RockfowlChaetopidae – Rockjumpers and the Eupetidae – Rail-babbler Families.

The Robins are all endemic to Australasia: New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and numerous Pacific Islands as far east as Samoa. For want of an accurate common name, the family is often called the Australasian robins. There are 46 members presently. They are not related to our American Robin.

Flame Robin by Ian

Flame Robin by Ian

Most species have a compact build with a large, rounded head, a short, straight bill, and rounded wingtips. They occupy a wide range of wooded habitats, from subalpine to tropical rainforest, and mangrove swamps to semi-arid scrubland. All are primarily insectivorous, although a few supplement their diet with seeds. Hunting is mostly by perch and pounce, a favoured tactic being to cling sideways onto a treetrunk and scan the ground below without moving.

They have long-term pair-bonds and small family groups. Most members practice cooperative breeding, with all family members helping defend a territory and feed nestlings. Nests are cup-shaped, usually constructed by the female, and often placed in a vertical fork of a tree or shrub. Many species are expert at adding moss, bark or lichen to the outside of the nest as camouflage, making it very difficult to spot, even when it is in a seemingly prominent location.

White-necked Rockfowl (Picathartes gymnocephalus) cc Ross@Texas

White-necked Rockfowl (Picathartes gymnocephalus) cc Ross@Texas

The White-necked and Grey-necked Rockfowls are the only members of the Picatharitidae family. They are also called “bald crows’ and are found in the rain-forests of tropical west and central Africa. They have unfeathered heads, and feed on insects and invertebrates picked from damp rocky areas. Both species are totally non-migratory, being dependent on a specialised rocky jungle habitat.

They are large (33–38 centimetres (13–15 in) long) passerines with crow-like black bills, long neck, tail and legs. They weigh between 200–250 grams (7.1–8.8 oz). The strong feet and grey legs are adapted to terrestrial movement, and the family progresses through the forest with long bounds on the ground. The wings are long but are seldom used for long flights. Rockfowl are generalized feeders, taking a wide range of invertebrate prey.

Drakensberg Rockjumper (Chaetops aurantius) by ©WikiC

He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. (Deuteronomy 32:4 NKJV)

The Rockjumpers are medium-sized insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Chaetops, which constitutes the entire family Chaetopidae. The two species, the Cape Rockjumper,, and the Drakensberg Rockjumper, are endemic residents of southern Africa. The Cape Rockjumper is a resident of the West Cape and SW East Cape, and the Orange-breasted (or Drakensberg) Rockjumper is distributed in the Lesotho highlands and areas surrounding this in South Africa. These are birds with mostly brown and red plumage. Both with long, white tipped black tails, black throats, broad white submoustachial lines, rufous or orange bellies and rumps and grey and black patterned backs and wings.[The iris is red and the bills and legs are black. Their wings are very small and they do not fly very often. They spend most of their lives running and jumping among rocks and grasses while hunting insects.

Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) by Peter Ericsson

Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) by Peter Ericsson

The Rail-babbler or Malaysian Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) is a strange, rail-like, brown and pied inhabitant of the floor of primary forest in the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra (the nominate subspecies macrocerus), as well as Borneo (ssp. borneensis), distantly related to African crow-like birds. Its population has greatly decreased, however, it is locally still common in logged forest or on hill-forest on slopes. The species is poorly known and rarely seen, in no small part due to its shyness.

(Most information from Wikipedia)

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“Hiding in the Shadow of the Rock” ~ © Dr. Richard Gregory (Used with permission)

Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:2 ESV)

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Cactus, Birds and Boots

Gila Woodpecker Hole Desert Mus-Tucson by Lee

Gila Woodpecker Hole Desert Mus-Tucson by Lee

Again, while at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, we learned more about the “Cactus Boot.” I was aware that Woodpeckers, especially the local Gila Woodpecker,  make their homes in cactus, especially Saguaro Cactus. I also knew that the cactus, to prevent loss of moisture, seals around the “wound”, a.k.a. nest cavity. Another way the Lord created the plants and birds to survive in the harsh conditions of a desert.

Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) Desert Mus-Tucson by Lee

Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) Desert Mus-Tucson by Lee

One of the docents gave a short lesson about the cactus and the Saguaro boot that was very interesting. First, notice the ribs or pleats on the cactus. These allow the cactus to expand during the rainy times to allow storage of water. Then as the dry seasons arrive, they will contract again. Wise creation design. The Anatomy section of the Cactaceae (cactus family) has a great explanation about this. “A fully hydrated large stem is more than 90 percent water and weighs 80 pounds per foot (120 kg per meter).”

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. … They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God. (Isaiah 35:1-2 NKJV)

Showing the ribs of a dead Saguaro and holes where the Woodpeckers had their boot.

Showing the ribs of a dead Saguaro and holes where the Woodpeckers had their boot.

“Near the center of the stem is a cylinder of 13 to 20 woody ribs running the length of the main stem and branching into the arms. In the upper part of a stem the ribs are separate; as the stem ages the ribs continue to grow and fuse into a latticed cylinder.”

Cactus Boot Lesson

Cactus Boot Lesson

When the Gila Woodpecker and other birds make the nest in the cactus, a hole is created, to the birds preference and then the cactus seals around that area. When they take these cavity nest out of old/dead cactus it looks like a “boot.”

Cactus Boot Desert Mus-Tuscon by Lee

Cactus Boot Desert Mus-Tuscon by Lee

The Gila woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) is a medium-sized woodpecker of the desert regions of the southwestern United States and western Mexico. In the U.S., they range through southeastern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. (Wiki)

PIC-Pici Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) Desert Mus-Tucson cr(11)

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20 NKJV)

Besides the Saguaros, they also make nest in mesquite trees. Their cavaties in the cacti are later used by other species, even the elf owl. They usually lay 3-5 white eggs.

Here are some photos of the Cactus, Birds and Boots:

Psalms 33:1-8 NKJV
(1) Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.
(2) Praise the LORD with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
(3) Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
(4) For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth.
(5) He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
(6) By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
(7) He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.
(8) Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

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Birds of the Bible – Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) by Lee

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) by Lee

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 NKJV)

After posting the photos of the Cactus Wrens (The Chase Begins…), I realized that you weren’t told much about these birds. After researching them; I decided they deserve to be a Birds of the Bible bird.

Why? Not because they are named specifically, but because of the way the Lord Jesus created these wrens to live in the desert environment and to survive there.

Cactus Wren Desert Mus-Tucson by Lee 37

Cactus Wren Desert Mus-Tucson by Lee 37

For one thing, they sort of blend in with their surroundings which helps protect them, camouflage. Hanging out in those spiked plants give them another great advantage.

Cactus Wren at nest ©WikiC by BigWheel55

Cactus Wren at nest ©WikiC by BigWheel55

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

One of the favorite places they like to make their nest is in the Cholla cactus. It is very spiny and keeps predators at bay. We saw several nests. An interesting thing about their nest show wisdom given them by the Creator. “Cactus wrens build nests that are the size and shape of a football with an opening at one end. They will construct this nest out of grasses and other annual plants, but can also include scraps of cloth and other woven fibers that they find. They will build this nest (and many others) usually in cholla, but also in palo verde, acacias, saguaros, or the hanging pot in your backyard.” (Fact Sheet)

Cholla Cactus by Lee

Cholla Cactus by Lee

Nest in a Cholla Cactus at Desert Museum by Lee

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, And makes us wiser than the birds of heaven?’ (Job 35:11 NKJV)

The nest always have a roof over them. “Domed with tunnel-shaped entrance, made of coarse grass or plant fibers. Lined with feathers.” They also make a perch or doorstep at the opening. They need the dome or roof to shield the hatchlings and themselves from the heat and sun of the day. At night, the feathers and other linings help preserve the body heat. As you may know, desert have large temperature swings each day. Sounds like wise advise for humans in a desert also.

They do have some predators. “Coachwhips and other whipsnakes are able to navigate their way through the cactus and often will take eggs or nestlings. Adult birds can be food for coyotes, hawks, fox, bobcats or domestic cats.” (Wikipedia)

“It is a bird of arid regions, and is often found around yucca, mesquite or saguaro; it nests in cactus plants, sometimes in a hole in a saguaro, sometimes where its nest will be protected by the prickly cactus spines of a cholla or leaves of a yucca.” (Wiki)

The thing that does reveal were they are is when they sing:

It is not the fanciest song, but they sound happy when they sing. I can’t sing well, but I enjoy singing. The Bible says were are to make a joyful noise.

“The Cactus Wren is the largest North American wren, at 18–23 cm (7.1–9.1 in) long. Unlike the smaller wrens, the cactus wren is easily seen. It has the loud voice characteristic of wrens. The cactus wren is much less shy than most of the family. Its marked white eyestripe, brown head, barred wings and tail, and spotted tail feathers make it easy to identify. Like most birds in its genus, it has a slightly curved bill. There is little sexual dimorphism.

The cactus wren primarily eats insects, including ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and wasps. Occasionally, it will take seeds, fruits, small reptiles and frogs. Foraging begins late in the morning and is versatile; the cactus wren will search under leaves and ground litter and overturn objects in search of insects, as well as feeding in the foliage and branches of larger vegetation. Increasing temperatures cause a shift in foraging behavior to shady and cooler microclimates, and activity slows during hot afternoon temperatures. Almost all water is obtained from food, and free-standing water is rarely used even when found” (Wikipedia) Another source mentioned that when the Gila Woodpecker pecks the cactus, it causes it to seep liquid. The Cactus Wren drinks this also for fluid. That is another great provision provided by their Creator.

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) by Lee

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) by Lee

The Cactus Wren has the honor of being the State Bird of Arizona.

INTERESTING FACTS: The cactus wren is very protective of its nesting area. They have been known to attack squirrels, other birds, and even people who have gotten too close to their nests. They are not as shy as other wrens and, in fact, have been known to fly into open windows of cars or homes out of curiosity. (50States.com)

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Sunday Inspiration – From Mud to Beauty

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)

After taking a break from the Song Birds, passerines, last week, we will continue presenting these lovely and interesting birds. So far, we have seen 54 families of the 125. Lord willing over the following weeks, the rest of them will be shown.

The families shown this week are some more of the Lord’s most interesting and colorful creations. Their beauty and variations are amazing.

The Australian Mudnesters are an ambitious family. As the family name implies, they construct their nest with mud, yet, they have different names. There are only two, the White-winged Chough and the Apostlebird.

White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanoramphos) in mud nest by Ian

White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanoramphos) in mud nest by Ian

Next are the two birds from the Melamampittas. The Lesser and Greater Melampitta.

Blue-capped Ifrita (Ifrita kowaldi) cc jerryoldenettle

Blue-capped Ifrita (Ifrita kowaldi) ©©jerryoldenettle

The Blue-capped Ifrita is the only member of the Ifritidae – Ifrita family. is a small insectivorous bird endemic to the rainforests of New Guinea. It measures up to 6.5 in/16.5 cm long and has yellowish brown plumage with a blue and black crown. The male has a white streak behind its eye, while the female’s is a dull yellow. It creeps on trunks and branches in search of insects.

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) at Lowry Park Zoo by Dan

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) by Dan

The Birds-of-paradise family has quite a reputation. The males put on quite a show while showing off for the female’s attention. The Paradisaeidae Family has 41 species. “The majority of species are found in New Guinea and its satellites, with a few in the Maluku Islands and eastern Australia. The members of this family are perhaps best known for the plumage of the males.” (Wikipedia) Not all the members are called Birds-of-paradise. There are Sicklebills, Parotias, Astrapia, Manucodes and a Paradise-crow also.

Because of their plumage/feathers several of their members are becoming endangered. We have seen them in zoos because of their protection and breeding programs.

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Colossians 3:10 KJV)

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“I Heard The Voice of Jesus” ~ By Sean Fielder from Faith (His pet African Grey was in the room.)

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Check out this Video of the Paradisaeidae family.

Gideon

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Here’s Seed for Thought

National Aviary - Outside feeder

National Aviary – Outside feeder

Here’s Seed for Thought

By James J. S. Johnson

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:11)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (1st Peter 1:23)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

God’s Word is like good seed – it transmits God’s very thoughts into new life.

If we have eyes to see it, the whole process of seed germination (in a sunflower, or in a human life) is a providential God-glorifying miracle, every time new life germinates.

Sunflowers for Bird Brains article by Dr James J S Johnson

Sunflowers  [public domain]

When I see sunflowers growing in farm-fields, or elsewhere, I often recall how God sometimes uses “accidental” plantings, caused by birds who occasionally drop sunflower seeds, thereby planting a new generation of bright yellow sunflowers.

To illustrate, consider this poem, written almost 20 years ago.

BACKYARD BIRDS AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS

( © AD1997 James J. S. Johnson, used by permission )

Seeing hungry backyard birds
I filled a tray with seeds;
Sparrows, juncos dined in “herds”,
and jays arrived to feed;
Even cardinals, flashing red:
they came, they saw, they fed.

Bills gulped! seed-hulls popped!
Some seeds spilled! some seeds dropped!
Overhead, as some bird flew,
sunflower seeds did fall;
From green vines, they later grew,
seedlings, green and small.

Then out popped golden faces
Coloring grassy spaces;
Like baby suns of yellow,
Grinning — saying “hello”!
On green stalks they climb,
aiming to greet the sky;
Seed-packed in their prime,
picked by birds gone by.

Thus reaps my yard what jays did sow,
New seeds, from old, sunflowers grow.

Watch I, and think on what God made
How He designed such “mutual aid”…
In my backyard, I must surmise:
The Lord, Who did this, He is wise!

This poem was written when I lived in Carrollton, Texas, where I grew sunflowers by our backyard’s western fence, with the help of blue jay “planters” – but, of course, God gave the increase (1st Corinthians 3:7). (Those were the days, now like a faded dream gone by, when I taught ornithology and avian conservation at Dallas Christian College.)

Ruby-throated on Sunflower ©©Frank Boston

Ruby-throated on Sunflower ©©Frank Boston

So, when you see bright-colored sunflowers — and the hungry birds who eat them, just remember this:  those same birds, or their parents, may have “accidently” planted the very seeds that germinated into the full-grown sunflowers that the birds now eat from!

Also, remember this also: God shows His wisdom and goodness, everywhere you look, — if you have the eyes to see it.

Furthermore, even more important, of course, is this: that “incorruptible seed” (to use the apostle Peter’s phrase) — that we call the Holy Bible – is the eternal Word of God, and He uses its truth to give us regenerated life in our Lord Jesus Christ!

><> JJSJ

Sparrows Eating From A Sunflower ©©Sagudino Flickr

Sparrows Eating From A Sunflower ©©Sagudino Flickr


Lee’s Addition:

Thanks again, Dr. Jim. Enjoyed your poem and the application. In fact, there is a stalk or two of corn growing under my feeder because of the birds. Had a Sunflower or two last summer growing under the feeders.

Oh, that we all would feast on His Word!

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©WikiC

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©WikiC

See:

Orni-Theology

James J.S. Johnson

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Changed From The Inside Out

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Sunday Inspiration – Crows and Jays

Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) by Dan

Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) by Dan

The Corvidae Family has 143 species, of which many are known to people around the world. A member of this family, the Raven is a well recognized Bird of the Bible. On our recent vacation, in Arizona we were able to see a wild Common Raven and a Stellar’s Jay for the first time. Was able to add these to my Life List of Birds on eBird.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) Wild SD Zoo Day by Lee

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) Wild SD Zoo Day by Lee

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) by Lee at Desert Museum AZ

Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) by Lee at Desert Museum AZ

The Corvidae Family not only has Crows, Ravens, and Jays, but the family also hosts; the Choughs, Treepies, Magpies, Bushcrow, Nutcrackers, Jackdaws, and the Rook.

“They are considered the most intelligent of the birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals, having demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (crows, rooks)—skills until recently regarded as solely the province of humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than in humans.

They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles, and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia, and Australia.” (Wikipedia)

Could this intelligent family of created birds from the Creator’s Hand be the reason the Raven was chosen by Noah?

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. (Genesis 8:6-7 KJV)

Enjoy these beautiful birds from their Creator:

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“Peace Medley” ~ by Faith Baptist Choir

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Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the Bible – Ravens

Corvidae – Crows, Jays Family

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Lord Help Us!

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©Crooks Bridge

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©Crooks Bridge

Supreme Court rules 5-4 that same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states

Our Country has just decided to leave God totally out of our country. When a nation turns from God’s Truth, the Lord will no longer bless us like in the past. Shame on our country.

“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 NKJV)

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Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV)

Swan Family ©USFWS

Swan Family ©USFWS

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
(Romans 1:17-32 NKJV)

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if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)

Sunday Inspiration – Monarchs

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

This Sunday we introduce you to the Monarchidae – Monarchs Family. This family of Passerines (songbirds) has 99 members that inhabit forest or woodland across sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Asia, Australasia and a number of Pacific islands. Only a few species migrate. Many species decorate their cup-shaped nests with lichen. Monarchids are small insectivorous songbirds with long tails.

The family is about equally divided between Monarchs and Flycatchers with a few other birds sprinkled in. Those other birds are Elepaio, Shrikebill, Magpie-lark and Torrent-lark. There are not many photos available to use, but if you click the different links on the Monarchidae – Monarchs Family page, you will taken to other sites to view those birds.

Pale-blue Monarch (Hypothymis puella) Female on nest ©WikiC

Pale-blue Monarch (Hypothymis puella) Female on nest ©WikiC

The monarch flycatchers are generally monogamous, with the pair bonds ranging from just a single season (as in the African paradise flycatcher) to life (the Elepaio). Only three species are known to engage in cooperative breeding; but many species are as yet unstudied. They are generally territorial, defending territories that are around 2 ha in size, but a few species may cluster their nesting sites closely together. The nests are in turn often aggressively defended by monarch flycatchers. In all species the nest is an open cup on a branch, fork or twig. In some species the nests can be highly conspicuous.

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Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)


“He’s Looking on You” ~ by Dr. Richard Gregory

Jesus more than qualifies to be The Monarch and is Rightfully sitting on the Throne of God. There He is “looking on us.”

A monarch is the sovereign head of state in a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the most and highest authority in the state or others may wield that power on behalf of the monarch. Typically a monarch either personally inherits the lawful right to exercise the state’s sovereign rights (often referred to as the throne or the crown) or is selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to provide the nation’s monarch. (Wikipedia)

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Vacation Bible School – 2015

Wednesday VBS2015 (19)

Opening Wednesday – Learning a Song

This year we are using Answers in Genesis’ Camp Kilimanjaro material for our Vacation Bible School. With over 200+ children signed up, we are staying busy. The theme is great and the lessons have been interesting so far.

A Lesson for the younger ones.

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Threatning to divide a baby – Solomon’s Wisdom

This year, as I have for several years, many of the photos posted to our VBS 2015 section of Facebook, were taken by me. This means that I have been busy this week. The photos posted to the site are just the tip of the iceberg. It takes time to sort through them and clean them up a tad.

Stephen stopping by for a cookie.

Dan decided not to do photos this year and has become part of the Kitchen Crew. I call them the Cookie Monster Crew. It takes a lot of cookies (2 apiece) to feed 200+ for 5 days. Plus, we have 85 workers stopping by to get their cookies and snacks. (I’d rather walk around and take photos.)

Dan in the Kitchen

All of this said, no work is being done on all the photos from our vacation this week. I did find a bird in one of the posters today. Think I’ll keep it to use on the blog from time to time.

Beware of Wild Animals

Beware of Wild Animals

That Cardinal doesn’t seem too dangerous.

Thanks for stopping by to see what sort of adventure is going on this week. Pray for us as we do the various task we all have to do and especially for those doing the teaching of the lessons. Pray that the children will see the truth in God’s Word and that some may come to know the Lord as their personal saviour.

Wednesday VBS2015 (95)

(Stephen and the Lord are the ones responsible for the beginning of Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures coming into existence. Fifth Blog Anniversary)

Facebook photos of VBS 2015

Gospel Message

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Sunday Inspiration – Fantails

Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) by Ian

Rufous Fantail by Ian

Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 41:16 KJV)

This week’s Inspiration comes from the Rhipiduridae – Fantails Family. You can see by Ian Montgomery’s photo above where their name came from. This family of birds has 50 species. All but three are Fantails. The other three are the Willie Wagtail, Silktail, and the Pygmy Drongo.

Fantails are small insectivorous birds of Australasia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent belonging to the genus Rhipidura in the family Rhipiduridae. Most of the species are about 15 to 18 cm long, specialist aerial feeders, and named as “fantails”, but the Australian willie wagtail, is a little larger, and though still an expert hunter of insects on the wing, concentrates equally on terrestrial prey.

Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) on Wallaby by Ian Montgomery

Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) on Wallaby by Ian

The willie (or willy) wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is a passerine bird native to Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Eastern Indonesia. It is a common and familiar bird throughout much of its range, living in most habitats apart from thick forest. Measuring 19–21.5 cm (7 128 12 in) in length, the willie wagtail is contrastingly coloured with almost entirely black upperparts and white underparts; the male and female have similar plumage.

Silktail (Lamprolia victoriae) ©WikiC

Silktail (Lamprolia victoriae) ©WikiC

The silktail (Lamprolia victoriae) is a species of bird endemic to Fiji. It is the only member of the genus Lamprolia. This beautiful bird looks superficially like a diminutive bird of paradise but it is actually closely related to the fantails.

The pygmy drongo or Papuan drongo (Chaetorhynchus papuensis) is a species of bird endemic to the island of New Guinea. It is the only species in the genus Chaetorhynchus. The species was long placed within the drongo family Dicruridae, but it differs from others in that family in having twelve rectrices instead of ten. Molecular analysis also supports moving the species out from the drongo family, instead placing it as a sister species to the Silktail of Fiji, and both those species in the fantail family Rhipiduridae. Some authorities reference the bird as the pygmy drongo-fantail. (Information from Wikipedia)

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For which cause I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6 LITV)

“So Send I You” – Men’s Quartet – Faith Baptist

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