Sunday Inspiration – “Star” Birds

Star-throated Antwren (Rhopias gularis) ©WikiC

Star-throated Antwren (Rhopias gularis) ©WikiC

Today’s Sunday Inspiration is spotlighting the “Star” birds while Pastor Jerry and Reagan Osborne sing “Day Star.” This was sung when Pastor Jerry retired from the Music Ministry.

The “star” birds have “star” in their names. This includes Hillstars, Redstarts, Starlings, Starfrontlets, and a Whitestart.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (2 Peter 1:19 KJV)

Believer’s Bible Commentary: “…The rising of the morning star (day star) pictures Christ’s coming for His saints. Thus the sense of the passage is that we should always keep the prophetic word before us, treasuring it in our hearts, for it will serve as a light in this dark world until the age is ended and Christ appears in the clouds to take His waiting people home to heaven.”

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“Day Star” ~ Pastor Jerry Smith and Reagan Osborne at Faith Baptist Church


Sunday Inspirations

Big Mighty God

Pastor Jerry Smith – Testimony

Good News


Ian’s Bird of the Week – European Goldfinch

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Female by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – European Goldfinch ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 1/21/15

Last week I mentioned that the Zebra Finch was an Estrildid or Grass Finch (family Estrildidae) without exploring the significance of this, so here is a taxonomically quite different finch, the European Goldfinch (family Fringillidae), to continue the subject. Choosing it was prompted by an email from some English friends of mine currently in New Zealand who expressed disappointment that most of the birds seemed to be ones introduced from the British Isles, naming in particular the Goldfinch. So here is a photo of one that I took in its native habitat, when staying with these friends in 2001 on Alderney one of the smaller inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of France.

It was introduced to Australia as well in the 1860s and is quite widespread in the southeastern mainland and on Tasmania. It’s an attractive bird with a canary-like song and like the Zebra Finch a popular cage bird. So it’s not surprising that homesick settlers introduced it. It does well in farmland, parks and gardens but not in native vegetation.

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Male by IanThe sex of adult Goldfinches can be told from their plumage, even though they are very similar and most field guides don’t make the distinction. It’s a bit like those Spot the Difference puzzles, so here, second photo, is an Irish male to compare with the female in the first. The pale cheeks on the female are buff, those on the male white. The red bib on the female is rounded, on the male more rectangular. The female usually has a complete buff breast band; the male just has buff breast patches separate by white. The male is also whiter underneath. There are other subtle differences not apparent in these photos such as the amount of white on the tail.

PAS-Frin European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Juvenile by IanYou can tell from their stout conical bills that they are seed-eaters, and any such vaguely sparrow-like bird is likely to be called a ‘finch’. In temperate zones seeds are available mainly in spring and autumn, so dietary versatility is needed. The male is chomping its way through the buds and flowers of Hawthorn and Goldfinches will also feed on invertebrates. Their favourite food is the seeds of thistles and their, by finch standards, relatively pointed bills are adapted to picking out seeds from among thorns, like the juvenile bird in the third photo in autumn. Its plumage, apart from the black and yellow wings, is mainly brown and streaked with no red or black on the head, and almost pipit-like.

The juveniles acquire the adult plumage during the first autumn moult, and the rather scruffy individual in the fourth photo is in mid-transition. This photo shows the very pointed bill, even if the owner is looking a bit doubtful about the even scruffier thistle head.

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Juvenile by IanGetting around to the taxonomy at last, the various groups of finch-like birds have caused and still cause avian taxonomists many headaches, and I don’t want to trigger any more here. It is sufficient to say that the approximately 700 global species of finch-like birds belong to several separate lineages, currently separated at the level of family.

The Fringillidae to which the Goldfinch belongs, sometimes called the ‘true’ finches (by the Europeans of course) have an almost global distribution but are completely absent, naturally, from Australasia. The Estrildidae, which include all the native Australian grass finches, occur only in Africa, southern and southeast Asia and Australasia (but not New Zealand).

The African members belong to a group called Waxbills, the Asian ones are mainly Munias or Mannikins and the grass finches are predominantly Australian. The Estrildids occur mainly in tropical or sub-tropical regions, and only in Australia have some Firetails ventured into cooler areas: notably the Red-eared Firetail in SW Western Australia and the Beautiful Firetail in the SE mainland and Tasmania.

I’m in danger of getting carried away here, so I’ll stop. Here are some links if you want to explore their photos further: FringillidaeEstrildidae and I haven’t even mentioned the other finch-like birds such as the Sparrows  Buntings and New World SparrowsNew World OriolesWeaversTanagersCardinals


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. (Genesis 7:14-15 NKJV)

More beautiful birds to check out from Ian. Thanks, Ian. If you check out his links, you will find some very nice photos.


Ian’s Bird of the Week


Babbler For Who?

Indian Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus horsfieldii) ©WikiC

Indian Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus horsfieldii) ©WikiC

bab·bler – ˈbab(ə)lər/ – noun

  • a person who babbles.
  • a thrushlike Old World songbird with a long tail, short rounded wings, and typically a loud discordant or musical voice.

While reading in Ecclesiastes recently, I saw the word “babbler.” Working on the Birds of the World lists, that word caught my attention. Ahh! Maybe I could write an article about the Babblers that I had seen in the list.

A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The babbler is no different. (Ecclesiastes 10:11 NKJV)

Chestnut-faced Babbler (Zosterornis whiteheadi) ©WikiC

Chestnut-faced Babbler (Zosterornis whiteheadi) ©WikiC

What I did not know is that there are seven families that have “Babbler” birds in them. There are Ground Babblers, Wren Babblers, Thrush-Babblers, Scimitar Babblers, Jewel-babblers, Hill Babblers, Tit-Babblers, a Rail-babblers and regular just plain Babblers.

Then checking for more verses on “babblers,” I found two more. The verse above and this one both have a sort of negative meaning to the word.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. (Proverbs 20:19 ESV)

There is one more verse that will come later. First, what is a Babbler of the bird kind?

Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) by Peter Ericsson

Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus) by Peter Ericsson

“The Old World babblers or timaliids are a large family of mostly Old World passerine birds. They are rather diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage. These are birds of tropical areas, with the greatest variety in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The timaliids are one of two unrelated groups of birds known as babblers, the other being the Australasian babblers of the family Pomatostomidae (also known as pseudo-babblers).

White-browed Babbler by Ian

White-browed Babbler by Ian (Australia)

Morphological diversity is rather high; most species resemble “warblers”, jays or thrushes. This group is among those Old World bird families with the highest number of species still being discovered.

Timaliids are small to medium birds. They have strong legs, and many are quite terrestrial. They typically have generalised bills, similar to those of a thrush or warbler, except for the scimitar babblers which, as their name implies, have strongly decurved bills. Most have predominantly brown plumage, with minimal difference between the sexes, but many more brightly coloured species also exist.

The systematics of Old World babblers have long been contested. During much of the 20th century, the family was used as a “wastebin taxon” for numerous hard-to-place Old World songbirds (such as Picathartidae or the wrentit). Ernst Hartert was only half-joking when he summarized this attitude with the statement that, in the passerines, (Wikipedia)

“Was man nicht unterbringen kann, sieht man als Timalien an.” (What one can’t place systematically is considered an Old World babbler)

They finally started trying to divide them into different groups and families. You will find those seven families below. Also, from the definition at the beginning, they are vocal with a “typically a loud discordant or musical voice.”

Nepal Wren-Babbler (Pnoepyga immaculata) by Nikhil Devasar

Nepal Wren-Babbler (Pnoepyga immaculata) by Nikhil Devasar

The last verse I found with “babbler” gives us a more positive emphasis. The Apostle Paul was in Athens and:

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” (Acts 17:16-20 NKJV)

Are we “babblers” for the Lord like Paul? When people listen to us (or read what we write), do they hear a loud “discordant sound” or a clear “musical note”? We have no control how the words are heard. Some may consider the Words of Jesus as just another belief system in the world, while others will hear the Words as joy to their souls. We are told to tell others about Christ. So, Who do we “Babble” for?

Eupetidae – Rail-babbler – 1

Pellorneidae – Fulvettas, Ground Babblers – 40+ Wren Babblers, Thrush-Babbler, Scimitar Babbler, Babblers

Pnoepygidae – Wren-babblers – 5 Wren-babblers

Pomatostomidae – Australasian Babblers – 5 Babblers

Psophodidae – Whipbirds, Jewel-babblers and Quail-thrushes – 4 Jewel-babblers

Sylviidae – Sylviid Babblers – 6 Hill Babblers, Thrush-Babblers, and Babblers

Timaliidae – Babblers – 55 Scimitar Babblers, Wren-Babblers, Tit-Babblers and Babblers


Sharing The Gospel


Birds, But No Birdwatching

First Birds of 2015 - 1 BT Grackle

First Birds of 2015 – 1 Boat-tailed Grackle

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? (Luke 12:24 NKJV)

Well, we are over half way through January of 2015 and we still haven’t “gone” on a birdwatching trip. I have been seeing birds in my yard and neighborhood and on short trips to the doctor, store, or church. These have all been occasional sightings. Haven’t even kept a list, except in my head.

As I have visited some of your sites and others, your 2015 list of birds is becoming quite impressive, at least for some of you.

On New Years morning I awoke with a sore throat. I now have been dealing with my second round of bronchitis since November. (Just can’t seem to shake it.) My 2015 list of birds has been “grounded.” Can’t seem to get it off to a start. Yet, the birds seen in 2015 are growing.

My First Bird of 2015 was a Boat-tailed Grackle that visited the feeders. Followed close behind were Mourning Doves and Red-winged Blackbirds. Woke up with a sore throat, so that was my birdwatching adventure of the new year so far. (From Birds of the Bible – Eye Hath Not Seen)

First Birds of 2015 - 1 BT Grackle-2 M Dove-3 Redwing Blkbd (19)c

First Birds of 2015 – 1 BT Grackle-2 M Dove-3 Redwing Blkbd -through kitchen window

The Grackles, Morning Doves and Red-wings started the year off. Since then the White Ibises strolled through the yard, the Downy Woodpecker checked out the tree next door (which was chopped down 2 days ago), the Sandhill Cranes walked down the street, and overhead I saw Black and Turkey Vultures flying by. With a gap between two houses across the street, I have seen the Great Egret, Great Blue Heron and some UFO fly over the pond there.

While riding we have seen a Bald Eagle, Anhingas, Double-crested Cormorants, and others. Luckily, we have over 500 Lakes in Polk County, so we pass several (on purpose) as we are out. We had to drive right by Circle B, our favorite birding spot here, on the way to the doctor. Well over 100 Vultures were resting in the trees that morning.

The Lord has been great in letting me enjoy His created critters even though in fewer numbers than I would prefer. Some times we need to slow down and just rest, I guess, and take things as they come. I am thankful to be getting better (I think) and am keeping my eyes open to enjoy what is given to me.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17 KJV)

First Birds of 2015 - 1 BT Grackle-2 M Dove-3 Redwing Blkbd (3)c

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 KJV)

2015 List so far:

  • Grackles
  • Morning Doves
  • Red-winged Blackbirds
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Sandhill Cranes
  • Great Egret
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Bald Eagle
  • Anhingas
  • Double-crested Cormorants
  • Osprey
  • Pigeons
  • Common Moorhens
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Blue Jay
  • White-winged Doves
  • Eurasian Collared Doves
  • Common Nighthawk

Looking forward to doing some “real” birdwatching soon. Your prayers will be appreciated as I continue to fight bronchitis. Am starting to get “cabin fever.” Went to church a week ago when Pastor Jerry had his special day, for which I am thankful, but it caused me to re-lapse. Oh, well! It was worth it and you will get to hear more of that music in later articles.

Pastor Jerry Smith – Testimony

Sunday Inspiration – Big Mighty God


Sunday Inspiration – Big Mighty God

Caracara - Dan's Flamingo Gardens Photos

Caracara – Dan’s Flamingo Gardens Photos

“keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:21 NKJV)

“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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)

Last Sunday, our Music Director of 31 years “semi” retired. The music all day was fantastic, even more so than normal. So with new music to use for the blog, today’s selection, “Big Mighty God” caused me to start formulating this blog while they were still singing it.

We do have a Big Mighty Creator that has formed all these gorgeous and not so gorgeous birds. In His wisdom, each avian creation was given just what they need to provide for themselves, find a mate, raise new generations, and sing and just be there for us to enjoy.

As you listen and watch the birds (and a few friends), I trust you realize that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator, has provided just as well and even better for you.

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“Big Mighty God” –  3+1 – Pastor Jerry, Reagan Osborne, Caleb & Jessie Padgett (Reagan flew in from Calif. for the special day)


Sunday Inspirations
Pastor Jerry Smith – Testimony
Good News


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Zebra Finch

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Zebra Finch ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 1/12/14

Here’s a perhaps surprising omission so far from the bird of the week series, the Zebra Finch, In Australia the most widespread of the grass- or weaver-finches (family Estrildidae). It is resident almost throughout mainland Australia, avoiding only the very driest deserts (such as the Nullabor Plain and the Great Sandy Desert), Cape York and the cooler and wetter regions of southern Victoria and southern Western Australia. It is absent from Tasmania. I qualified ‘surprising omission’ with ‘perhaps’, as it’s natural to rush into print with rarer and more sought-after species, such as Gouldian Finches, and overlook the more common ones.

With a length of 10cm/4in, it is among the smallest of the 19 species of Estrildid finches found in Australia (17 naturally; 2 introduced), but the males in particular (first photo) are beautiful birds and are hugely popular all over the world. Given the rigours of their natural habitat, they are hardy birds and easy to breed. One of my favourite ways to lazily photograph birds is to sit quietly near a waterhole in dry country and see what arrives, and you can see the bird in the first photo has wet breast and flank feathers from having a dip.

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by Ian

The second photo shows a pair drinking at the same spot. The male on the left is recognisable by its chestnut-coloured cheeks, while the female has plainer plumage, lacking the chestnut plumage on the cheeks and flanks and the stripes on the neck. She still has the stripy tail, white rump and diagnostic vertical ‘tear-drop’ stripe below the eye. This acts as camouflage by obscuring the eye and breaking up the outline of the head.

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by IanThe third photo shows another pair at the same place. They would appear to be having a difference of opinion about something, and the body language suggests to me that the female is getting the upper hand. Most females have plain breasts, but some have a faint breast band like this one. The fourth photo shows another pair, the female having the more typical plain plumage. These two look as if they’re not on very good terms either, definitely not speaking to each other, so you won’t be surprised to hear that Zebra Finches form permanent pair bonds.

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by IanTheir breeding cycles depend on seeding grasses and therefore on rainfall patterns. If the weather is warm enough for grasses to flower, the birds start breeding in response to rain, timing the hatching of the young with the appearance of seed. They will also feed on insects, particular when feeding young. In good conditions, the birds breed repeatedly, and the young, independent 35 days after hatching, can breed when as young as 80 days. Although the pair-bonds are permanent, Zebra Finches are very sociable, often breeding colonially and forming large flocks outside the breeding season. The bonding doesn’t prevent the females from getting on cosy terms with other males, and about 10% of clutches have two fathers (HBW).

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by Ian

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by Ian

Young juveniles resemble the females, but have dark bills. The bird in the fifth photo is an older juvenile male with still only patchy development of the adult plumage.

A closely related population is resident in the Lesser Sundas from Lombok to Timor. This is slightly larger, has a recognisable different song and the males have plain grey rather than striped throats and upper breast. When mixed with Australian birds on captivity, they normally avoid interbreeding unless the male plumage is painted to look like the other type or young birds have been imprinted by being reared by foster parents of the other type. Such hybrids are fertile. Even so, some authorities treat the two races as different species, the Timor and Australian Zebra Finches. ‘Zebra’ doesn’t seem to me a suitable name for the unstriped Timor one, maybe ‘Unzebra’ would be better?


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

Thanks again Ian for showing us some more beauties. I have seen these in captivity, but it is always nice to see them where they belong – out enjoying the great outdoors.

I also appreciate Ian telling us about how to distinguish between them. That third photo might be of the male being so “overwhelmed” by her beauty that he fell back and sat down to admire her. :0)  (We really never know what a bird is thinking, do we?)

Looking at these birds can’t help but bring these verses to mind:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6 KJV)

Maybe the Lord created these birds with stripes to remind us of that fact.

The Zebra Finches are members of the Estrildidae Family which has 141 species. See:

Ian’s Estrididae Family

Estrildidae – Waxbills, Munias & Allies here


Sunday Inspiration – Let Everything Praise

Sandwich Tern Singing (calling) By Mike Bader

Sandwich Tern Singing (calling) By Mike Bader

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. (KJV)

Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) (AMP)

Let every living creature praise the LORD. Shout praises to the LORD! (CEV)

This week the Hyssongs came to our Young At Heart (55 plus) gathering and sang for us. They did a fantastic program of song and praise to our Lord. Last year when they came, they gave me permission to use their music in these Sunday Inspirations. (They are copyrighted and need permission-please, do not copy)

I have purchased their latest CD ~ “Right Time – Right Place” and wanted to share this song, “God Is Great.” Trust you will enjoy their song, what it says, and enjoy our avian friends and some others singing their praise.

Laughing Kookabura at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee 12-26-14

Laughing Kookabura at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee 12-26-14

Here are a few quotes about Psalm 150 from two commentaries:

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! (NKJV)

Constable – Psalms 150

The inspired poet called on every person to praise Yahweh for His powerful deeds and supreme greatness (10 times out of the 13 uses of “praise” in this psalm). This psalm serves as a final doxology, bringing the collection of psalms to a solemn and joyful conclusion.

“The conclusion of the Psalter is this extravagant summons to praise, which seeks to mobilize all creation with a spontaneous and unreserved act of adoration, praise, gratitude, and awe. There are no ‘bases’ given; no reason needs to be given.” [Note: Brueggemann, p. 167.]

Biblical Illustrator – “IV. By whom (verse 6). Here the psalmist reaches the climax in his exhortation; he has exhausted language; he can particularize no more; he rushes to the culmination; he demands a universal outburst of adoration; he calls upon all in whom the breath of life is to help swell the “hallelujah chorus!” O what a thrilling crash of melody! what a volume of perfect harmony, when animate and inanimate creation, with all creatures, rising rank upon rank, order above order, species above species, purged from corruption, delivered from all evil, and attuned to the euphony of the skies—when “everything that hath breath,” the consecrated breath Divine—“shall join in one harmonious song, and crown Him Lord of all!” (J. O. Keen, D. D.)”

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Let everything that breathes praise Jehovah. Praise Jehovah! (LITV-TSP)

Todo lo que respira alabe á JAH. Aleluya. (SRV)

(Click to Play)

Let Everything Praise ~ “God Is Great.” ©The Hyssongs


Sunday Inspirations

“King” Birds



Hide Thou Me


Sharing The Gospel



Alternative Bird Lists

Various Lists

Various Lists

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Number every firstborn male of the sons of Israel from a month old and upward, and make a list of their names. (Numbers 3:40 NASB)

Saw this on Alternative Life List from About, which was a side-link from Keeping a Life Yard List.

“Many birders keep a life list, but the guidelines for what birds count on a life list that will be accepted by organizations or competitions can be strict. Fortunately, there are many alternative ways to keep a life list, from serious to silly, and each one adds a new dimension to enjoying the record-keeping side of birding.

Here are some of the List they suggest:

  • Geographic Lists:
  • Seasonal Lists:
  • Photographic Lists:
  • Subspecies Lists
  • Sound Lists
On Way to Lowry Pk Zoo - Crossed County line at 8:42

On Way to Lowry Pk Zoo – Crossed County line at 8:42

Then they list Silly Options For Fun Life Lists:

  • Captive Birds: (See them often)
  • Extinct Birds: (That might be a little difficult)
  • Taxidermy Birds: (Don’t do too many museums)
  • Hollywood Birds: (That might be interesting, you hear them in the backgrounds a lot)
  • Book Birds: (Yep, not too hard)
  • Dream Birds: (That would be hard if you don’t dream much – Wish Birds might be better)
  • Missed Birds: (That might be REAL easy)

I think I need to keep a Captive Bird List (my Zoos, Aviaries, Wildlife Rehabs and other places that have birds that are not free to leave.)

The Photographic Life List also sounds interesting. (I have plenty of “proof shots”)

eBird Report

eBird Report

Do you keep a list of birds? I do, but am not always faithful to record them. As we go on trips, I record all the birds I see as Dan drives. I include even the county, time, temp, and whether clear, cloudy, etc. I use eBird to keep North American birds, but again, don’t always log my findings until later. (or when I re-find my notepad)

Here are photos of some list written on trips and outings. You can tell if I forgot my Notepad, I am resourceful.

My List of ALL the Birds I Have Seen is really a combination of many of these.

I have written about Birdwatching Lists before, but found that article interesting and thought you might like to see how I do some of the listing. As you can see, it is not very scientific. Sometimes I draw a marking or shape to help ID it later. Now days, I try to capture my unknowns with my camera. Easier than drawing and I get to keep my eye on the bird.

What ever way you keep a list or lists is up to each one. The main thing is to get out and enjoy the beautiful birds the Lord has created for us to enjoy. I would rather miss getting something on my list, than missing the opportunity to watch the bird as long as possible. For some birds will only give you a glimpse of itself before it dashes away.

Finding a verse to use that had the word “list” in it required me to use my e-Sword again. Looking at different versions I was able to find some The KJV used, “number of their names,” the CJV used “determine how many there are,” DRB used “shalt take the sum of them” and the CRV used probably the best for this, “Write their names on a list”

Check out some other articles we have written about this:


Flamingo Gardens – Dan’s Photos

Just got copies of Dan’s photos from our trip to Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida. We were there a little over of a month ago, but he is busy and with the Holidays, he finally fixed them, converted them to JPG’s, gave them to me and now have something to use for a blog. You can always find his great photos at Dan’s Pix.

So, thought I would share them with you in a gallery of just his photos. I will spare you from mine, this time. I had wanted them for the Eyes of the Heart blog, but didn’t get them finished until after I posted it. Maybe I can do an “Eyes Part 2 with these eyes, hmmm?


“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:19-20 KJV)

Dan is not a professional photographer, nor am I a great birdwatcher, but we both thoroughly enjoy going out to see the Lord’s Creative hand at work.


Martha and the Go-Kart Race

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee

Martha and the Go-Kart Race ~ by Emma Foster

There was once an enormous ostrich named Martha who was extremely tall with a really long neck. She lived at the zoo and every day people would come there to look at her and all the strange and exotic animals. Many people came to look at Martha every day.

One day a flyer that had been left on the ground by a boy who was passing them out was blown in by the wind into Martha’s exhibit. She glanced down at the flyer. In big bold letters it said: GO-KART RACE THIS SATURDAY! The flyer went on to explain the instructions and it said that all ages were admitted. Martha decided right then and there she would enter the race.

That night, Martha sneaked out of her exhibit by climbing over the fence and sneaked into the shed in the back of the zoo. Finding some wooden boards, a hammer and nails, and a few other things, Martha set to work and eventually constructed her go-kart by Saturday.

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Foot at Riverfront Zoo SC by Lee

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Foot at Riverfront Zoo SC by Lee

On the day of the race, Martha pushed her go-kart up to the starting line. All of the kids stared at her as she tried to get into the go-kart. It was difficult because of her long legs, but Martha eventually managed to get settled.

A man from the sideline swung a flag signaling to start the race. Martha zoomed down the road and turned a corner. After a few more turns Martha and the others drove over a bridge and eventually down a steep hill.



Martha spotted the finish line. She was in the lead. In a few seconds Martha crossed the finish line and won first place. Now every time someone at the zoo passed by Martha’s exhibit, they would see her first place trophy and her go-kart. The people at the zoo would always say they had never seen a better racer and the zoo keepers never figured out how she escaped from her exhibit.

The End

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Closeup by WikiC

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Closeup by ©WikiC

Lee’s Addition:

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (Job 39:13 KJV)

Well, our young writer has come up with another interesting Bird Tale. Emma continues to amaze me with her stories. Thanks, again, Emma. Keep up the good work. Lord Bless you as you continue to develop in wisdom and with the Lord.

See her other stories:



Eyes of the Heart

Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) Eye ©WikiC

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:18 NASB)

For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (Matthew 13:15-16 KJV)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan


After our devotions, Dan and I read from a book. Currently we are reading from Ray Pritchard’s Beyond All You Could Ask Or Think. In talking about prayer, (p78+):

“The heart has eyes. Did you know that? When Paul speaks of “your heart,” he’s not referring to the organ in your chest that pumps blood throughout your body. The term “heart” refers to “the real you,” the place inside where the decisions of life are made.”

He goes on to say that all important decisions are decided in your heart. The question then comes to whether your “eyes” are open or closed to God’s truth. When we explain something about God’s Word and the truth found there, the person listening will either understand or not, depending on whether the “eyes of their heart” are open or closed.

He then goes on to encourage us to pray for us and others to keep our eyes and theirs “open” and on the Lord. (My paraphrase)

So what does this have to do with birdwatching? I enjoy watching birds and many times they have their eyes closed, half-closed or open. If you have followed this blog very long, you also know I like to use e-Sword to help search through the Bible. I know that birds and eyes are mentioned somewhere. Let’s go see what we can find!

“That path no bird knows, Nor has the falcon’s eye seen it. (Job 28:7 NKJV)

“”From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, And concealed from the birds of the air. (Job 28:20-21 NKJV)

Those verse don’t apply except that we know that wisdom and knowledge are concealed from the birds. The Lord just gave them a built in instinct to do as He created. They do not need to get out a Bible and study to learn.

It is amazing how many verses have “eyes” and “heart” mentioned in the same verse. Enjoy searching for them.

The slide show below will have an eye or eyes zoomed in and then the next slide will show the bird. See if you can ID the bird by the eye before the answer shows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are more verses mentioning eye and heart in same verse.

They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. (Isaiah 44:18 KJV)

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (John 12:40 KJV)

Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. (Acts 28:26-28 KJV)

The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat. (Proverbs 15:30 KJV)

My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26 KJV)

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Psalms 19:8 KJV)


Some other articles mentioning the “Eye”:


Cassin’s Auklet In Trouble

Cassin's Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) by Ian

Cassin’s Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) by Ian

While reading the Sunday paper, I noticed an article about the Cassin’s Auklet being in trouble. There is a big “die-off” happening on the West Coast that has scientist baffled. Wanted to find out about this bird, so here is some information about them.

Cassin’s Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) is a small, chunky seabird that ranges widely in the North Pacific. It nests in small burrows and because of its presence on well studied islands in British Columbia and off California it is one of the better known auks. It is named for John Cassin, a Pennsylvania businessman and naturalist.

Parakeet Auklet (Aethia psittacula) ©USFWS

Parakeet Auklet (Aethia psittacula) ©USFWS

They belong to the Alcidae – Auks Family which has 25 members. There are Auks, Murres, Guillemots, Murrelets, Auklets, and Puffins in family. Auks are superficially similar to penguins having black-and-white colours, upright posture and some of their habits. Nevertheless they are not closely related to penguins,

Auks live on the open sea and only go ashore for breeding, although some species, like the common guillemot, spend a great part of the year defending their nesting spot from others.

The Cassin’s Auklet are nondescript, usually dark above and pale below, with a small white mark above the eye. Its bill is overall dark with a pale spot, and its feet are blue. Unlike many other auks the Cassin’s auklet lacks dramatic breeding plumage, remaining the same over most of the year. “At sea it is usually identified by its flight, which is described as looking like a flying tennis ball”

“…Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.” (Numbers 24:21b KJV)

The Cassin’s auklet nests in burrows on small islands, and in the southern area of its range may be found in the breeding colony year round. It either digs holes in the soil or uses natural cracks and crevices to nest in, also readily using man-made structures. Pairs will show a strong loyalty towards each other and to a nesting site for many years. Both the parents incubate the single white egg, returning to swap shifts at night to avoid being taken by predators such as the western gull or peregrine falcon. They also depart from the colony before dawn.

Cassin's Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) ©WiciC

Cassin’s Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) ©WiciC

At sea Cassin’s Auklets feeds offshore, in clear often pelagic water, often associating with bathymetric landmarks such as underwater canyons and upwellings. Numbers at sea may be grossly underestimated because the bird moves away from ships at a distance of more than a kilometer. Recently their distribution around Triangle Island has been determined by telemetry. It feeds by diving underwater beating its wings for propulsion, hunting down large zooplankton, especially krill. It can dive to 30 m below the surface, and by some estimates 80 m

According to the article Pacific Coast Sea Bird Die-Off Puzzles Scientists: “Scientists are trying to figure out what’s behind the deaths of seabirds that have been found by the hundreds along the Pacific Coast since October. Mass die-offs …have been reported from British Columbia to San Luis Obispo, California.

“To be this lengthy and geographically widespread, I think is kind of unprecedented,” Phillip Johnson told the reporter.

“The birds appear to be starving to death, so experts don’t believe a toxin is the culprit…. But why the birds can’t find food is a mystery.”

“Researchers say it could be the result of a successful breeding season, leading to too many young birds competing for food. Unusually violent storms might be pushing the birds into areas they’re not used to or preventing them from foraging. Or a warmer, more acidic ocean could be affecting the supply of tiny zooplankton, such as krill, that the birds eat.”

Cassin’s Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) by Ian

On December 26th of 132 dead birds found on the beach at Tillamook, Oregon, 126 were Cassin’s Auklets.

One thing is for sure, this issue has not caught the Lord by surprise. We were given dominion over the birds and part of that is to help preserve our birds. I am glad the scientist are digging into this issue to hopefully find an answer.

“And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 KJV)

Cool Facts from About Birds

  • The Cassin’s Auklet is the only alcid known to produce two broods in a single breeding season, at least in the southern part of the range where birds may be seen at nesting colonies every month of the year.
  • Vulnerable to predators, especially large gulls, the Cassin’s Auklet tends to visit its nest at night.
  • The Cassin’s Auklet is named for John Cassin, a Pennsylvania businessman and naturalist.
  • A group of auks has many collective nouns, including a “colony”, “loomery”, and “raft” of auks.

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)