Birds and Flowers Helping Christians

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Stephen Nielsen writes a blog called Prayer A to Z or just Stephen Nielsen. This is an excerpt from his How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian article. I am sure you will enjoy reading the whole post:

Birds

Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air [Look at and think about them].”

  1. They don’t sow or reap or gather.
  2. Yet God our Father feeds them.
  3. And we are better (closer to God) than they are; we are His children. So, He definitely will care for us.
  4. Also, what good will it do anyway to worry about these things. Will worrying change anything? Will it extend your life?

Let’s look at the birds and all humans, how God provides for them.”……

Stephen has based this post on Matthew 6:25-30. What a great promise for us today. Thanks, Stephen, for another great lesson from the Lord and His Avian Wonders.

Matthew 6:25-30

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Birds Learning About Worms ©BirdsOutsideMyWindow

How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian

Prayer A to Z

Stephen Nielsen

Good News

Turf War Whistlers

Duck Fight Posture

Our Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have continued to stay with us since showing up March 1st. I originally thought that they flew off that evening to migrate north. Since then, I admit I made a false assumption. The Florida flocks of Whistlers do not basically migrate. What they do in the evening, is take flight to find a place to feed.

Apparently, the Texas Whistling Ducks do some migration, and are showing up in more southern states. About the only migration here in Florida seems to be around the Sarasota area. Why? I haven’t found out yet. So, since the first of March, we have had a constant flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks outside our back door and on the retaining pond. Anywhere from 100-300+ daily. It’s like living at a wildlife refuge. I LOVE IT!!!!

My camera is just about worn out taking so many photos and videos. [of course, I’ve thrown many photos away] We have had more laughs watching the “turf wars” between the different groups within the group. According to All About Birds – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, this is common:

Duck Fight – Here We Come

“Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks have long legs and spend more time than other ducks walking on land or perching in trees. You may see them perched on fences, telephone lines, or in Spanish moss. They are gregarious year-round, forming flocks of up to 1,000 birds. They form lifelong pair bonds and breed in their first year of life. Males spar by chasing or nipping at each other, or with a threat display that involves stretching their neck forward and opening their bill.

Duck Fight – On The Attack

Here are some of the videos of them and their “Turf Wars.” I tried to stay silent while filming, but it was too interesting. I kept chuckling.

The first video was started to record that injured Whistler when the war broke out. That duck will be written about later.

A few days later, they were still having their “Turf” discussions:

Hope you enjoyed this birdwatching adventure. Apparently, they seem to be sticking around our neighborhood. Who know what will happen next?

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1 NKJV)
“But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.” (Mark 13:7 NKJV)

Birds of the Bible – Birds “Singing”?

Whistling Ducks Encountering A Turtle

All About Birds – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Good News Tracts – Various Topics

When Birds Shake

Virginia Partridge (under attack by diving hawk) (Public Domain)

“The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground.” (Ezekiel 38:20 NASB)

I had never noticed this verse before about birds shaking, along with all the rest of Creation. While in our reading of Ezekiel, we came across this verse the other morning. My “Blog Idea” bell went off, and have been wondering if birds shake much during their life normally. This verse refers to a very serious situation in the future, and refers to the Lord’s presence.

Birds shake their tails and feathers after bathing, displaying, or as aggression. Yet, do they shake out of fear? Let’s see what we can find out:

How might the birds be acting?

From The Spruce – Bird Emotions

White-bellied Sea Eagle captured a Lesser Whistling Duck ©WikiC

Fear and tension: Frightened birds exhibit several behaviors that demonstrate their fear. Quick flight and escape is the most common reaction to fear and is the same fight-or-flight response humans use. Other fear indicators include freezing in place, crouching, increased respiration rate, widened eyes, and alarm or distress calls. These are all similar fear indicators to humans freezing in fear, a racing heart, and screams of terror. Parent birds may also show fear for their offspring by using different distraction displays or other tactics in an attempt to lure predators away from vulnerable chicks.

Birds have had to face fear and dread every since they left the ark after the flood.

“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.” (Genesis 9:2 NKJV)

“Adam and Eve originally were given dominion over all the animal creation (Genesis 1:26), but sin came in and then, after the Flood, God placed the fear and dread of man “upon all that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 9:2), and the primeval fellowship between man and his animal friends was broken. [Days of Praise – To The Animals]

Black Bear

Yet, this fear mentioned in Ezekiel will not only be for birds, it is for all of Creation and mankind. This is what I would describe as TERROR! That puts the shakes in all of creation.

38:20 shake at my presence. The entire world and all its creatures will be affected by this convulsion of nature, the greatest since the global deluge of Noah’s day. Yet this will only be a precursor of the still greater global earthquakes described during the coming tribulation period (Revelation 6:12-14; 16:18-20). (From New Defender’s Bible Study Notes)

Thankfully, there is Good News for people to avoid this coming tribulation. Most of these articles clearly show how to assure you will not be on earth when this occurs.

 

What Alarms Are You Sounding?

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

“Birds’ lives are so filled with danger that they’re on alert at all times, just to stay alive. Luckily, they have several tactics to avoid becoming the next meal for a cat or hawk. One, of course, is to fly away, a good choice, but not always possible. Another is to call in a troop of other birds to set up such a clamor that the predator is driven from the neighborhood. But in cases where the threat is too close and too dangerous, birds freeze in hiding while making soft, high-pitched sounds that serve as a warning to other birds.” [Bird Warning Calls Work Across Species]

Black-capped Chickadee

“Birds give a lot of “false alarms” or brief low-level alarms. With practice you will become sensitive to the higher intensity of real alarm calls, and when these calls are sustained for several minutes, and directed at one spot, you can be fairly certain a predator is there.” [Sibley Guides – Understanding Alarm Calls of Birds]

Here Sibley was using the alarm to help find the bird who was giving the warning.

We have been reading through Ezekiel in our devotions, and came across the often preached passage in Chapter 33. This was written to warn Israel, but it applies to us also. We all know people who need to be warned. As you read through this passage, you will see why I thought of the alarms from our Avian Wonders from the Lord.

Ezekiel 33:1-9 NASB
(1)  And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
(2)  “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
(3)  and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,

Barking Boobook (Ninox connivens) by Ian

(4)  then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
(5)  ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.

Unwatchful Dove ©S.Young

(6)  ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
(7)  “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.

Birds Mobbing Owl and Warning Others To The Danger With Their Calls ©Andrew O’Connor

(8)  “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.
(9)  “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

[Bolding Mine]

I trust we are all doing our part to warn the lost of their need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sharing the Gospel

Eagle Cinquain

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Ray Barlow

My blogging friend, Sandra Connor, has challenged her readers to write a Cinquain, then post it. Well, here is my first attempt at writing one of these.

First I had to find out HOW. So, she sent us to her link that explains how: Ahyoka/Cinquain

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) by TAJA

Here we go:

Eagles

Flying Aloft

What A Majestic Sight

Displaying, Surveying, Preying

Eagles

I had kidded her about it looking like a tree, but then so does mine.

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

If you would like to join the challenge, swing by her sight and check it out. Also, you could leave one below in the comments.

Three-Day Coffee Cinquain Challenge – Day 1

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

Silver, Gold, and Hearts

While reading today, this verse caught my attention. There has to be birds with each of these in their names:

Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) by Dario Sanches

Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) by Dario Sanches

“The refining pot is for silver

Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) ©WikiC

and the furnace for gold,

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

But the LORD tests the hearts. (Proverbs 17:3 NKJV)

A simple blog with a great message.

“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.” (Proverbs 17:3 NKJV)

Sharing The Gospel

Wishful Thinking

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

Many times when we are young, we wonder or try to imagine what we will be like when we grow up. (Notice the bird in the upper right corner)

Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

This Great Blue Heron may be trying to remember his days of youth. (Notice the bird in the lower left corner)

Tricolored Heron and Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

Our smaller Tricolored Heron can wish all he wants, but he will never become a Great Blue Heron. The Lord, the Creator of all these Avian Wonders, made each of them slightly different.

Just as we in our lives have different talents and abilities, we should not try to be something that we were not created to be. The Lord has given each of us, as Christians, different areas of service. It may a small task, or it could be an enormous task.

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NKJV)

Each of these birds at Gatorland, are all created different, yet they all seem to enjoy hanging out there. Many of us enjoy being with others at our places of worship. We all have something we can do to help others.

Wood Stork at Gatorland

White Ibis at Gatorland

Great Egret at Gatorland

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

Other Gatorland Post from the December 30th visit:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
  5. Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

Wordless Birds

Noise Pollution

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Colossians 4:6 The Message

Brown Thrasher singing in a tree against a blue sky. March, 2018; Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Last summer I decided to try my hand at recording bird songs. I downloaded a recommended app and went out into the field. While listening to the wonderful songs of a Brown Thrasher, I just knew I had a great recording. But when I got back inside to listen, I was shocked. Car engines, airplane noise, the air conditioning unit… all of them destroying the talented thrush’s solo. I soon found that the hardest part of getting good bird recordings was finding a quiet place to record them.

Noise pollution! I had never really realized just how much noise there is out there… in nature as well as the world of social interactions! The good and pleasant conversation is drowned out by contempt and complaint.

Ecclesiastes 10:20 Never curse the king, not even in your thoughts, nor the rich man, either; for a little bird may tell them what you’ve said.

Often, there isn’t much you can do to control nose pollution, except to decide that you won’t add to it. You can control your own speech! Am I adding to the noise pollution by complaining, attacking and slandering? Am I civil and encouraging in my speech? How are people left feeling after a conversation with me: uplifted or dragged down into the mud?

How did people feel after an encounter with Jesus?  The disciples on the road to Emmaus related their experience: “They began telling each other how their hearts were warmed as he talked with them and explained the Scriptures during the walk down the road.” Let us strive to produce the same fruit with our words.

Deuteronomy 32:2 NLT “Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Hide and Seek

Have you ever shouted to God, “COME OUT, COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE!”?

Ezekiel 39:29  “Neither will I hide my face any more from them…”

A Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) appears to play hide-and-seek in a nest cavity. March 31, 2017; Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Birding can sometimes feel like a game of hide-and-seek. The birds have the “hide” part down pat! They are masters of camouflage and stealth, and seem to know the cleverest places to hide. So the birders must play the “seek” side of the game. We maximize our chances of finding particular bird species by learning where they live – their range and habitat within the range – and going where the birds are!

There are times it seems like God is playing hide-and-seek with us. Our theology says God is omnipresent, but our feelings say He has hidden Himself and is nowhere to be found.  Like Martha and Mary when their brother Lazarus passed away, we blame God for being absent when crisis and need hits — “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21).

But have you thought that maybe God isn’t hiding; and perhaps the problem is with our seeking? Jesus was quite willing to commune with those who desired His company. When two disciples asked, “Where dwellest thou?” Jesus offered the open invitation of come and see (John 1:38). Since the Bible promises us that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), perhaps our seeking isn’t as diligent as we thought.

God is not hiding. He can be seen in the design, order and complexity of nature around us… especially the birds! And just like searching for a bird in its range and habitat, we maximize our chances by seeking God in the right places. Where does God “hide”? Maybe He is “hidden” in that Bible on your bookshelf? Or perhaps He can be found in that church down the road? One thing is certain: if you are honest and diligent, He will be found!

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Taking and Making Opportunities

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season…”

Bright yellow female American Goldfinch perched on pine sapling. Spinus tristis is a North American songbird. Photographed June 17, 2020 in Walton County, Georgia USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

People have asked me, “How are you able to photograph so many different animals?” A big part of the equation is taking and making opportunities. This success principle holds true in many areas: financial investors watch the markets to take advantage of opportune seasons to invest, while ingenious entrepreneurs create a market where none existed before. Taking an opportunity, or making one, can bring success.

There are times that wildlife photography opportunities present themselves; say, a Red-tailed Hawk swooping down on a roadside squirrel, or a Gray Fox cutting through your backyard. You have to be always ready to take those opportunities when presented. But most of the time, birds don’t swoop in and pose when we set up a tripod and camera. We must make opportunities by travelling to areas that maximize our chances of wildlife viewing, such as birding hotspots, parks and wildlife refuges.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul passes along this same strategy for success to the young pastor Timothy. William Barclay’s translation of 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Urge it upon people whether you can take an opportunity or have to make an opportunity.” Paul isn’t speaking about wildlife photography or financial investments, but about eternal investments: souls! There are times that opportunities to witness present themselves, such as in a long line at Walmart. Other strategies include making evangelistic opportunities such as outdoor concerts and testimony services, or mini neighborhood healing crusades.

So, a greater question than “how do I photograph more birds?”, is “how do I win more souls?”!  Hobbies and recreation are fine – and I’d say they are even essential to mental health – but do I spend as much time seeking to bring people for Christ as I do on photography? Or do I squander my evangelistic opportunities on other pursuits?

Just some food for thought. As for me, I will pursue and enjoy both!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Raptor Rapture

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Hawk catching prey at Panola Mountain State Park, Georgia. November 3, 2014 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Who isn’t enraptured by raptors?  With their first-rate flight, outstanding optics and on-target talons, they grab our attention and seize our fascination. The ability to swiftly and silently swoop down and snatch up prey unawares – like a thief in the night – is where this group of Birds of Prey receives their name.

A raptor is defined as a carnivorous bird that has large, sharp talons used to seize prey. It comes from the Latin word rapio, meaning to snatch, grab, carry off or abduct. The speed at which these hawks, eagles, kites, owls and falcons can clutch an unsuspecting victim is what makes them so impressive.

Red-tailed Hawk talon characteristic of Raptors. Walton County, Georgia. August 2017 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

This same word is also used in the 4th century Latin Vulgate translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In this scripture, the Apostle Paul describes the Lord as “catching up” the saints from off the earth to meet with Him in the air. It is from here that we receive the doctrine of The Rapture.

As the age of man upon earth nears midnight, Jesus Christ Himself will snatch His people away from impeding Tribulation, as swiftly and unexpectedly as a raptor descending upon its prey. But we won’t be carried off for lunch like a fish in an Osprey’s claws, we’ll be carried away to supper… the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Revelation 19 describes a heavenly wedding reception where we, the church, are clothed in beautiful, clean bridal garments to worship the Bridegroom for eternity.

Seats on this Last Days flight called the Rapture are booking now. You can’t purchase this ticket online through Travelpediocity, but it is available for free through the blood and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Wherefore comfort one another with these words!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Two More Volumes Updated – Vol 1 #3 and #4

Flash Light Picture made with “Dexter” Camera

Flash Light Picture made with “Dexter” Camera

Two More Volumes Updated – Vol 1 #3 and #4 of the Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

There really are some interesting birds in these volumes also. It takes time to update the links to articles and photos. In six years time, websites and blogs come and go. I would rather the articles be accurate as to just put them up as fast as I can. Besides that, the twenty plus posts will take time to read.

The American Cross Bill and The Legend  article is quite interesting. Also, the Amateur Photography post shows some older camera information with links to more photography topics.

Of course, there are many birds to check out. Enjoy these latest two Volumes:

Volume 1, Number 3, March 1897

Little Boy Blue – The Blue Bird
The Swallow
The Brown Thrush
The Japan Pheasant
The Flicker
The Bobolink

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

The Crow and The Common Crow
The Return Of The Birds
The Black Tern
The Meadow Lark
The Long-Eared Owl (Great Horned)

Northern Long-eared Owl by DavesBP

Volume 1, Number 4, April 1897

The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
The Canada Jay
The Purple Gallinule
Smith’s Painted Longspur
The American Cross Bill and The Legend 
Bird Day In The Schools
The California Woodpecker

California Woodpecker for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

California Woodpecker for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

The Piedbill Grebe
The Bohemian Wax-Wing
The Marsh Wren
The Arizona Green Jay
Amateur Photography

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12 KJV)

See also:

Volume 1 – #1 & #2 – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography Active

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

ABC’s Of The Gospel