A Helpful Pigeon and Injured Puppy

©The Dodo

“And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,” (Hebrews 10:24 AMP)

©The Dodo

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor [friendship]. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 NASB) [added emphasis]

 

On Bird Kinds, the Bible, and Racism

“And God created every winged fowl after his kind:” – Genesis 1:21

The dove represents peace and the Holy Spirit… two things we should be seeking in this day-and-age. White-winged Dove; Hays County, TX. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

“What kind of bird is that?” my young daughter asked, pointing up into the tree. “It’s a White-winged Dove.” After giving a short species account, I went on to explain, “For many, the dove represents peace. And in the Bible it often represents the Holy Spirit.” When she asked what kind it was, I understood that she was asking what species of bird sat perched before us. But her use of the word “kind” brought another thought to my mind.

The Bible reveals that on Day Five, God created all the winged creatures after their kind. While Baraminologists (scientists that study created kinds) aren’t sure of the specific groupings, perhaps the bird kinds are similar to what you find the index of your favorite Field Guide: long-legged waders, ducks, seabirds and gulls, raptors, passerines, etc. Modern day science labels them by genus and species. The Bible says each were created after their kinds.

But when it comes to the creation account of man, the language of the Bible makes a change. We do not read the phrase “And God created man after his kind”. Instead, we read, “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). From the very beginning, we can see the truth that humans are not broken down into different kinds, but all mankind is one kind!

Grouping people into kinds, or “races” as we call them today, is purely a human invention. And racism is most certainly a human invention! The Bible is quite clear that all humans are related; all are of one blood. “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).

In God’s system, all men and women are of the same kind; all are of the same standing and worth, no matter the differences in appearance. In fact, the value of something is based upon the price someone is willing to pay for it. Jesus Christ paid the price of His life and blood equally for all human beings.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

Race is purely a discriminatory classification system concocted by humans themselves. In God’s order, there is no such thing as race, and therefore absolutely no grounds for racism! “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:12-13).

(Read the full text of this article at www.williamwisephoto.com)


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.

Creation Moments – How Many Feathers?

Tongtianlong Cropped ©WikiC

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25

 Today, we often see pictures of dinosaurs covered in feathers, which used to be represented with bare scales. Why has this change occurred? There is a preconceived notion, held by many evolutionists, that birds evolved from therapod dinosaurs, such as tyrannosaurus and the smaller raptor dinosaurs.

One such dinosaur reported in the media just a few years ago was Tongtianlong limosus. Apparently, its name means “muddy dragon on the road to heaven”. This sheep-sized dinosaur was discovered in China, and the fossil had an arched neck and raised head, as if it was trying to get free of something. Artists’ impressions of the creature show it covered with feathers, and reporters and researchers alike assume that this is correct. One scientific commentator said, “Modern birds came from dinosaurs … and it’s dinosaurs like Tongtianlong that give us a glimpse of what the ancestors of modern birds would have looked like. Fossils like these capture evolution in action.” Yet, this is simply not the case and appears to be an example of circular reasoning. The fossil shows no sign of feathers – not even the so-called dubious proto-feathers associated with other finds. It is simply the type of dinosaur that has caused it to be so classified by evolutionists, exercising more artistic license than is appropriate for serious scientific work.

In the Bible we read that God made birds on day five, and He made land animals on day six, so birds could not have evolved from dinosaurs.

Prayer: Lord God, You made everything right, in the way that You designed it, according to Your glory. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Robinson, P. (2016), Sorry, how many feathers did you find?, < https://creation.com/sorry-how-many-feathers-did-you-find >, accessed 5/1/2019. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

Used With Permission: © 2020 Creation Moments, Inc.


“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” Adolf Hitler

“If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” [Jesus’ Words] (John 3:12 NASB)

If people do not believe the things that the Lord said about His Creation, and continue to make up false theories, how will they ever believe the truth of Christ’s offer of salvation?

Will they prepare for heaven? God’s Word is true, yet many refuse to believe it. They would rather lie, than accept the truth. So sad. Maybe a good title for this article should have been,

“How Many Lies!”

Creation Moments – How Many Feathers?

Creation Moments

More Creation Moment articles here

What will you do with Jesus?

Walter the Directionally Challenged Goose, Part 2

Walter the Directionally Challenged Goose, Part 2

by Emma Foster

Walter with injured foot, in Part 1

Walter the goose didn’t have to worry about flying south for the winter now that he lived at the veterinary clinic. Whenever winter returned, Walter was safe and warm inside the clinic, and during the summer he could walk outside and explore. However, Walter made sure to stay close to the clinic so he wouldn’t get lost. He was still directionally challenged.

One summer day Walter was walking around by the garage at the veterinary clinic. A truck drove up and parked in front of the garage. Walter had to quickly waddle out of the way to avoid getting run over, but when he was a good distance away he noticed a trailer attached to the back end of the truck. Inside the trailer was a small horse.

Horse in Trailer ©WikiC

The horse looked out the window when Walter approached the trailer. Walter had seen many different kinds of animals during his short time at the vet, but he had never seen a horse before. When Walter craned his neck to see inside, he could tell that the horse was nervous. Every now and then, Walter needed to come into the rooms to calm the other animals down, since they were nervous about being at the vet. Walter asked the horse his name to help him not feel so nervous. The horse said that his name was Angus. He also mentioned that he didn’t know why he was there, but this was his first time at the vet without his mother.

Walter sat by the trailer while the vets came out and Angus was brought out of the trailer. Angus became so nervous that he bolted, jumping a fence and running into the fields. Walter flapped after him, determined that his new friend would overcome his fear.

A Goose and her horse ©Flickr Lisa Donahoo

A Goose and her horse ©Flickr Lisa Donahoo

Walter flew over a small field and a patch of trees. By then, the vets and Angus’s owner were far behind. Walter searched for a long time, turning in different directions before resting on a tree stump to see where he was. To his surprise, when he looked ahead, he noticed the veterinary clinic! He had gone in circles, since he was so directionally challenged.

Deciding to go back the other way, Walter flew in the opposite direction, took a right, then landed in another field that he had never been in before. Walter sat in the brush and thought, but he did not give up. Suddenly he realized that the tall grass around him was moving a little. Walter crouched down, but Angus pulled his head over the grass and looked down at him. Angus had seen him land in the field. Walter explained that he had been looking for Angus, but he had gotten lost. Angus decided that, if Walter could fly around looking for him and not give up or become afraid, he didn’t have to be afraid about being at the vet for a checkup. He knew Walter would be right there with him.

Mini Horse and Friend

Walter flapped up onto Angus’s back, and Angus trotted back to the clinic, where Angus’s owner and the vets had been waiting for them. They were all extremely glad that they had both returned. Walter stood by Angus the entire time he received his checkup. Angus was very healthy. He did have to receive a few shots, but Walter assured him they weren’t that bad. When Angus’s checkup was over, Angus had to say goodbye to Walter. Walter hoped that he would see Angus again soon, but only for a checkup.


Lee’s Addition:

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB)

We met Walter in Walter the Directionally Challenged Goose.  Walter seems to have found his permanent home and a mission to be a encourager. I love Emma’s stories, but it becomes challenging to illustrate these adventures. So forgive the different types of geese and horses.

What I did find is a very interesting story about a real horse and goose. This is not to take away from Emma’s Story, but to show that it could be more true than she thought.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV)

See All of Emma’s Stories

Hidden in Plain Sight

My testimony, told through an American Bittern, of finding a Creator and Savior that was there all along…

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

The American Bittern, a master of camouflage; Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia. March 13, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

My daughter and I were only ten minutes into a four-day canoe trip through the Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp and already we had missed something. As a tourist-laden pontoon boat passed by, the naturalist on board pointed out an American Bittern camouflaged in the marsh grasses. We had paddled right past it, hidden in plain sight!

But we can’t be blamed. A prominent ornithology website says, “You’ll need sharp eyes to catch sight of an American Bittern. This streaky, brown and buff heron can materialize among the reeds, and disappear as quickly, especially when striking a concealment pose with neck stretched and bill pointed skyward.” With his bill pointed upward, our bittern blended in perfectly with the tall brown grasses that lined the water’s edge. Again, perfectly hidden in plain sight.

American Bittern; Okefenokee Swamp Georgia. March 13, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

I began to remember that same “hidden-in-plain-sight” feeling just after surrendering my life to Jesus Christ while in college. As Christ continued to reveal Himself to me in those first days of salvation, I was mesmerized by the fact that the truth of the gospel had been there all along, right in front of my nose, but I never saw it. And over the years, as my love of the outdoors and my study of wildlife continued, the evidence of God’s hand as Creator became more and more obvious: overwhelming evidence of design, the complexity of biology, genetic programming within animals, the beauty found in nature… all things that point to a Designer. And they were all right there all along, hidden in plain sight.

But why don’t we see them? Two reasons: In part, we are blinded by an outside force. The Bible states that, “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). And we are also blinded by our own internal biases against the Bible that cause us not to see the evidence of God in creation. When speaking of the past creation and future destruction of this world, Peter wrote, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.” (2 Peter 3:5).

Even though my daughter and I paddled right by that Bittern and didn’t recognize his presence, he was still there. He was just hidden in plain sight and merely needed to be pointed out to us. For twenty years, I paddled right through life not noticing Christ. But when someone pointed Him out on December 1, 1993, I realized He was there all along, hidden in plain sight and the overwhelming evidence became more and more obvious.


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.

Backyard Birding – Maybe Part III

Gator and Sandhill Cranes 05-20-20 by Lee

Gator and Sandhill Cranes 05-20-20 by Lee

“Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:26 NKJV)

In Backyard Birding – Maybe Part I and Part II, I referred to our gator that hangs out at the edge of our backyard. Here is the video I promised.

The two Sandhills had been on our back lanai and we had shooed them off. They went down to the water at the end of our yard and started teasing the gator. They jumped up a few times and just looked at him. Then they flew across to the other bank, and that is where I captured this on video.

[I thought I knew how to kill parts of the sound, but it killed it all. So I left the sound on. We were eating our breakfast when all of this was occurring. I was sitting in my chair filming this.]

From the following articles, it is obvious that Sandhill Cranes are quite common here in central Florida. They are fun to watch, except when the peck on the back sliding door.

Sandhill Cranes ousidet window Coventry by Lee

Sandhill Cranes ousidet window Coventry by Lee

“Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

“Sandhill Cranes mate for life, choosing their partners based on dancing displays. Displaying birds stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air.” [All About Birds – Sand Hill Cranes]

More about Cranes:

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe Part II

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Our gator adventure has been keeping me from using my bench, but we still have lots of birds to watch. Just from a safer distance. In Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe, I explained why I haven’t used my bench too much yet. The talk of the neighborhood, “our own gator,” brings visitors to the water. As I mentioned before, we don’t get to see it most of the time because of the embankment.

When he [or she] moves more to the middle of the water, then we get to see it. When we came home from church, Sunday (5-17), there he was. We both grabbed our cameras, which we now keep at the table by the door. Here is what I saw:

Dan taking a photo of the gator and me taking of photo of him.

Dan taking a photo of the gator and me taking of photo of him.

Then I zoomed in on what he was taking a photo of:

What Dan Was Photographying by Lee 5-17-20

What Dan Was Photographying by Lee 5-17-20

We still have that Variant House Finch stopping by. He feeds at the feeder up by the door. Much safer there. The sun was shining brightly, and it made him almost glow. Here a few I took a few days ago:

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Also recently, the three species I mentioned in the first post, we spotted though the door on May 16th. Here are a few more closeups:

Great Blue Heron close up

Great Blue Heron close up

“And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:19 KJV) – Don’t Eat List

Great Blue Heron with neck bent in S

Great Blue Heron with neck bent in S – Sandhill Crane in foreground

Great Egret 5-16-20

Great Egret 5-16-20

I know these are not the greatest photos, but I sure do enjoy seeing so many interesting birds to watch, and even the alligator. Stay tuned for a video I shot this morning.

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible – Cranes

Wordless Birds

 

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Recently, we laid a few blocks down in the backyard so that I [we] could use our old bench. My goal was to be able to watch some of the numerous birds that stop or fly by. Needless to say, the bench needs a little TLC [tender love and care] This was taken May 14th.

I grabbed my camera and took a few photos, thinking I’d start a new series called: Backyard Birdwatching. Real original, right?

Great White Egret - First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Great White Egret – First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Had to wait for him to get in the clear.

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

I took a few photos and then the next day, decided that plan may be put on hold for awhile. Why? Hang on.

On the 16th, I was able to capture three different species through our door. We were having breakfast when they all appeared. A Great Blue Heron and Great Egret by the water’s edge and the two pesky Sandhill Cranes.

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Why was I shooting through the door instead of from my bench? Well, this dude showed up the 15th.

Alligator Taken from my neighbor's yard. 05-16-20

Alligator Taken from my neighbor’s yard. 05-16-20

This Alligator is at the end of our yard. Because of the incline by the bank, we don’t get to see him often. So, I went to my neighbor’s yard and took this. She was with me, so if I had to waddle away fast, she could help me. Our neighbor, from across the water, told us that he comes and has layed on our bank at about 6 or 7 every morning for that last few days. Yikes!!

Needless to say, I have not been using my bench, yet!!

“Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6:20 NKJV)

We know that at least two of each kind of birds and creeping things were kept alive in the ark. I wonder if the alligators were on board, or swimming? Never thought about that before. Have you?

More later. We had a great view of this gator and the two Sandhill cranes today. Stay turned!

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Island Thrush

When preparing editions of the Irregular Bird, I enjoy researching the natural history of the species in question. However, as anyone who goes on such a quest on the internet would know, this often proves to be a bit of a rabbit hole leading in unpredictable directions and taking up lots of time.

island_thrush_39679_pp.jpg
Such was the case this time round as I had decided, given our current travel-free situation, to take us on a trip to Christmas Island with photos of about ten of the most interesting species. This led me down endless rabbit holes and the weeks ticked by. One of these that I found particularly interesting, biogeographically and taxonomically, was the Island Thrush and, unlike most of the others, it hasn’t featured previously as an Irregular Bird, or Bird of the Week as it was in 2006.
island_thrush_39685_pp.jpg
This rather smart thrush is one of the typical thrushes comprising the genus Turdus, the members of which are widespread throughout Eurasia, Africa and the Americas and includes such well-known species as the Common Blackbird, the Song and Mistle Thrushes of Eurasia and the American Robin. The Island Thrush is about the same size as the Common Blackbird, to which it is closely related and is also a fine songster with a similar flutey song (listen to it here https://www.xeno-canto.org/204160).
island_thrush_39675_pp.jpg
This particular subspecies erythropleurus (meaning red-sided, or literally red-ribbed) is endemic to Christmas Island and was originally described as a full species Turdus erythropleurus by Sharpe in 1887. Subsequently it was found to be a race of the Island Thrush which is widespread but local through Southeast Asia from Sumatra and the Philippines and tropical Australasia and Oceania as far east as Samoa. Christmas Island is indicated by the brown arrow on the map below.
Island_thrush_distribution.jpg
The first race of the species was described by Latham in 1801. He called it the Grey-headed Blackbird, Turdus poliocephalus (polios is Greek for grey). It occurred only on Norfolk Island (horizontal black arrow on the map) and is now extinct, while another ‘species’ the Vinous-tinted Blackbird Turdus vinitinctus, also now extinct, was described on Lord Howe Island (vertical black arrow). The Christmas Island race is the sole surviving one on Australia territory.
mathews_1928_p27.jpg
You may be struck by the different plumages of the various races, so it isn’t surprising that they were originally treated as different species. The colour plate above was created by the Danish artist Henrik Gronvold, and published in this book, below, an appendix to the Birds of Australia, by Gregory Mathews in 1928. 
mathews_1928.jpg
In fact, all the various populations of the Island Thrush differ greatly from each other in appearance. Below, stolen from Guy Dutson’s Birds of Melanesia, are two other races, one completely black (efatensis on Efate, an island of Vanuatu) and the other with a white head (albifrons on Erromango, another island of Vanuatu). In some race, the sexes are similar, in others they are different and the plumages of the juveniles are quite variable too. In fact the Island Thrush’s main claim to fame is that it is globally the most variable species of bird with nearly 50 subspecies. DNA studies show that the subspecies  appear to be all closely related with one exception: the northernmost one on Taiwan, niveiceps, is considered a candidate for elevation to species rank.
birds_of_melanesia_dutson_7653.jpg
The variability and wide range of the Island Thrush is paradoxical from the point of view of biogeography. On the one hand, varability and divergent subspecies indicates isolation with a lack of genetic flow among populations, i.e. the birds don’t move between islands. On the other hand, the wide range suggests that the Island Thrush is or was very good at getting from one place to another. This apparent contradiction is another mystery waiting to be solved.
turdus_poliocephalus_vinitinctus.jpg
John Gould also illustrated the Vinous-tinted Blackbird on Lord Howe. Like the Grey-headed nominate race of Norfolk Island, the sexes were similar so the browner bird in the plate presumably represents a juvenile. In the background are the two high mountains on Lord Howe, Mount LIdgbird (left) and the flat-topped Mount Gower. This species was quite common until a shipwreck introduced rats to the island in 1918 with fatal consequences for this ground-nesting bird.
mt_lidgbird_mt_gower_lord_howe_3184_900-ps.jpg
Here are the two mountains on Lord Howe in 2013, photographed from the other side of the island from the John Gould illustration. So, we did sort of do a trip even if we ended up on Lord Howe instead of Christmas Island. I will prepare the rest of the photos for a trip to Christmas Island and try not to get too diverted by avian rabbit holes.
 
Spending a lot of time in isolation has given me the opportunity to work on the website not only adding birds and mammals from the trip to Brazil and Chile last year (about 120 species at last count), but also digging up neglected photos of other wildlife from earlier trips. If you are interested in checking these out, you can do so via the thumbnails on the Recently Added Photos page: http://www.birdway.com.au/recent_additions.php.
 
Greetings and stay safe,
Ian

Ian Montgomery,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au

Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

 

Lee’s Addition:

I am always grateful when I get the surprise Birds of the “Moment” from Ian. When he used to do the Bird of the Week, they were very regular. Now, I love being surprised by Ian. [He is becoming almost as “off-schedule” as I am.] At any rate, what a beautiful and neat looking Thrush. Thanks, Ian for sharing another avian wonder with us.

“Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)

Birds of the Bible – Thrushes

Ian’s Birds of the Week/Moment

Jesus And Birds – 1st Cleansing Of Temple

Doves in Cages ©WikiC

Back to our long-delayed series of “Jesus and Birds.” The last one, “Jesus and Birds – His Dedication was completed not long before everything changed. This Corvid-19 ordeal has left me a bit “discombobulated.” [Discombobulate is a fun, fancy word for “confuse.” If something has put you in a state where you don’t know up from down and you can’t spell your own name, you may be discombobulated.” – vocabulary.com] Anyway, thanks to Dr. Jim (J.J.S .Johnson) and William Wise for continuing to add articles for the blog.

When I first started looking into this cleansing of the Temple sellers, it appeared that there were two cleansings, yet there was a debate. Did Jesus cleanse the Temple once or twice? As you may remember, I am using a Harmony of the Gospels to trace the Lord Jesus’s reactions to birds while in His incarnated body. Here are some of the questions:

This first cleansing is only mentioned only by John.

“And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” (John 2:13-17 KJV)

The second cleansing is mentioned by the other three gospel writers, but not John.

Mathew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, and Luke 19:45-46 [This will be covered in the 2nd Cleansing of Temple post.]

After checking many of the commentaries in the BibleGateway helps, even though Jesus spoke some of the same similar words, the belief is that there are two cleansings. I will cover more about this in the later post.

The main point is that when Christ entered the Temple area, sellers had set up for business. Worshipers needed animals and birds for sacrifices, but they were not supposed to be selling them inside the compound area. Had they been selling outside the area, there would not have been a problem.

In His disgust for what was going on, he threw over the tables, etc. and opened the cages of doves to let the go free.

Freedom – Bird leaving cage ©Pixabay

 

Satisfying Shallows and Delightful Depths

“He led me through water to the ankles…, he led me through water to the knees…, he led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass over.” Ezekiel 47:1-5

Bonaparte`s Gulls frolicking in ocean surf, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. March 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Birdwatching. Birding. Ornithology. In most minds, those three terms conjure differing depths of avian appreciation. Bird enthusiasm ranges from the simple enjoyment of backyard birds, to submerging in state lists and big years, and even deeper into the intellectual fathoms of anatomy and natural history. The books upon the shelf range from Your Backyard Feeder to Latin Terms for Taxonomists.

In the same manner, the Bible is book of unending fathomage. From inspiring daily devotionals, to word studies and commentaries, and into the depths of theology, the Sacred Writ can be enjoyed and experienced on so many different levels.

Stack of Antique New Testament Bibles. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

But is one level of devotee better than another? Is the ornithologist more serious or dedicated than a birder? Is the theologian more important than the lay congregant? Are we only dipping in our toes when we should be swimming deeper? Are we drowning in the depths and neglecting the satisfaction of the shallows?

In reality, one can be all things, or be what one desires! In his chapter of Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White, David A. La Puma writes, “Find out what you love about birds and dive in; the pool of knowledge is deep and rich and full of others happy to help you along the way.” An ornithologist can still enjoy birdwatching just as a theologian should still delight in daily devotionals.

Our Christian life and experience, just like birding, should enjoy the shallows, wade into the depths, dive the deep ocean trenches, and swim back again. Just as you would enjoy cardinals and chickadees at your backyard feeder, or decide to tackle identifying the gulls, sparrows and peeps, enjoy your yearly reading plan through the New Testament and Psalms, and simultaneously sound the depths of Biblical wisdom and application. Find out what you love about the Word of God in this season of life and dive in. The only wrong thing to do is to completely dry up!


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.

Clyde and Benny by Emma Foster

Clyde and Benny by Emma Foster

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by Kent Nickell

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) by Kent Nickell

Clyde was an old crow who lived in a tall pine tree in the darkest part of the woods. Because preferred to spend time away from all the other birds and forest animals, he didn’t have any friends. Many of the other birds avoided him because they were afraid of him.

But one day Clyde returned with a large worm in his mouth to his nest to find something in his nest. That something was a little white egg. Clyde had no idea where the egg had come from or how it had gotten there, but he knew he did not want the egg in his nest. While he was thinking about what to do with it, the egg started shaking. A few moments later, a tiny robin chick popped out, peeping loudly.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Hatching ©WikiC

Now Clyde really didn’t know what to do. He wanted to be left alone, but the tiny robin flopped out of the egg and stared at him, thinking that Clyde was his mother. Clyde thought for a long time, thinking that he should find another nest somewhere else, but the chick looked too helpless for him to leave. Instead, he reluctantly gave the chick the worm he found and went to look for its mother.

Clyde searched all through the forest, but he couldn’t find any other family of robins. Many of the birds were surprised at seeing Clyde, and most of them hid in the trees to keep away from him. Clyde returned to his nest, back to the chick, and he decided that he would have to keep him. Eventually Clyde decided to call him Benny.

Even though Clyde gave Benny his name, he still did not want Benny around. Clyde begrudgingly found extra worms for Benny and himself. However, once Benny was old enough to fly out of the nest, Clyde showed him how to find the worms for himself so he wouldn’t bother him so much.

Crow Getting Worm ©PxHere

Crow Getting Worm ©PxHere

Unfortunately, teaching Benny how to fly took what felt like hours to Clyde. Benny was a very clumsy little robin. The first time, Benny fluttered out of the nest, dropped, and flopped onto the branch below them. Clyde had to set Benny on his back, take him back up to the nest, then start all over again. Finally, Benny was able to fly a few feet to the next branch, which was a great relief to Clyde.

Once Benny, learned how to fly, however, Benny would not leave Clyde alone. He followed Clyde wherever he went, even after Clyde showed Benny where to actually find food. Whenever Clyde passed other birds or animals, they wondered who the tiny robin was because they had no idea where he came from.

Clyde became so tired of Benny following him around that one day, he took Benny to an unfamiliar part of the forest. Now that he thought Benny could take care of himself, he figured he could lose Benny somewhere in the woods. When they reached a small river, Clyde waited for Benny to start searching for food like he had been told. Once Benny was distracted, Clyde flew off, not looking back until he was far away from the river.

Clyde returned to his nest, but he realized it felt empty and quiet. It was just like before Benny arrived, when all the other birds were afraid of him and he had no one to talk to. Clyde started to feel very lonely, and he realized he shouldn’t have left Benny all by himself. Clyde immediately wanted to fly back to the river.

As Clyde made his way back, he realized he had taken a wrong turn. All of the trees looked unfamiliar. Clyde sat down on a branch and thought for a long time on where to go. He worried abut Benny, since he was lost as well. He cawed for Benny for a long time, but he never received an answer. Finally, Clyde heard a rustling of branches a little way off.

Crow in Nest ©NeedPix

Clyde the Crow in Nest ©NeedPix

When Clyde rounded the corner he saw something flapping from branch to branch, shaking the leaves. Clyde realized that the bird was Benny, and that he couldn’t fly well because he had found the largest worm Clyde had ever seen.

American Robin on Nest ©Alarmy

Benny the American Robin inn Nest ©Alarmy

Clyde returned to Benny, who dropped the worm, surprised that Clyde was so frantic. Benny hadn’t even known that Clyde had gone, but Clyde still apologized. He helped Benny take the worm back to the nest. Every day after that, Clyde and Benny spent all their time together. Even after Benny grew up. Benny placed his nest directly in the tree beside Clyde’s.


“Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously.” (1 Peter 5:2 MSG)

Lee’s Addition:

Emma sent this delightful story to me recently. I trust you will enjoy it as much as I have putting the photos in. She, like many students, college or younger, has been finishing her classes at home.

The verse above has to do with pastors, but the principles apply to this story. Not so sure Clyde was so willing at first, but he came around. Thanks again,Emma, for another tale for us.

See All Of Emma’s Stories Here