Celebrating the Life-Saving Heroism of Alaskan Dog Mushers (and their Sled Dogs) – Repost

What an interesting article that James J. S. Johnson wrote on his blog. I thought you might enjoy it. The video of an actual dog slide ride is really challenging.

rockdoveblog

 Celebrating the Life-Saving Heroism of Alaskan Dog Mushers (and their Sled Dogs)

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD, CNHG

sleddogs-alaska-iditarod

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Galatians 6:10

Imagine a celebration of Siberian husky sled dogs, harnessed together as a racing team, guided by their human driver (called a “musher”), zooming across frigid snow trails in rural Alaska:  this is what happens in a commemorative festival/event called the IDITAROD TRAIL RACE.  (See the YouTube video footage below.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI3bliK7R94

The Iditarod is an outdoors reenactment-like celebration of dogsled mushing, to remember the heroic relay race – through day and night, blizzard winds, snow, and ice – to save human lives, during a life-or-death crisis in January-February AD1925, when a highly contagious diphtheria plague struck like a serial killer, menacing the almost-unreachable population of Nome, Alaska.

The crisis…

View original post 1,707 more words

Lily’s New Camera ~ by Emma Foster

Lily’s New Camera ~ by Emma Foster

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) Cockatoo - Brevard Zoo

“Lily” – Galah Cockatoo – Brevard Zoo

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:8 KJV)

In a large zoo in the center of a city, a Galah the zookeepers affectionately called Lily lived contentedly in the parrot/cockatoo exhibit. Lily was very glad to be living in such a nice zoo. One of her favorite activities was meeting all of the people who would pass by the parrot exhibit every day. The crowds that came to the exhibit always noticed Lily because of her bright pink feathers.

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) trying to off juice.

“Lily” curious about camera

One day a man with a large camera stopped by the exhibit to take some pictures of the tropical birds for a magazine. Curious to see what he was holding, Lily flew off the tree branch she was sitting on and landed directly on top of the camera without any fear at all. The man holding the camera and the people beginning to surround him laughed as Lily pecked at the buttons in curiosity. All of a sudden Lily pressed a large button near the top of the camera and took a picture.

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) Hopping on the camera

“Lily” Hopping on the camera

The man holding the camera was surprised at how well the picture turned out and he decided to set the camera down carefully to see what Lily would do next. Lily, however, had no idea what happened when she pressed the button, but she found great enjoyment in pressing it.

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) and Dan

Next, the man picked the camera back up and moved it back and forth as Lily kept pressing the same button to take pictures. Eventually, Lily had created an entire series of photographs that the man and the crowd thought were actually quite good.

Impressed by Lily’s talent, the man decided to take the pictures to the head zookeeper. The man, who called himself Steve Watts, explained that he was a photographer for a local magazine and told the zookeeper that Lily had taken the pictures rather than himself. The zookeeper was happy to hear that Steve was going to put the pictures in the next edition of the magazine. Lily was exited too, even though she had no idea what a magazine was.

"Lily" the Galah and Dan

“Lily” the Galah and Dan (a/k/a Steve Watts)

Steve Watts

A few days later, a crowd even larger than normal gathered around the parrot exhibit to see Lily. Lily was surprised at the amount of people, especially when all of the people clustered around her as the zookeeper brought her out of the exhibit on his arm.

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) Up Close

Lily – Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) Up Close

Most of the people in the crowd were holding up the magazines that they had bought which contained some of the pictures Lily had taken, including one she had taken when she had placed her face in front of the lens. Lily was happy to know that everyone loved her pictures, and looked forward to being able to take more. Fortunately Steve came to the zoo often. He eventually gave some of Lily’s pictures to a local art gallery, which brought increased business to the zoo. People enjoyed coming to the zoo to see Lily. From then on, the parrot exhibit was the busiest section of the zoo. Lily loved the crowds of people, and became one of the most contented bird in the entire zoo.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11 KJV)


Lee’s Addition:

And now you have the birds view of Dan’s Galah encounter. Or, at least, this is Emma’s Version of the incident. Emma, we love it. Thanks you so much for keeping us entertained with your constantly improving tales of birds from their Creator. [Her parents, I, and others have been encouraging her to write about this event.]

See More of Emma’s Stories

See the Galah Encounter Article

Reginald’s Second Christmas

Turkeys in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Turkeys in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Reginald’s Second Christmas ~ by Emma Foster

Christmastime was coming in the forest and Reginald had to prepare all of the turkeys for the heavy winter that was about to arrive. Already flakes of snow were falling onto the ground and the wind was cold. Fortunately, snow meant that there wouldn’t be any hunters around. The turkeys hoped that the winter wouldn’t be as bad as before when they lived closer to the hunters. Luckily, they had been able to travel deeper into the forest early before Thanksgiving to get away from all the hunters.

As the snow began to fall harder, Reginald made sure that the forts he and the other turkeys were building were ready for Christmas. They had made the forts out of different sized tree branches to make three walls and a roof to keep them from the cold wind because there was no time to build forts underground with the snow. Reginald soon found out that Oliver needed some help building his fort because Oliver kept knocking his branches over accidentally. Eventually Reginald had to build Oliver’s fort for him because Oliver kept knocking over the branches whenever he tried to help.

To prevent Oliver from doing any more damage, Reginald brought him farther into the woods in order to look for berries and acorns for the winter. The turkeys Reginald brought with him used their army helmets, which they used to protect themselves, to gather up the acorns and berries to take home. Because Oliver had lost his in the river on the way to their new home at Thanksgiving, Reginald let him borrow his own helmet to use.

Turkey in Snow ©SABaking

Turkey in Snow ©SABaking

At one point, the turkeys came to the river they had crossed before that hadn’t yet frozen over in the winter. Reginald watched as Oliver wandered close to the edge, and before Reginald could stop him Oliver dropped the helmet into the river and the helmet drifted away.

Reginald just shook his head and hopped down the river to try to catch his helmet. But the water rushed faster than he thought it would, and soon Reginald was far away from the other turkeys. Reginald finally found his helmet hanging on a stray branch that leaned over the water, but next to it was another helmet, which Reginald guessed was Oliver’s because he had lost it on the way to their new dwelling.

Turkey Track in Snow ©WikiC

Turkey Track in Snow ©WikiC

Reginald took both of the helmets home and made sure that Oliver didn’t see his old one. Eventually the snow began to fall hard so the turkeys had to stay in their forts. But on Christmas morning Reginald built a fire to melt the snow away so the turkeys could exchange their Christmas presents. Most of the presents were made out of branches to make rakes so each of the turkeys could keep the snow out of their forts. But Reginald gave Oliver his old helmet back as a Christmas present. Oliver was so happy he accidentally knocked over his fort again. Reginald just shook his head.

In the end the turkeys were very happy in their new homes, even though there was a lot of snow in that part of the forest. Fortunately, that meant that no hunters were nearby. But even though no hunters were seen Oliver still wore his helmet everywhere, at least until he dropped it in the river again for Reginald to retrieve.

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“How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?” (Job 26:2 KJV)

“They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” (Isaiah 41:6 KJV)


Lee’s Addition:

Emma, that is another great story in the life of Reginald. He is proving himself to be quite a leader and a helper to those in need. Especially, Oliver.

Keep up the great articles. We are all enjoying them as your writing just keeps improving. Lord’s Blessings as you finish up your Senior Year in High School in just a few more months.

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More of Emma’s Stories

Reginald The Turkey Commander – Part 3

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Reginald The Turkey Commander – Part 3

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix

Reginald the Turkey Commander – Part 3  ~~ By Emma Foster

Once again Thanksgiving was coming and Reginald was keeping watch with the rest of his turkey friends to see if any hunters were nearby his home in the woods. This year Reginald and most of the other turkeys had congregated together to determine whether or not they should migrate to another location deeper in the woods. They had kept themselves hidden for the entire year but Reginald had seen several hunters nearby.

Eventually Reginald and the other turkeys decided that it would be best if they traveled deeper into the forest to keep away from the hunters. Reginald decided that they should all travel south where the forest was thicker and the trees were taller. One by one the turkeys all put on their army helmets to sneak off farther south. But Reginald’s cousin, Oliver, had some difficulty putting on his helmet. He kept putting it on backwards. Reginald simply shook his head and spent a good ten minutes trying to pry the helmet off Oliver’s head before finally it popped off.

Reginald set off with the rest of the turkeys behind him. Oliver was the last out of all the turkeys, convinced that a hunter might come out at any moment. He assumed it would be better if he kept watch behind all of them.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey heading out

The turkeys trekked all day long. At one point a large old tree tipped over and crashed nearby. Oliver, thinking it was a gunshot, began to run around gobbling hysterically. Reginald had to run after him and try to calm him down so the hunters wouldn’t hear Oliver gobbling loudly. After some time Reginald was able to explain in exasperation to Oliver that the noise had only come from a tree. To keep Oliver from getting into any more trouble, Reginald simply shook his head and placed Oliver next to him for the rest of the trip.

WildTurkey(Meleagrisgallopavo) Flock ©WikiC

WildTurkey(Meleagris gallopavo) Flock ©WikiC

Eventually the turkeys came upon a wide rushing river. Lying across the river was a fallen tree trunk that the turkeys could easily use to cross. In single file the turkeys marched on the log across the river. Reginald and Oliver went last, and when they were both halfway across Oliver slipped and fell into the river.

Oliver continued to gobble loudly and flap his wings as the turkeys ran down the bank after him. One of the turkeys grabbed a stray branch and held it out for him. Oliver grabbed the branch and, with the help of Reginald, was dragged back to shore, soaking wet and without his army helmet. Reginald simply shook his head and marched on.

WildTurkey(Meleagrisgallopavo) Flock ©OhioDNR

WildTurkey(Meleagris gallopavo) Flock ©OhioDNR

Reginald led the other turkeys farther into the forest, not wasting time to let Oliver dry off. Oliver did have time to dry off late that night when Reginald and the other turkeys built a small fire deep in the forest. They were sure to make the fire just big enough so that no hunters would see them.

After a lengthy discussion, the turkeys decided that this part of the forest was just the right place to hide from the hunters that Thanksgiving. Once again Reginald was able to keep the turkeys safe and they were able to celebrate their Thanksgiving without fear of the hunters. Even Oliver was able to celebrate Thanksgiving although he caught a cold from getting wet. As for the hunters, in order to find any turkey at all they had to hunt at the very other end of the forest far away from Reginald and his friends. Once again, the turkey’s journey had been a success.

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) at LPZ

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) Resting by Lee at LPZoo

“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 [even turkeys]; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

“Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” (Isaiah 55:4 KJV)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Praise the Lord For All His Blessings!

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We have another delightful and interesting story about Reginald, the Commander Turkey from Emma. If you have missed his other adventures, you can read them here:

Reginald, Turkey Commander

Reginald the Turkey Commander on Christmas

More of Emma’s Stories

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Abigail and the Pumpkin Carving Contest

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Female-©WikiC

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Female-©WikiC

Abigail and the Pumpkin Carving Contest ~ by Emma Foster

Once there was a small Robin named Abigail who lived in a tiny nest in a massive oak tree by a pumpkin patch. As autumn steadily approached, more and more red and yellow leaves fell into Abigail’s nest. Every day Abigail pushed them off down into the pumpkin patch on top of the growing pumpkins. Eventually, Abigail noticed that most of the pumpkins had grown really large and the leaves no longer covered them up.

pumpkins-small-nipomo-pumpkin-patch

Several families began coming to the pumpkin patch near Abigail’s nest. The parents picked heavy round pumpkins to take home to carve. Sometimes the owners of the pumpkin patch would come and teach some of the children how to carve a small pumpkin of their very own. One day Abigail decided that she should carve her own pumpkin for Halloween.

Flapping down into the pumpkin patch, Abigail surveyed a small pumpkin left alone in the corner. Carefully watching to see how the kids carved their pumpkins with small knives, Abigail began to carefully peck with her beak to make a small hole. She decided that this would be the eye. Abigail pecked out an identical hole next to it and another hole underneath the two, making the other eye and nose. Lastly, Abigail pecked out a long wide oval to substitute as the mouth. But looking around, she noticed that several children were cutting a hole in the top of their pumpkins and pulling out seeds. Abigail followed them, pecking until she could pull off the top by the stem with her beak. Abigail began pulling out gobs of seeds and pumpkin insides with her beak. This proved to be her favorite part because of how much she loved pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkins Tasty Bird ©Nipomo Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins Tasty Bird ©Nipomo Pumpkin Patch

After triumphantly finishing her pumpkin, Abigail realized how late it was. Almost everyone had already gone, but one of the owners was nailing a sign up on a telephone pole. Flying over to it, Abigail read the sign. The sign read: PUMPKIN CARVING CONTEST THIS SATURDAY.

Abigail grew excited. Today was Monday. If she began practicing, she could carve a pumpkin good enough to enter the contest.

Wind up Bird Pumpkin ©Daneof5683

Wind up Bird Pumpkin ©Daneof5683

For the next several days, Abigail spent most of the day carving pumpkins until pumpkins with all kinds of faces were scattered about the pumpkin patch. When the contest day arrived, Abigail rolled her best-carved pumpkin over to the judges who had gathered near the crowd as the contest began.

Everyone in the crowd was astonished that a bird had entered a carved pumpkin in the contest, but the contest continued as planned. Abigail waited patiently as the judges examined each of the carved pumpkins by each of the participants, and eventually the winner of the contest was called. Abigail did not win the contest, but she had fun anyway. She considered the most fun part of the day was giving away the rest of her carved pumpkins to each of the contestants.

Pumpkin Inspector came by to check out Abrigail's Pumpkins.

Pumpkin Inspector came by to check out Abigail’s Pumpkins.

From then on, Abigail entered the contest every year. She even won a few times. She was sure to carve a pumpkin for each of the contestants in the contest whether she won or not. For Abigail, the best part of carving the pumpkins and giving them away was being able to eat the pumpkin seeds.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) ©Laura Erickson

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) ©Laura Erickson

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 KJV)

(Photos added by Lee. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist these photos. I just imagine Abigail’s Pumpkins had to be rather fancy.)

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See Emma’s Other Stories

Fly Away: Tips on Getting Started with Bird Photography

Fly Away: Tips on Getting Started with Bird Photography

~ by Joan “Jones” Kissler

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

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? – Matthew 6:26

Are you enjoying the newfound appreciation for life, nature, and God’s undying love that birdwatching has taught you? Take it to the next level by documenting it through photography. But do not take just any photo—bring out the exquisite beauty of birds with these bird photography tips for beginners:

First things first: get the right equipment

Birds are God’s work of art. So make sure you get the gear that allows you to easily glorify the Great Artist through your photos. Most bird photographers use a DSLR camera since its interchangeable lenses feature gives more control. For beginners, experts suggest using at least a 20mm lens.

Telephoto lenses allow you to capture every detail of a bird in its full glory. Image-stabilized lenses enable shooting in low-light conditions and while the bird is in motion. If you are not ready yet to shoot photos without support, you can use a monopod, a portable alternative to the heavy, bulky tripod.

When using your DSLR, make sure to set it to aperture-priority mode for the flexibility of a wide aperture and the ability to set the shutter speed to your desired setting.

On the other hand, some enthusiasts use smartphones for bird photography. They use a technique called digiscoping, which is combining a smartphone camera with a spotting scope. For on-the-go shooting, I recommend using an adapter to combine your phone and the spotting scope, so you can easily snap a photo instead of painstakingly trying to hold up your phone correctly against the the spotting scope. Also, you can install some apps and maximize your camera phone’s built-in features to churn out better-quality photos.

Parakeet being photographed by Phone

Parakeet being photographed by Phone

Know your birds

You do not have to look far to know where to find birds as your next subject. Just open your Bible, and you will find the answers:

  • In trees (Psalm 104:17, Ezekiel 31:6)
  • On the ground (Deuteronomy 22:6)
  • In clefts of rocks (Num 224:21; Jeremiah 48:28)
  • In deserted cities (Isaiah 34:15)
  • Under the roofs of houses (Psalm 84:3)

Read up on the behavior and habitat of different kinds of birds so that you will know how to get them to come to you or to get as close to them as possible.

If that is not your style, join an expert birder in taking photos. You will definitely pick up some pointers on which birds come out during which time and season, where they usually live and breed, and what they usually eat.

Feed them as the Father would

The Great Creator cares for birds so much that He makes sure that they are always fed well, as stated in Matthew 6:26. Show your compassion for these creatures by giving them something to eat when you are photographing them on location.

To make birds feel naturally at home, plant some shrubs and trees they normally feed on in your garden or lawn. For instance, expert photographer Matt Mcray planted Rose of Sharon and hibiscus to attract Ruby-throated hummingbirds to his yard.

You can also strategically put bird feeders where you want to shoot your subject. Just remember to place them on the side from where you’ll be taking the shot to keep the feeders off the frame. Also ensure good natural lighting in the area where you will stage your shots.

Make them feel safe

God created birds to be free, so avoid threatening their sense of freedom and respect their need to hop from one space to another and fly.

One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is to haphazardly approach their subject and click on the shutter button in haste. This normally ends up with the bird flying away and the shot being ruined.

To keep this from happening, remember these tips:

  • Do not disturb the birds in their natural habitat.
  • Do not come too near their nests, especially when their nestlings are there.
  • Give them ample breathing room so that they won’t feel threatened in your presence.
  • Do not shoot immediately.

Here are some tips on taking your first successful photo:

  • Go where the birds feed or drink.
  • Walk as calmly and quietly as possible around the birds.
  • Repeat for days or weeks until the birds get used to your presence (Yes, patience is a virtue).

After repeating these steps for quite some time, your subjects will eventually warm up to you, and you will be able to take several shots easily.

Capturing a shot of a creature as elusive as a bird reminds us of the gift of freedom that God bestows upon us. With the ups and downs of everyday life, it can be easy to forget that we are free. May your foray into bird photography serve as a constant reminder that we are.

Lee’s Addition:

Joan contacted me about putting an article on the blog. After reviewing this article, I think you will find this article fits well with the objectives of our blog. To honor our Lord. Thanks, Joan, and I trust that you will provide us with more interesting articles like this.

Birdwathcing Tips

 

Patty Becomes a Teacher ~ by Emma Foster

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) ©WikiC Female -2 young

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) ©WikiC Female -2 young

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (Job 12:7 KJV)

Patty Becomes a Teacher ~ by Emma Foster

Once there was a finch named Patty who lived in a large oak tree by an elementary school. She had built her nest up in one of the highest branches of the old oak tree so she could watch all of the students in the elementary school go out and play for recess and come back inside for class.

One day Patty decided that she would teach her own children different subjects just like the teachers in the school. In order to accomplish this, Patty watched the teachers every day through the window just to see what they taught. However, most of the subjects the teachers taught didn’t apply to her. For example, a bird wouldn’t have any reason to learn math.

Patty decided that her children should be taught subjects that birds would learn as they grew up. By now, they both already knew how to fly, but Patty knew her children would have to learn other things as well.

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Nest ©Animalspot

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Nest ©Animalspot

Patty began to teach her two children, Maggie and Robert, on Monday because Patty noticed how school always began on Mondays. Her first class was Advanced Nest Building, as Patty called it, which taught Maggie and Robert how to build extravagant nests that could span an entire tree branch. Patty had Maggie and Robert follow her around and explained to them what type of sticks and moss to pick up to make their nests large and sturdy so that they didn’t break apart in the rain.

Birds Learning About Worms ©BirdsOutsideMyWindow

The next class Patty taught Maggie and Robert was what Patty titled Advanced Worm Catching. Maggie and Robert watched their mother sit on top of a tree branch before swooping down to catch a large round worm. Throughout the week, Patty taught them how to catch worms at the right time and place and added that the best time to catch them was after it rained.

The third class Patty taught them was Self Defense, in case something ever attacked the nest. One day, a squirrel crawled up the tree in search of some acorns and Maggie and Robert watched as Patty batted the squirrel away with her wings. They were sure their mother must have done a good job because a teacher from inside the school opened up the window to see what was making all of the racket outside.

Bird Chasing Squirrel ©Houston 2 - Mark Rogerson

Bird Chasing Squirrel ©Houston 2 – Mark Rogerson

Patty was sure to teach Maggie and Robert these subjects every day just like the teachers did with the students at school. When Maggie and Robert grew up they built their own nests just like Patty taught them in Advanced Nest Building. And when Maggie and Robert had children of their own they taught them the same things that Patty had taught long before so that they knew how to catch good worms, build large nests, and keep their young protected.

The teachers at the school never understood where the loud squawking was coming from inside the large oak tree, but Patty knew it was her grandchildren practicing in case a squirrel ever climbed the tree. Patty felt very proud that her children and grandchildren thought that she had done a good job as a teacher.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalms 32:8 KJV)


Lee’s Addition:

Wow, Emma! Your stories just keep getting better all the time. Lord bless you as journey through your Senior year in High School. May you continue to develop your writing abilities the Lord has given you.

(Photos and verses added by Lee [that is why the pictures don’t exactly match the birds in the story])

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More of Emma’s great stories. You can see her steady development in her Bird Tales.

Watch for a new page for Emma’s Stories in the left menu soon. We need to honor her with her own page. She has well earned it.

UPDATE: Just Add A New Page For Emma – – Emma’s Stories

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Frank’s Driving Lesson – by Emma Foster

 

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) by Peter Ericsson

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) by Peter Ericsson

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Proverbs 29:23 KJV)

Once there was a small bird who lived in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. His name was Frank. Frank was a Green Broadbill, and originally Frank had lived in Asia before being taken to the zoo. Frank was happy because he was kept in an exhibit with many interesting birds just like himself. Because he had such a bright green color, people would often find him interesting to search for in the exhibit.

Frank would often watch the different people who came to the zoo. Many times people would take pictures of him because they had never seen a bird like him before. Frank enjoyed it when people noticed him. Most of the time he would fly around the exhibit to different high spots for people to capture nice shots of him. Other times Frank would fly really close to the people.

But sometimes Frank became tired of flying around. He thought that maybe there could be another way for him to get about.

One day Frank was sitting on a branch high up in the exhibit so he could see a large part of the zoo. He watched one of the workers carefully drive a golf cart with buckets of food to feed the animals. Frank suddenly had an idea. If he were to drive the golf cart around, people were bound to notice him even more than they did already.

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) lesser ©©coracii

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) lesser ©©coracii

Frank watched carefully as the worker stopped the golf cart in front of his exhibit. He waited until after the worker had fed all of the birds and watched as the worker started the golf cart up again and drove away. It seemed simple enough to drive.

The next day Frank waited patiently as the worker came back to feed the birds once again. Once Frank was sure the worker wasn’t looking, he flew over to the golf cart and twisted the keys the way he had seen the worker do the day before. He flew down and pressed the pedal to the right like he had seen. The golf cart shot forward a little bit. Frank began flying back and forth rapidly in order to steer and press the pedal. Unfortunately, he didn’t get very far before the worker noticed the golf cart had begun to drift forward. The worker stopped the cart and shooed Frank out. Frank flew back to his branch. His plan hadn’t worked very well.

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) ©WikiC

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) ©WikiC

However the next day Frank woke up to see many different people gathering around him. They were all incredibly excited and were taking multiple pictures of him. A news reporter was filming footage of the entire spectacle explaining to the camera how Frank had been seen driving a golf cart around the zoo. The news reporter explained that someone had taken a picture of Frank driving the cart and had sent it to the local newspaper. The news reporters had discovered it and decided to do a story on it.

After hearing the reporter, Frank understood what was going on and was extremely happy. He was famous.

But eventually the crowds stopped coming. Frank realized, however, that even after the big story the same people would still come to watch him. He decided he was appreciated no matter what. From then on, Frank wouldn’t try to do anything unusual so people would notice him, especially driving golf carts.


Lee’s Addition:

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

Well, Emma, you have done it again. What a delightful story, especially, because Broadbills are some of my most favorite birds. We saw a Green Broadbill in the Wings of Asia at Zoo Miami. He was very friendly, like your Frank. Set right out near us. We weren’t in a golf cart, but maybe he was watching our cameras. Maybe he was thinking that taking pictures would be easier than driving.

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) by Lee at ZM 2014

Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis) by Lee at ZM 2014

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More of Emma Foster’s Bird Tales

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Georgina Goes on Summer Vacation – by Emma Foster

Northern Mockingbird Viera Wetlands

Northern Mockingbird Viera Wetlands

Georgina Goes on Summer Vacation

~ by Emma Foster

There once was a Mockingbird named Georgina who lived in a large bustling city in the south. She had built her nest on top of a street light in the middle of a busy street. Every day, Georgina would watch the busy cars drive by as they beeped their horns. The scenery was nice during the winter, which was always mild, but Georgina never liked the city during the summertime. It was too hot and crowded for her.

Every day, since Georgina was a mockingbird, she would try to mimic the sounds that she heard in the city all of the time. But the hotter it became, the more Georgina grew tired of all the noises in the city and the hard work of mimicking them.

It was on one very busy, very hot day that Georgina decided that she needed a vacation. She decided that it would have to be somewhere cool and near the ocean. First she needed a map.

Georgina was flying around one day when she found a quarter that someone had dropped on the sidewalk. Georgina picked it up in her beak and used to it buy a map by the newspaper stand.

When Georgina flew back to her nest above the busy street, she searched the map looking for a place that seemed like a good vacation spot. Eventually she decided that she needed to fly north because it was colder up north no matter what time of the year.

Georgina left the busy city early one morning to fly north. She decided that she would come back in a few weeks when it was sure to not be as hot. For now, it was cool because it was early in the morning.

Georgina guessed that if she followed the map she would be able to travel farther up north in the direction she wanted to fly. She would stop when it became cold enough.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) At Sunset Beach NC ©WikiC

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) At Sunset Beach NC ©WikiC

After a few days, the weather was still hot, but it was nice because Georgina was flying close to a beach. Georgina settled on top of a tall palm tree and made her nest out of broken sticks and twigs. She watched the waves ripple back and forth. Seagulls flew in all directions and the palm trees swayed. Georgina liked the peace and quiet. This was much better than the city.

But after a while, Georgina began to become uncomfortable. She had gone on vacation to get away from the noises of the city, but the ocean was pretty noisy too. Georgina mimicked a lot of the noises of the beach, but she eventually began to get tired of it. It was really hot near the beach as well. She didn’t remember mockingbirds ever going to the beach, and the heat was probably why. Georgina began to miss the city and all of its noises.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) In Flight ©Flickr Tom Wicker

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) In Flight ©Flickr Tom Wicker

Georgina decided it was time to fly back to the city. As she began traveling back, the weather didn’t seem as hot as she remembered it to be. When she flew back to her nest on top of the street light, the weather already felt cooler in the city.

Georgina decided she would never go back to the beach. She would always be content where she was. Even if the summer was a little uncomfortable in the city with all the people, Georgina would stay all year round. And the next time she decided to travel, Georgina would buy a travel magazine.

THE END


Lee’s Addition:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

Great story, Emma. Many times humans act like Georgina and become discouraged with how things are. They think like the cattle. They think the “grass is greener on the other side.” Maybe a nest in a tree rather than on a street light. Keep up the great stories. We are all enjoying them.

See more of Emma’s stories along with some of our other guest writers.

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The Owl’s Library – By Emma Foster

Western Barn Owl (Tyto alba) by Daves BirdingPix

Western Barn Owl (Tyto alba) by Daves BirdingPix

The Owl’s Library

By Emma Foster

Once there was an owl who lived in the attic of a library. His name was Leonard and his cousin’s name was Art. One day Leonard received a letter from Art telling him that Art had just published his own book.

Leonard watched people come and go to and from the library every day checking out different kinds of books. Leonard decided that it would be a great idea to have his own library. Then he could watch people check out books every day, and Art’s book could be checked out every day as well.

Leonard had to find some land for sale first. He flew to the library Art lived in, and asked for his help. Art told him how the librarian who owned the library he lived in was retiring and had already put the place up for sale. If Leonard couldn’t buy this library, Art wouldn’t have any place to live.

So Leonard went to the librarian. The librarian, Frank, said that he was going to retire and someone else would have to buy the property because he was in so much debt.
Leonard and Art got together and decided to hold a fundraiser to save the library. They began by posting flyers all over town. The fundraiser would be held that Saturday at the library. Leonard and Art decided that they would have a race to raise money for it. Many people who lived nearby, saw the sign, and decided they would run in the race.

On that Saturday, all the people, including many birds, made their way to the starting line to start running the race. Everyone would run or fly around the entire library and down several streets downtown nearby.

Mixed Flock of birds flying in a V Formation- Put together- ©Creative Commons

Mixed Flock of birds flying in a V Formation- Put together- ©Creative Commons

Art blew the whistle and Leonard watched excitedly s everyone started running as fast as they could. The birds flew up above the buildings to watch everyone run around the library and up the next street. They flew above them to cheer the runners on.

Leonard was excited to see how much money they had raised at the end of the day, so the race seemed to take a really long time. When the first runners ran around the corner to the finish line, Leonard flew after them for the rest if the day.

Barn Owl at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

Barn Owl at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

Everyone cheered when Leonard flew past the finish line with the first runner. When all of the donations were counted up, the total was ten thousand dollars, which was more than enough to keep the library open.

Frank decided that he would still retire, but since Leonard was so excited about keeping the library open, he decided to let Leonard run the library for him when he retired.
Leonard was really happy to run the library, and Art was happy that he would be living in the same library. Every day, Leonard would help people check out books while Art continued to write more books. Both Leonard and Art couldn’t have been happier, especially since they were able to save the library.

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And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28 KJV)

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psalms 104:24 KJV)

Well, Emma has given us another enjoyable story to enjoy. I assume that since Leonard and Art will both be living in the library, they will become even “Wiser Owls.”

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Other Articles by Emma Foster

Wordless Birds

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The Substitute Teacher by Emma Foster

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) by Lee at Gatorland

The Substitute Teacher

~ by Emma Foster

Once there was an elementary school in the middle of Florida. The third grade class of that school had a class pet parrot named Beatrice. Every day, Beatrice would sit and watch as the teacher, Miss Kendall, taught the class. During recess, however, Beatrice would sneak over to the teacher’s desk and read over all of the material. She wanted to not only know what was being taught, but also wanted to know how to teach it to the class.

Beatrice wanted to be sure that she knew everything for Thursday. This was because Miss Kendall was going to be gone on Thursday and Friday for jury duty, and Beatrice was chosen by the school board to teach the class because she was the only one who knew the material so well.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

On Thursday, when all of the third grade class entered into the classroom, they were surprised to find that Miss Kendall wasn’t there. Instead, Beatrice was sitting on top of her desk. Each of the students sat down and waited as Beatrice called the role. After she finished, Beatrice had the class say the pledge of allegiance like they did every morning, and she whistled the “Star Spangled Banner” along with the class afterwards.

Because Beatrice was a parrot, she was able to explain to the class why she was substituting for the day, and moved onto the first subject of the day: reading. Beatrice had the entire class read a few pages in the book they were supposed to read for a book report. During that time, Beatrice read over all that she had to do that day. The next subject was penmanship. This was the tricky part because Beatrice had to use her talons. She was able to shakily write the first few letters of the alphabet on the board. The class did much better than she did.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

Finally it was time for lunch. Beatrice made sure all of the class stayed in a line as they walked down to the cafeteria. She brought along the crackers Miss Kendall kept in her desk for her and ate them there. When lunch was over, Beatrice let all of the third grade class go outside to the playground. She climbed the monkey bars upside down; the class considered this the best part of the day so far.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw by Dan at Gatorland

Then Beatrice and the class came back inside for science. This week was Botany. Because Beatrice used to live in the Amazon before coming to America to become the class pet, she was able to tell them all about the different plants in the jungle.

The last subject of the day was math. This was the students’ least favorite subject. Fortunately, the best Beatrice could do when it came to math was count to five, so it was going to be difficult teaching the class anything. The students didn’t mind, however. Beatrice would have to explain to Miss Kendall that they didn’t get much done.

When the class was dismissed they all told their parents when their parents picked them up how much fun they had, and Beatrice believed she had done a good job. She had the feeling that when she taught tomorrow it would be even better than the first day. And when Miss Kendall returned, she was surprised when the entire class asked if she could repeat jury duty again next week.


Lee’s Addition:

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

Thanks, Emma, for another delightful story. Birds are very capable of teaching us about their great Creator. Maybe not quite in a classroom like Beatrice, but still, they can be teachers to humans. Those who study birds and other animals, can see the Hand of God at work, if their eyes are open.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:9-10 KJV)

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See more of Emma’s delightful stories

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Wordless Toucan

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The Great Roadrunner Race by Emma Foster

Roadrunner at Living Desert Zoo CA by Lee

Greater Roadrunner at Living Desert Zoo CA by Lee

The Great Roadrunner Race

~ by Emma Foster

In the desert far away, there lived a group of roadrunners. Each of the roadrunners lived in a cactus that he had neatly decorated for himself. One of the roadrunners was named Harold, and he was the smallest roadrunner of all.

Every year, all of the roadrunners would gather together and plan when they would have their special race. This was usually in the third month of the year. This race was incredibly important to all the roadrunners because it was the longest race they ran each year.

Harold usually wasn’t allowed to be in the race because he was so small. This year, however, he decided he was going to prove himself.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) Reinier Munguia

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) Reinier Munguia

When all of the older roadrunners decided on a date for the race, they were sure to tell all of the other roadrunners in their region of the desert. It was a couple of weeks before the race, so Harold decided to start training himself.

Harold ran as fast and as far as he could for two weeks. Every day he would go a little farther and a little faster. Finally, Harold was sure he was ready for the race, but he still didn’t know if he would win because he had seen the other roadrunners run, and they all had longer legs.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) by Daves BirdingPix

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) by Daves BirdingPix

On the day of the race, all of the roadrunners gathered around to watch the race. Most of the roadrunners disapproved of Harold being in the race because of his size and how small he was, but Harold still took his place at the starting line. Each of the roadrunners were given a number to wear during the race. One of the roadrunners stood to the side and blew a whistle.

Harold started running as fast as he could. He was actually surprised to see that he was passing other roadrunners. One of the fastest roadrunners was still ahead of him. They were both reaching the halfway point of the race. All of the roadrunners on the sidelines were cheering them on.

Harold was steadily gaining on the other roadrunner. He was getting tired, but he wasn’t about to give up.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Nathan Davis Bing

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Nathan Davis Bing

The finish line was approaching. In a few minutes Harold and the opposing roadrunner would cross the finish line.

Harold ran as fast as he could. He pushed himself harder as they neared the finish line. The other roadrunner began to pass behind him. The finish line was getting closer. Everyone was cheering. Harold crossed the finish line and all of the roadrunners gathered around to congratulate him.

From that year on, Harold entered the race every year, and he became one of the fastest roadrunners in the desert as he grew up.

Roadrunner - Looney Tunes ”©WikiC

Roadrunner – Looney Tunes ”©WikiC

The End


Lee’s Addition:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.(1 Corinthians 9:24 KJV)

Emma, that is another fantastic story. I was cheering for Harold all the way.

Sorry, but I couldn’t help but put that cartoon roadrunner in. That is one of the benefits of being the editor.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Timothy 4:7 KJV)

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See more of Emma’s delightful stories

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Kids, You Are Special

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