Garden Longing

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where… even as the garden of the Lord” Genesis 13:10

All winter, we long for spring and the day we can get back to dressing and keeping our backyard gardens. We feel a strong inward desire to rejuvenate our backyard bird sanctuaries for the return of our beloved hummingbirds and other avian friends. But why is there such an affinity within us for gardens?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird in my backyard garden; Clarke County, Georgia. July, 2014. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

In the Old Testament book of Genesis, the nomads Abraham and his nephew decide to split up and settle down. In making his choice of a new homeland, Lot looks towards the plains of Jordan and sees a fertile land “like the garden of the Lord” (Genesis 13:10). That same internal “garden longing” in his heart was triggered and leads Lot east.

I believe our love of gardens stems from a longing to return to Eden, that perfect state of beauty and fellowship with our Creator that man enjoyed in the beginning; where man walked with God “in the garden in the cool of the day”. When Adam’s eyes were opened, his first sight was a garden with “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.” Our love of gardens stems from a desire to return to Eden, to return to a place that place of paradise that was lost through sin.

Even though we see disease, decay and corruption in this world today, one day we will return to paradise. As the story of this present age comes to its final chapter, a new book will be written. One where we will see a new heaven and a new earth brought forth (Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1). Until then, let us enjoy our backyard gardens as a small piece of Eden; as a reminder of the blessed and perfect garden in world yet to come. As you till your soil with your hands, remember in your heart that one day, “thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s 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.

Halting the Plague

And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Numbers 16:46-50

Turkey Vulture; Clarke County, Georgia. June 2015. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

What was that created for?

God created all things, and He created all things with a purpose.  One critter with a disgusting duty is the vulture. Our roads are often littered with the poor critters that didn’t make it across alive. Standing around these piles are a macabre host of ominous black Vultures.

It is no doubt for this disgusting habit that God pronounced, “These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard”. (Leviticus 11:13)  I’m sure none would argue with God and substitute a Turkey Vulture for a Thanksgiving Turkey!

Although vultures carry the reputation of being nasty, disease and death spreading creatures, the opposite is true. Vultures help decrease the spread of disease. Without vultures, animal corpses would litter the landscape, contaminate the water supplies and disease could spread without check. Vultures are known as “dead-end hosts” and do not further spread diseases.

Halting the Plague

From this practical disease-reducing design, the vulture speaks a valuable lesson. We are seeing a virus affect the entire planet. But there is a plague far worse than Coronavirus; a plague that has killed, and will kill, every living person. The plague is called sin! With the entrance of sin, Satan has hijacked God’s perfect creation and not only mutated viruses to cause things like Coronavirus, but leads our lives, spiritually and physically, down a road of decay and death.

In the book of Numbers, because of the sin of rebellion, a plague began to spread among the people (please, I am not saying Coronavirus is God-unleashed plague). To end the plague, God told Aaron to light a censor and bring the smoking incense (representing prayer) between the diseased and the living. Aaron’s quick, unquestioning acceptance of his job stopped the spread from the corpses to the people. “And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.”

Black Vulture. Clarke County, Georgia. January, 2018. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

A Pandemic of Revival

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose…

We Christians are called to halt the plague of sin. Like Aaron with his flaming censer, we are to place ourselves in front of the tide of advancing sin and decay; to “stand between the living and the dead” and preach the cleansing Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Coronavirus outbreak is an opportunity to share with those in fear about the comfort through salvation. Let this virus pandemic become a pandemic of Revival! Be wise and take precautions, but let us serve those in need during this time and evangelize as we never have before! And even if confined at home, continue to pray in earnest.

We can halt the plague of sin by simple obedience to the will of God. But will God find us, like the vultures, ready and willing to “do the dirty work” which He has assigned us? If a vulture can stick his face in a putrid carcass without complaint, can we not be willing to do the will of God? If Jesus can silently accept the cross shouldn’t we accept any job which always works to the good in our lives? We can halt the plague of sin and death when we accept and carry out our God-assigned job descriptions.


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

Why Red?

My backyard bird feeder is always alive with flashes of red. The Northern Cardinals are daily visitors for free helpings of sunflower seeds. As one catches my eye, I ponder, why red?

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Red Northern Cardinal Bird

Northern Cardinal; Clarke County, GA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Most animals blend into their surroundings. But not the Cardinal. He flashes about in a scarlet garment heralding his presence for all to see. Why would a small bird, an easy prey, want to wear such colors? As I meditate what creation would speak, red conjures two images: the stain of sin and the source of salvation.

THE STAIN OF SIN…

Red catches our attention, and normally for something of which we must take heed. We use it on our warning signs and labels; red hangs at every intersection to prevent disorderly collisions.

In Isaiah 1:18, red is used as a bold simile illustrating the blatant sins of the people. All that they do and say is stained with the crimson of sin. Although sin may blend in as the “norm of society”, it stands out to God’s eyes. Isaiah the preacher points out this scarlet warning sign, and begs the people to heed the warning and repent.

THE SOURCE OF SALVATION…

But another profound Biblical use of the color red is that of blood. From the blood of Abel, through the atoning sacrifices of the Israelites; of the thread in the window which saved Rahab and her entire family, to the saving Blood shed upon Calvary’s cross, the entire Bible is stained red with blood.

Though normally a gruesome sight for most, the red blood of the Bible is hope; it is cleansing. The sins of the people of Isaiah’s day stand out like red stained clothing. But it is the red colored blood of the new covenant which is able to remove that stain.

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”
Revelation 1:5

Though I may be pushing things by stretching the color of a bird into a mini-sermon, I’d rather have the red Northern Cardinal remind of the warning of sin and of the hope of salvation, than to stand for a red-robed religious official for whom it is said the Cardinal is named!


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

This is My Name Forever

Lee’s last post, World Bird Name Changes, updated us on the recent changes published by the IOC. These changes are often a simplification of obscure Latin or Greek-based words, which many birders tend to dismiss anyway. But it got me pondering, what’s in a name?

Exodus 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses… this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper; Walton County, GA. May, 2018. A quick study of its scientific name reveals it is the “spotted” (macularia) “coast-dweller” (actitus). ©www.williamwisephoto.com

“It’s all Greek to me!”

In the book, Latin for Bird Lovers, Roger Lederer and Carol Burr write, “Bird enthusiasts don’t often pay much attention to scientific names, but… the genus and species name may describe the birds’ color, pattern, size, or parts of the body; the name of an ornithologist; where it is found; its behavior; or some characteristic.” It only takes a few minutes of study to find out why a certain bird was given a “hard” name. And that short study can help fix that bird’s name and character in your mind forever!

For example, in the recent IOC changes, the Greek-based Melidectes became “Honeyeaters”. But isn’t this just an unnecessary dumbing-down? Only a few minutes’ research and one finds that meli means “honey”, and dectes means “beggar”. From this short word study, we find that Melidectes not only eats honey, but that he’s got an addiction for honey that keeps him begging! Now, after the simplification, he just simply “eats honey”.

“This is My Name”

So what’s my point? While this simplification of bird names may not have huge ramifications in life, what happens when this same laziness is brought to the Bible? Just like the Latin and Greek-based names for birds, the Hebrew names of God are hugely descriptive. They describe an aspect of His character, actions or personality.

When we simplify Elohim to “God”, we miss the nuance that this personal name for the One True God is actually plural in form! With that simple truth revealed, the trinity in Genesis 1:26 is further elucidated: “And God (Elohim, the plural God) said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”.

Instead of just knowing that our God is a healer, how about making a short study of Jehovah-Repheka? Take a few minutes to study why He’s called Jehovah-Jireh and forever know that you won’t fall short of needs in God. Let study reveal to you that Jehovah-Nissi will lift your weary arms and raise a victory banner over your enemies! There are so many more character-revealing names for God throughout Scripture if you’ll take the time to study.

So, maybe it is no big deal that the descriptive Melidectes is now a simple Honeyeater. But what do we miss when we dumb things down and Jehovah becomes “Lord”, and Adoni becomes “Lord”, and Elohim becomes “God”, and El Shaddai becomes “God”. What message are we sending about thought, research and education when we simplify bird names? And what powerful aspects of our Creator’s character are we missing when we simplify the divine names for the purpose of “clarity”?


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

Stressed? Pray and Go Birding!

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.” ​

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow; Walton County, Georgia. February, 2019 http://www.williamwisephoto.com

What do you do when life has you down? Pray and go birding! When your job is stretching your stamina to the breaking point? Pray and go birding! When you need to relax and shake off the nerves? Pray and go birding! When the next little thing will tip your headache to a migraine? Pray and go birding!

There is no need for a scientific study to tell me that getting outdoors is a way to reduce stress. There is no need to write a paper about how getting away from a ringing phone will calm my nerves; how unplugging from email and social media will lower my blood pressure; how fresh air will clear my lungs and refresh my mind. I don’t need a scientific study because I know first-hand!

There isn’t a need for the Mayo Clinic to tell me the supernatural benefits of prayer. There is no need for them to post a blog telling me that having a purpose in life reduces depression; that prayer and meditation produces actual physical benefits to my brain; that focusing outside myself can alleviate worry and fear. I don’t need that blog because I know first-hand!

Try it sometime. Stop reading this blog, close your browser, push back the chair and walk out the door. Talk to God; cast your concerns at His feet; enjoy this world that He created. You just might get addicted. I know because I go there every day. So, pray and go birding!


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

Voices that Carry

Joshua 6:20 “…and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, and they took the city.”

It is political season in the United States. From now until November all the media outlets will be saturated with political ads as every advocate for every cause will be projecting their voices in an effort to be heard. Some days, I just have to pull away from all those voices and go for a birding walk. But as a Christian, should I pull away? Should I remain silent?

As I stepped outdoors to get away, my attention was immediately drawn to a noisy bird circling overhead; his loud voice was carrying on the wind. One of the Killdeer birds that is normally darting around in our parking lot was flying through the air and shouting its name: Kill-deah! Kill-deah!!! The voices of the other plovers are more pleasantly described as ‘a plaintive or musical whistle.’ But not the Killdeer, of which Peterson’s Field Guide gives a one-word description: “noisy”.

Killdeer plover bird flying

Killdeer; Walton County, Georgia. www.williamwisephoto.com

So, just like the political activists, the Killdeer too wanted his voice to be heard! And perhaps I should take a lesson from the Killdeer. As Christians, in the interest of peace and harmony, do we remain quiet as the special interest groups shout aloud in support of their own, often unrighteous, causes? Do we let their voices carry louder than ours? The last time that happened, the outcome wasn’t so good. “And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed” (Luke 23:23).

This Killdeer was exemplifying his boisterous description, and simultaneously living up to his species name: Charadrius vociferous. Vociferous is from the Latin, meaning “to shout, yell.” If you break it down, vox means “voice”, and ferre, meaning “to carry”; therefore, vociferous describes ‘voices that carry’. Aptly describing my little plover flying overhead!

Killdeer plover bird

Killdeer; Walton County, Georgia. www.williamwisephoto.com

As the other voices carry along on the winds of social media, radio and television, our Christian voices in support of righteousness should also be heard! What if William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln had remained silent? Instead, they let their voices carry on the wind, like the vociferous Killdeer, and changed our society!

Joshua 6:20 “So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

Preparing a Place

Thank God it’s Sunday! Finally, an opportunity between morning and evening church service for an afternoon of backyard birding! I have prepared my spot on the patio for an afternoon of relaxation: coffee, binoculars, camera, more coffee, eBird app, notebook and pen, and fill the feeders. I can relax in this beautiful scene my Creator has designed for me… and also meditate upon the future home He is currently preparing for me!

Eastern Bluebird Nest Boxes

Eastern Bluebird at nest box; Clarke County, Georgia. April, 2017.

After noting the different bird species in the flurry of activity at the freshly filled feeders, my eyes were drawn to the pair of Eastern Bluebirds. The male and female repeatedly crisscrossed the yard, alighting here and there upon the nest boxes, spending a moment in thought, and then moving to the next. Although it is still only February, they are preparing for spring.

When my family moved into our current home in Georgia, after we were comfortably settled, it was time to prepare a backyard bird sanctuary. In addition to the small pond, feeders, fruiting shrubs and honeysuckle vines, I wanted to prepare a home for the Bluebirds and built three nest boxes. To my surprise, the very first season, the bluebirds began preparing a home for their young and have had two clutches per season every year!

Eastern Bluebird at Nest Box

Eastern Bluebird nest box; Clarke County, Georgia. April 2017.

But my joy is not only in preparing a home for the bluebirds, and in watching them prepare a nest for their young, but also in knowing a glorious home is currently being prepared for me! And the home He is preparing is no quickly built bluebird nest box! Our Savior has been preparing for 2,000 years now… what a glorious home it will be!

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: …I go to prepare a place for you.” -John 14:2

And since He so graciously has been preparing a home, we should be preparing our hearts! Luke 12:43-47 “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing… And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”


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. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures  and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made the earth overflow with Your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

The King’s Fisher

Have you ever observed the superb skills of a Kingfisher making a headlong dive from an overhanging branch into a pond? The true origin of the Kingfisher’s name isn’t certain. But if you have seen him come up with a large fish, you must agree he is aptly named the king fisher!

Belted Kingfisher; Walton County Georgia

However, since many other birds are also quite good at catching fish, he may not have obtained that name by simply being the best at fishing. Another theory is that some monarch – a king with an affinity for the bird – gave him the name: thus, the King’s Fisher. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary states the name was originally written as The King’s Fisher (“kyngys fischare” in Middle English). I can’t help but think of King Solomon’s “three thousand proverbs which spoke of trees, beasts, birds, creeping things, and fishes.”

The King of Kingfishers

During his earthly ministry of discipling young fishermen to become apostles, Jesus stated, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).  The Lord’s desire is for His people to be the best fishermen they can be; to “launch out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch” of lost souls (Luke 5:4). If it is truly our Lord’s desire for us to be such fishers of men, we should strive to be the best fishermen possible! We can learn a few fishing tips from the Kingfisher.

Be Vocal!

Kingfishers are quite vocal and their loud, rattling call is often heard long before they are seen. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology states, “Male and female Belted Kingfishers give strident, mechanical rattles in response to the slightest disturbance.” I can always hear a Kingfisher from my office if there is one on the retention pond. As Christians hoping to win souls for our King, we should be just as vocal about the saving grace of Jesus everywhere we go. Our presence and evangelistic desire should never be hidden.  As Paul said, “If our gospel is hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Corinthians 4:3).

Dive In!

The Kingfisher’s mode of catching fish is also an inspiration. They plunge headfirst directly from a perch, or, by hovering over the water bill downward, dive in after a fish they’ve spotted. Oh how many more souls we might win if we were to dive headfirst into every situation declaring the Gospel! A “pool” of souls on a city bus?  Dive in head first and preach! A “school” of fish? Take a plunge and declare the word of God no matter what the teachers might say!

So take an evangelistic tip from the Kingfisher: dive in and be vocal! After all, we are the King of Kings’ Fishers!


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. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures  and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made the earth overflow with Your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

 

Dabbler or Diver

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.” (The Message)

The Hooded Merganser ducks have finally arrived for the winter on the small pond behind my office in Georgia. Not only are they so unlike our resident Mallards in appearance, sporting that black-and-white retractable crest, but they differ greatly in habit and action. That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

When not cutting across the water for a free handout of bread, our trio of “green head” Mallards stay along the edges of the pond, searching the shallows for aquatic vegetation and larvae. They are the dabblers. But the Mergansers! Those “hoodies” swim out to the middle of the pond and SPLASH!!!… they disappear, diving down to the depths. They are the divers. They go deep for those delectable bottom dwellers!

When it comes to the Christian life, dabbling along the edges might be just enough to keep you alive until the next church service. But oh how much richer, how much more rewarding, to dive to the depths of sanctification and sacrifice. C.S. Lewis wrote, “This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea and there neither dive nor swim, but only to dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.

One observer of ducks wrote, “Dabbling ducks have the condition known as ‘duck butt.’ You look at them in the water and sometimes see no face, just a duck rear end sticking straight up in the air.” And over the last twenty-six years of my salvation, I’ve observed that the church visitors or new converts that remain on the edge – only occasionally seeing their faces and merely dabbling in dedication – they usually migrate away at their season’s end, never to return. But the diver! The diver that abandons all to explore the depths of prayer, discipleship, ministry, giving, evangelism, and the call of God, they repeatedly come with mouths full and to spare for others!

If you’ve been dabbling on the edges in your commitment to serve Christ and to serve in your local church, row out to the middle, step out of the boat, and dive in. I assure you, the water’s great! That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

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 uses nature writing and photography to glorify our Creator and teach the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

See more post from William Wise

Here am I, Where are You?

Always Honking

Honk…honk…honk!” Before you ever see the birds’ characteristic black heads and white cheek patches, you identify Canada Geese coming as they honk across the sky in their typical V-shaped pattern. It seems Canada Geese are always vocal; on the ground, in the air, while feeding, when waking up, just before they sleep… they are always honking.

So that begs the question: what are they honking about? What are they saying? Biologists tell us they honk to keep family groups together; they honk to communicate rest or feeding areas; they honk to alert others of danger or predators; or, especially the younger birds, they just “go off with a jag of honking that seems to serve no other purpose than sheer exuberance – the expression of joy and excitement over the ability to fly with their friends and family.” 

Keeping it Together

Birds face many hazards during migration. Facing often severe weather and high winds, some may get blown off course or get caught in a storm. Inexperienced birds may chart a wrong course and fatally collide with tall buildings, windows, and other structures, or risk being shot by hunters. It is during the hardships of migration that honking becomes so important to Canada Geese. The blinding snow and rain, or thick fog, may make it impossible to see one another. So, as they toil through the sky, they honk to keep their flock together.

The geese are talking to one another. Each is saying to its companions, ‘Here am I… where are you? Here am I… where are you?’ Aloft in storm and cloud, the voices hold the flock together. They speak out loudly against wind and distance so that others of their kind, strayed or lost, may know the way. Under fair sky the calls continue for reassurance and to reassure. ‘Come along, do not tire. We are on the right course and will soon stop for rest.’ It is no fable, but a truth of nature; experienced elders lead the way.

Magnificent Voyagers, Waterfowl of North America

The experienced elder goose is leading the way with his honking, while the others follow honking encouragement to the others to keep to the course and not quit the flight. The grounded geese that left the flock because of weariness or injury can hear the incessant calling, “Here am I… where are you?” and rejoin their migrating families. It is the duty of those still in flight and on course to call out to their lost and weary relations to come back and return to the path.

Calling Out to Others

In life, many people around us may fly the wrong course or succumb to the hazards of life: failure and defeat, drugs and alcohol, apathy or crime. We have a duty to our fellow man to fly the right course and to lead them in a safe direction. We are to be leaders in our schools, on our jobs, in our families. We have a duty to not leave behind the weak and weary, and to help others to the safe places of rest and success that have been shown to us.

As Christians, we all have a duty to “honk” as the Canada Goose: “Here am I…where are you?” There are many – family members, friends, coworkers, schoolmates – that are lost and on the wrong course. They will never find the right course and follow Jesus if we, the ones that know the right path, don’t call out to them to follow. 

The New Living Translation of Romans 10:14 states, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” If we remain silent, they will never find the way. Our constant, clear call of “Here am I…where are you? Here Am I…where are You?” makes it ever known to them to where they can return when they tire of the life of sin. ​

Where are You?

Before you can lead others and call “Here am I…”, do you know where you are heading? Are you on the narrow path that leads to life? If not, follow the voice of the Savior who “calls you out of darkness into His wonderful life” (I Peter 2:9). And if you do know the course, never quit your duty of calling out to those who are lost or weary. Like the geese that seem to never quit honking, so should you never cease making the call: “Here am I…where are you?  Here am I…where are you?


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. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

From The Deepest Wilderness, To The Most Crowded Cities

From the deepest wilderness, to the most crowded cities

The great thing about enjoying birds is that you can experience that joy just about anywhere you go! Even if we’re shut indoors at a meeting or conference, we can simply pick the seat next to the window and find our avian friends.

In his chapter in the book Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White, author and birder Noah Strycker wrote, “The beauty of birds is that they are everywhere, from the deepest wilderness to the most crowded inner cities.”

I usually find the Hermit Thrush in one of the more deeply wooded areas of my regular birding routes. Walton County, GA. November 2018 by William Wise.

And the great thing about being a Christian is that we can engage with our Creator anywhere we are! Whether we are admiring His handiwork on a nature hike, lifting up His name in organized worship, or slipping into a closet during a stressful day at work to call upon His name, our God is ever-present.

In the book of Psalms, David wrote, “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.” Psalm 139:8-10

Mourning Dove on roof top, Athens, Georgia USA

Just like the birds, “from the deepest wilderness, to the most crowded cities”, our God is there!

William Wise Photo Nature Notes is a wildlife, birding and nature photography blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s 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


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. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “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.

True From The Beginning

Forster’s Tern; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA by WilliamWisePhotography

TRUE FROM THE BEGINNING

by William Wise

Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning…”  

January 1 is an exciting day for us birders. Our year list begins again and the hunt is on to list even those common visitors that often only get a passing glance as the year wears on. The checklist is blank and all the birds are “new”. And with the start of the New Year, many Christians begin another yearly reading plan. The Bible reading checkboxes are empty and race is on!

And where does that Bible reading plan typically start? At the beginning, with “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” With evolutionary theory now firmly programmed into our society, I often wonder Christians’ reactions when they open to the first chapter of the Bible. Do you believe these words?

As Christians that believe in the accuracy and inerrancy of the Word of God, we must, I repeat, we must make an uncompromising stand that in the beginning, God created the universe in six days. The evolutionary bombardment is not only an attack on the doctrine of origin, but an attack on the entire Bible and every doctrine contained therein. If the first sentence is false, why go on with the rest of the book?

Bible Genesis 1 In the beginning by WilliamWisePhotography

Bible Genesis 1 “In the beginning”

In this New Year, let us commit to a fresh, solid stance on the truth of creation; a doctrine so important that God placed it first in the Bible! We must hold an unwavering commitment that “His word is true from the beginning.” For if the first sentence of the Bible is incorrect, what does that mean for every sentence after that?

William Wise Photo Nature Notes is a wildlife, birding and nature photography blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s 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

Photos by William Wise taken – December 23, 2019 – A flock of Forster`s Terns on Hilton Head Island Beach, South Carolina. Sterna forsteri breeds inland in North America and winters south to the Caribbean and northern Central America.

Lee’s Addition:

This is a few days past the new year, but this year is still new. Also, this message is appropriate for the whole year. I failed to see William’s email post sooner.

Good News