Palm Warbler Through Our Window

Beautyberry in backyard

In the last week, we added an American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) to our backyard. Actually, we dug it up from our previous house, before we sold it Monday. (Yeah!) It was in the backyard and ignored since we moved to our new house. Therefore, it is a bit dried up, but will bounce back with some TLC. [Tender Love and Care]

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

This morning while eating our breakfast, the Palm Warbler came and sat in the Beautyberry plant/bush. This time I was ready for him/or her. I had the camera right on the table. Yes!! This warbler and a Phoebe have been checking the plant out. [More about that visit in another post.]

The next three photos show how hard it is to try to focus on the bird with your camera in “program mode”. That is the way I use my camera as I have mentioned before. At least you can see the front, back, and side view.  :) Thankfully the video came out much clearer. [After all, I was sitting at the breakfast table.]

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

“Palm Warblers are small songbirds, but they are on the larger side for a warbler and have a fuller looking belly. Their posture is more upright than a typical warbler and more like a pipit—especially noticeable when they are on the ground. Their tails and legs are longer than most warblers contributing to the pipitlike shape.” [All About Birds]

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

“This is one bird where behavior—this bird’s near-constant tail-wagging—can help confirm its identity. They mainly forage on open ground or in low vegetation, rather than in forest canopy as many warblers do (although they do sing from high perches in trees and shrubs).” [All About Birds]

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

Palm Warbler on Beautyberry

Check out this photo from All About Birds:

Palm Warbler in Non-breeding color

Oops!!! This is not a Palm Warbler on Beautyberry, It is the Eastern Phoebe!! [Edited after Published]

“Who provideth for the raven [or Warbler] his food?… they wander for lack of meat.” (Job 38:41 KJV)

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Matthew 13:31-32 KJV)

In Mark, Luke, and in Matthew, the parable of the mustard seed is told. They all mention the small grain of mustard seed that grows up into a tree that the birds use for rest and shelter. This little warbler has found rest in this plant just as we find rest for our souls when we know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. With the Christmas season here, there are plenty of reminders of His Love and Salvation.

[All About Birds]

Gospel Presentation

Here’s Seed for Thought

National Aviary - Outside feeder

National Aviary – Outside feeder

Here’s Seed for Thought

By James J. S. Johnson

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:11)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (1st Peter 1:23)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan


God’s Word is like good seed – it transmits God’s very thoughts into new life.

If we have eyes to see it, the whole process of seed germination (in a sunflower, or in a human life) is a providential God-glorifying miracle, every time new life germinates.

Sunflowers for Bird Brains article by Dr James J S Johnson

Sunflowers  [public domain]

When I see sunflowers growing in farm-fields, or elsewhere, I often recall how God sometimes uses “accidental” plantings, caused by birds who occasionally drop sunflower seeds, thereby planting a new generation of bright yellow sunflowers.

To illustrate, consider this poem, written almost 20 years ago.


( © AD1997 James J. S. Johnson, used by permission )

Seeing hungry backyard birds
I filled a tray with seeds;
Sparrows, juncos dined in “herds”,
and jays arrived to feed;
Even cardinals, flashing red:
they came, they saw, they fed.

Bills gulped! seed-hulls popped!
Some seeds spilled! some seeds dropped!
Overhead, as some bird flew,
sunflower seeds did fall;
From green vines, they later grew,
seedlings, green and small.

Then out popped golden faces
Coloring grassy spaces;
Like baby suns of yellow,
Grinning — saying “hello”!
On green stalks they climb,
aiming to greet the sky;
Seed-packed in their prime,
picked by birds, going by.

Thus reaps my yard what jays did sow,
New seeds, from old, sunflowers grow.

Watch I, and think on what God made
How He designed such “mutual aid”…
In my backyard, I must surmise:
The Lord, Who did this, He is wise!

This poem was written when I lived in Carrollton, Texas, where I grew sunflowers by our backyard’s western fence, with the help of blue jay “planters” – but, of course, God gave the increase (1st Corinthians 3:7). (Those were the days, now like a faded dream gone by, when I taught ornithology and avian conservation at Dallas Christian College.)

Ruby-throated on Sunflower ©©Frank Boston

Ruby-throated on Sunflower ©©Frank Boston

So, when you see bright-colored sunflowers — and the hungry birds who eat them, just remember this:  those same birds, or their parents, may have “accidently” planted the very seeds that germinated into the full-grown sunflowers that the birds now eat from!

Also, remember this also: God shows His wisdom and goodness, everywhere you look, — if you have the eyes to see it.

Furthermore, even more important, of course, is this: that “incorruptible seed” (to use the apostle Peter’s phrase) — that we call the Holy Bible – is the eternal Word of God, and He uses its truth to give us regenerated life in our Lord Jesus Christ (Who is Himself the Messiah, the promised “Seed of Woman”, prophesied of in Genesis3:15)!

><> JJSJ

Sparrows Eating From A Sunflower ©©Sagudino Flickr

Sparrows Eating From A Sunflower ©©Sagudino Flickr

Lee’s Addition:

Thanks again, Dr. Jim. Enjoyed your poem and the application. In fact, there is a stalk or two of corn growing under my feeder because of the birds. Had a Sunflower or two last summer growing under the feeders.

Oh, that we all would feast on His Word!

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©WikiC

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male and Female ©WikiC



James J.S. Johnson


Changed From The Inside Out