Eye of the Beholder – Ibises and Crane

Sandhill Crane at Cirle B by Tommy Tompkins

Sandhill Crane at Cirle B by Tommy Tompkins

Last week while reading by the window that overlooks our small backyard, my eye caught movement. When I looked out, under the tree in the shade stood a Sandhill Crane surrounded by 8 or 9 White Ibises. The Ibises walked toward my way and were digging and checking out our lawn. The group kept moving and digging around as Ibises will do. They exited left of my view and the Sandhill was still standing in the same spot. Soon, from the left of view the Ibises came back and this time there were 11 of them. They walked back toward the crane and exited right. Crane still standing. Then a few minutes later, back they came right to left and this time there were 13 of them. The Crane was still standing there. Off they went to the left of my view. You got it, the crane was still standing there. Then, here they came the last time, left to right, and there were 14 of them this time. My stately Sandhill Crane was still standing there. All of this took place in about a 30 minute time span.

White Ibises at Lake Morton by Dan

White Ibises at Lake Morton by Dan

Needless to say, my reading was slowed down by all this activity. The ibises were digging around and yet they kept on the move. They put their beaks in the ground and pound up and down about 5 or 6 times and then move on and repeat the process over again. One or two of them will find something good to eat and will stay in the same spot to continue to dig. When they look up and see that the group has moved on, they immediately scurry off to catch up with the others. They have a funny little way of walking. This was repeated many times as they looked up and then followed the crowd.

I can come up with several applications for what was going on, but I will only choose one of them, for now.

God has given us His Word, the Bible, and in it we learn the truths about God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit who are one and are the great I AM.  The Word reveals truths about creation, salvation, sin, God’s attributes such as love, mercy, grace, judgment, justice, long-suffering, etc. As the Sandhill Crane stood, so should we stand firm in the truths taught in the Bible. We should not waver or try to change what has been written. Jesus has provided salvation, through His death on the cross, and invites us to accept His gift of salvation.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Many people know the truth about Jesus, the Cross, God, creation, heaven, hell, etc., but do not apply it to their heart or soul. They either think, there is some other way and are always searching for some new “angle” of belief. Be it different religions, non-religion, atheism, or what ever.

Off on another search - American White Ibis by Bob-Nan

Off on another search - American White Ibis by Bob-Nan

Others who do accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, want to find some new “angle” to what the Bible teaches, by perverting it, or trying to twist it to where their “sin” is justified. Maybe are just not really “walking with the Lord” and want to live in sin or they become false teachers.

Both groups, unbelievers or believers, are like the Ibises who go away from the truth (crane), and try new things, then almost come back, sort of, and then scurry off to find something different. Even those who settle down, look up and see the crowd going a certain way, and run after that new thing.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

May we all seek the truth of God, accept the Lord’s salvation, and then live our lives according to God’s Word.

The Gospel Message
Wordless Birds

Eye of the Beholder – Bird Names

Mom and Baby at Lake Hollingsworth

Mom and Baby at Lake Hollingsworth

Last week, Dan and I went to Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, our favorite place to go birding when we don’t have a lot of time, my legs aren’t working well, or Dan has a new, used camera to check out. That was the case, I was just checking out the normal birds for this time of the year and photographed this female mallard and her chick. In other words, there aren’t many. Most of them have gone back north to do what God commanded them to do when they came off the ark.

Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark. (Genesis 8:15-19 NKJV)

So, the birds have been reproducing and reproducing and reproducing. I have been working on a project for this blog behind the scenes and it has to do with the bird families of the world. The numbers keep changing, but the count is over 10,000 species (living) worldwide. All the Birding committees work hard on putting them into Order, Families, Genus, and then giving them a  Scientific name and an English name. As I have been working on this project, I couldn’t help but think about how well the birds have obeyed.

What amazes me, is how they (Birding committees) decide how to classify them. I have a hard enough time, getting some birds just into the right family, let alone figuring them all out. Warblers being the hardest for me. Here is my idea of this whole process, from a human classification.

Smith Family:
Dad – Black hair, blue eyes, normal ears, round eyes
Mom – blond hair, green eyes, normal ears, slant eyes
Child #1 – Black hair, green eyes, ears stick out, round eyes
Child #2 – Blond hair, blue eyes, long ear lobes, slant eyes
Child #3 – Brown hair, blue eyes, normal ears, beady eyes
Child #4 – Red hair, black eyes, pointed ears, bushy eyebrows
The children grow up and each find a mate with similar characteristics, they move away and continue to have children with their same characteristics and some more variations show up. Etc, etc.

Now along come the classifying committees! Can you imagine how they would try to classify the human race?
I’ll leave that to your imagination.

To get a glimpse of my project, click List of ORDERS of the Birds in Taxonomic Order Just realize, this is a work in progress.

Eye of the Beholder – Anhinga

Anhinga Outstretched by Dan

Anhinga Just out of the Water by Dan

The Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) is a interesting bird to watch here in Florida. They are very easy to spot with their outstretched wings. It is harder to spot them when they are in the water and swimming with only their heads stuck out. This is where the nickname, “Snake Bird,” comes from. We were watching them the other day when we visited Lake Hollingsworth and it reminded me of some verses.

1. The Anhinga must be tired after all that diving and is quite water-logged (heavy-laden) and needs to rest while its wings dry out. The Anhinga does not have an oil gland like most birds and must dry its feathers before it can get airborne again. The Lord designed it this way so that it can dive deep to catch fish, which is about 99% of its prey. If the feathers are oily, the bird has a tendancy to pop back up to the surface.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matthew 11:28-29 NASB)

Anhinga Dryed at Lake Hollingsworth

Anhinga Dryed at Lake Hollingsworth

For us, we can come to the Lord when things are “getting us down” and He will give us rest. When we pray and ask the Lord to help us and we leave the burden with Him, our souls are refreshed and we feel rested.

2. When the Anhinga first comes out of the water, they look all black and you do not see the white in its feathers. As the feathers dry, the color lightens up, and eventually the white shows up.
“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.” (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)
The Wordless Book song that Child Evangelism uses:

My heart was black with sin,
Until the Savior came in.
His Precious Blood I know,
Will wash me whiter than snow.
And in God’s Word I’m told
I’ll walk the streets of gold.
I’ll read my Bible and pray,
And Grow in Him every day!

Other Eye of the Beholder blogs

Birds of the Bible – Herons

CLASS – AVES, Order – PELECANIFORMES, Family – Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns

Here in central Florida we can see many Herons, such as the:
(Click link for photo)
Great Blue Heron (L46″ Wingspan72″)
Little Blue Heron (L24 Wingspan 40″)
Tri-colored Heron (L26 Wingspan 36″)
Green Heron (L18″ Wingspan 26)
Black-crowned Night Heron (L25″ Wingspan 26″)
Yellow-crowned Night Heron (L24″ Wingspan 42″)

Around the World the Ardeidae family includes Herons(41), Egrets(7) and Bitterns(12). From Thayer Birding Software, “Most herons nest in dense or dispersed colonies; a few species, including most bitterns, are solitary. Nests are platforms of interlocked sticks in trees or piles of vegetation in reeds or on the ground, built mainly or entirely by the female of material brought by the male.” Most of the Herons rest and fly with their necks in an “S” curve. They can be seen along or in the edges of water fishing. Many stand perfectly still looking in the water and then thrust with a quick movement to either spear or catch their prey. Herons amaze me in how perfectly still they stand and wait. They seem so patient to me. Herons are on the “unclean” list of birds found in Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18. Because they are so “patient” and “wait,” it reminds me of:

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:7 KJV)
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:15 KJV)
The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season (Psalms 145:15 KJV
And of course our great verse from last week:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Hymns mention “waiting” and being “still” and “patient. Here is a favorite:

Be Still, My Soul by Katharina von Schlegel,
1697-Trans. By Jane L. Borthwick, 1813-1897

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.


Updated 1/20/2015

Birds of the Bible – Under His Wing

This week’s Birds of the Bible will divert from the introduction of a specific bird to a part of the bird. We had the privilege several weeks ago to visit a “rookery,” (a place where many birds have nests and raise their young. The Wood Storks had their wings spread out to keep the sun off of their young, which is a common behavior of birds. Birds also use their wings to protect them when danger is nearby and for warmth. It reminded me of the many Scripture references and songs about the protection or shadow of the wings.
Psalms 61:3-4 (KJV), says, “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. “
Covert as defined by the Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
concealed; secret; disguised; covered; sheltered.

a covering;
cover; a shelter or hiding place; concealment or disguise
Also called tectrix one of the small feathers that cover the bases of the large feathers of the wings and tail.

Just a few of the Scriptures are:

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, From the wicked who oppress me, From my deadly enemies who surround me. (Psalms 17:8-9 NKJV)
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. (Psalms 36:7 NKJV)
To the Chief Musician. Set to “Do Not Destroy.” a Michtam of David When He Fled from Saul into the Cave. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. (Psalms 57:1 NKJV)
Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. (Psalms 63:7 NKJV)
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.(Psalms 91:3 NKJV)

The wing has been mentioned in many hymns such as:
God Will Take Care of You – ( by Civilla D. Martin, 1869-1948 )
God Will Take Care of You

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Thro’ ev’ry day, O’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you

Under His Wings (by William O. Cushing, 1823-1902)
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Tho’ the night deepens and tempests are wild.
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.

Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.

Two other hymns that mention the wings are:
Praise Ye the Lord!
Praise ye the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen How thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
God Be with You Till We Meet Again
God be with you till we meet again;
‘Neath His wings protecting hide you,
Daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we we meet again.

Most information from The Cyber Hymnal

See ~ Wordless Birds

More ~ Birds in Hymns


Eye of the Beholder – Mockingbird

Observing the Northern Mockingbird must have some lessons we can learn. I can think of two off hand. Well, actually one of them comes from my husband. The song of the mockingbird uses a “vocal mimicry or appropriation” to make “sounds of other species (as well as non-avian sounds such as the barking of dogs, screeching of machinery, or human whistling) sometimes incorporated into a bird’s repertoire.” (“Vocal Copying,” The Birder’s Handbook) They listen, incorporate, and assimilate those songs and produce sounds into a very melodious song. Their song is usually a phrase repeated three times or so, and then a new phrase is sung. This can go on for hours.

Lesson #1: He could be like a person, who hears things and then repeats it three or more time. Sort of like a gossiper.

Lesson #2: (My preference) He could be like a Christian who listens to sermons, Sunday School lessons, other Biblical lessons, songs, has personal devotions, etc. then meditates and incorporates what they have heard into their life. Their life then produces a “song,” or way of life that is pleasing to others and especially to the Lord.

And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. (1Ti 5:13)


Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded; nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1Ti 6:17-19)

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, …. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (1Ti 4:13-15)

Update 7/23/08: Check out   “Mockingbird Imitates Surprising Sounds

Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder

The Eye of the Beholder series will be about how a bird’s habits or mannerisms are viewed. That in turn brings to mind an application and scripture that can be a lesson or encouragement for others. If you have an idea for an article, of that theme, then send me the article and you can be one of my guest authors.
My Birdwatching Adventures is a “work in progress” and I am still developing ideas and am willing to have others involved with me. I already have my husband helping me by providing some editing, photos, and moral support.
If you would like to author some blog articles, please leave a comment with an email address or send an email to: lee@leesbird.com.
Thank you for visiting and hopefully enjoying Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus.

Eye of the Beholder – House Sparrows

House Sparrow by Ray's Wildlife Photography

House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is the first bird in a new series (Eye of the Beholder) of how I or others see birds . In last week’s Birds of the Bible – Sparrow I blog, attention was drawn to how it is many times mentioned as a “pest.” The reason for this reference is the House Sparrow has taken over many other bird’s nests, houses, cavities, etc. They hog food from the “prettier and more desirable” birds.

Let’s look at the other side of the coin. The House Sparrow has learned to adapt to whatever is given it. They make do with whatever living space they can find (Did you ever notice how many letters of signs have nests in them?), and are able to eat what’s available (even at McDonald’s and Burger King). Many birds are so specialized in their diets and where they live, that as man or birds encroach in their area, they cannot adapt to the new situation. Many birds have become extinct over the years, not being able to cope. You have to give Sparrows credit for surviving after having been uprooted from their homeland. God has allowed this little brown bird, the House Sparrow, to be content and make do with what is provided.

To me, the sparrow reminds us of what the Bible says about being able to adapt and accept what the Lord allows to come into our lives. The Bible says,

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Php 4:11-13)