Birds and Flowers Helping Christians

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Stephen Nielsen writes a blog called Prayer A to Z or just Stephen Nielsen. This is an excerpt from his How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian article. I am sure you will enjoy reading the whole post:

Birds

Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air [Look at and think about them].”

  1. They don’t sow or reap or gather.
  2. Yet God our Father feeds them.
  3. And we are better (closer to God) than they are; we are His children. So, He definitely will care for us.
  4. Also, what good will it do anyway to worry about these things. Will worrying change anything? Will it extend your life?

Let’s look at the birds and all humans, how God provides for them.”……

Stephen has based this post on Matthew 6:25-30. What a great promise for us today. Thanks, Stephen, for another great lesson from the Lord and His Avian Wonders.

Matthew 6:25-30

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 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? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Birds Learning About Worms ©BirdsOutsideMyWindow

How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian

Prayer A to Z

Stephen Nielsen

Good News

Minnesota Bird Songs

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Raymond Barlow

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Raymond Barlow

Dr. Jim (JJSJ) sent me this link and I think you will also enjoy it. If you look down through there, you will see a Catbird. Now, you will be able to hear him along with all the other Minnesota bird songs. Enjoy!! [Thanks, Dr. Jim]

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/bird_songs_interactive/index.html

“…When one rises up at the sound of a bird, …” (Ecclesiastes 12:4 NKJV)

Catbird at Gatorland

James J. S. Johnson

Sharing The Gospel

Catbird at Gatorland

Gray Catbird Gatorland 03-23-21 by Lee

Today we took another ride over to Gatorland to see how the eggs had developed. As we were heading back to the “rookery,” we were surprised by a rare find in a tree as we were walking there.

Catbird – Zoomed

As is typical of Catbirds, they are quick movers and like to stay hidden as much as possible. This one was all over the place until he finally came out on a branch where I could get a decent photo.

Catbird at Gatorland – by Lee

Had this bird not let out one of its soft “cat call,” We would have probably walked right by it.

“This species is named for its cat-like call. Like many members of the Mimidae (in particular mockingbirds), it also mimics the songs of other birds, as well as those of Hylidae (tree frogs), and even mechanical sounds. Because of its well-developed songbird syrinx, it is able to make two sounds at the same time. The alarm call resembles the quiet calls of a male mallard.

A gray catbird’s song is easily distinguished from that of the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) or brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) because the mockingbird repeats its phrases or “strophes” three to four times, the thrasher usually twice, but the catbird sings most phrases only once. The catbird’s song is usually described as more raspy and less musical than that of a mockingbird.

In contrast to the many songbirds that choose a prominent perch from which to sing, the catbird often elects to sing from inside a bush or small tree, where it is obscured from view by the foliage.” (Wikipedia – Gray Catbird)

Catbird at Gatorland 03-23-21

Our Catbird find was encouraging, as it was sort of quiet today, until we got near the few hatch-lings. But, that will have to wait until the next post.

As the Catbirds call out, it can remind us of Psalm 91:15:

“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”

Considering we haven’t been birdwatching in some time, other than out the back door, I thought I would share the Catbird, while I check the rest of the photos. It was just about a month ago that we were last at Gatorland, and there is a new group of birds laying eggs. Stay tuned!

Gatorland Again – 2021

Wordless Birds

Turf War Whistlers

Duck Fight Posture

Our Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have continued to stay with us since showing up March 1st. I originally thought that they flew off that evening to migrate north. Since then, I admit I made a false assumption. The Florida flocks of Whistlers do not basically migrate. What they do in the evening, is take flight to find a place to feed.

Apparently, the Texas Whistling Ducks do some migration, and are showing up in more southern states. About the only migration here in Florida seems to be around the Sarasota area. Why? I haven’t found out yet. So, since the first of March, we have had a constant flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks outside our back door and on the retaining pond. Anywhere from 100-300+ daily. It’s like living at a wildlife refuge. I LOVE IT!!!!

My camera is just about worn out taking so many photos and videos. [of course, I’ve thrown many photos away] We have had more laughs watching the “turf wars” between the different groups within the group. According to All About Birds – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, this is common:

Duck Fight – Here We Come

“Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks have long legs and spend more time than other ducks walking on land or perching in trees. You may see them perched on fences, telephone lines, or in Spanish moss. They are gregarious year-round, forming flocks of up to 1,000 birds. They form lifelong pair bonds and breed in their first year of life. Males spar by chasing or nipping at each other, or with a threat display that involves stretching their neck forward and opening their bill.

Duck Fight – On The Attack

Here are some of the videos of them and their “Turf Wars.” I tried to stay silent while filming, but it was too interesting. I kept chuckling.

The first video was started to record that injured Whistler when the war broke out. That duck will be written about later.

A few days later, they were still having their “Turf” discussions:

Hope you enjoyed this birdwatching adventure. Apparently, they seem to be sticking around our neighborhood. Who know what will happen next?

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1 NKJV)
“But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.” (Mark 13:7 NKJV)

Birds of the Bible – Birds “Singing”?

Whistling Ducks Encountering A Turtle

All About Birds – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Good News Tracts – Various Topics

Hair Like Eagles’ Feathers Revisited

Steller’s Sea-eagle at San Diego Zoo 2015 by Lee

Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.” (Daniel 4:33 NASB)

In the Birds of the Bible, we’ve written about this verse before Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagles Feathers, but it came up again today. In our devotions this morning, we read chapter 8 of Daniel. Along with the reading from it, we were reading our notes from various Study Bibles.

Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) ©Wiki

Actually, the original article covers most of this about the king, but we read an interesting fact about his behavior. The fact that Nebuchadnezzar was eating grass like cattle is amazing.

This is from the King James Study Bible for Daniel “4:33. Two important questions arise from this incident: (1) Could it happen to a man? and (2) Could it have happened to Nebuchadnezzar? The answer to both questions is Yes. There is a mental illness known as zoanthropy in which a man thinks and acts like an animal. It is also called boanthropy, more specifically, when a man thinks of himself as an ox. In answer to the second question, this illness is not mentioned in Nebuchadnezzar’s annals, but one would not expect such a humiliating experience to be chronicled. On the other hand, his long reign of 43 years (605–562 b.c.) is more than long enough to include the lengthy sickness.”

Philippine Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus philippensis) ©Flickr Billy Lopue

I am not sure what his hair looked like, so I have added these interesting eagles with feathers that might give an example of the kings hair.

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014

As for what his fingernails might have looked like, here are some bird’s claws:

Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) Feet by Lee at National Aviary

Cape Eagle-Owl (Bubo capensis) on Right and Spotted Eagle-Owl on Left ©©

Cape Eagle-Owl (Bubo capensis) on Right and Spotted Eagle-Owl on Left ©©

The best part of this Bible story of Nebuchadnezzar, is how this ends. He come to his senses, and looks toward heaven, as we all should:

Daniel 8:34 “But at the end of [ae]that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my [af]reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account,
But He does according to His will among the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can [ag]fend off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

36 At that time my [ah]reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were [ai]restored to me for the honor of my kingdom, and my state counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my [aj]sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are [ak]true and His ways [al]just; and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Links and scripture from Bible Gateway)

Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagles Feathers

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

The Wise Owl

Gatorland Again – February 2021

Me Showing What A Gator Will Do To You – Chomp -Gatorland

Today was a beautiful day for another trip over to Gatorland in Orlando, Florida. [About a 50 mile ride] It is still a bit early for the chicks to arrive, but some Great Egrets were nesting. It was a cloudless day, and from the next photo, you can see that there are plenty of birds in the distance on nest. Unfortunately, you cannot get very close to those.

Gatorland Feb 25, 2021 by Lee

Gatorland Feb 25, 2021 by Lee

Zoomed in – Gatorland

After we enter toward the bottom left of the park [see map], we proceed to the boardwalk where we take most of our photos [#24 and #25]. We come back to the front and usually stop by #39 and #40 where we take the photos of the Flamingos and the “taxi rides.” Stay tuned, I took some good videos today. [Later post]

Map of Gatorland Showing Boardwalk

By the time we make that loop, we have been there a couple of hours. Today I walked with my walker instead of renting electric wheels. Whew! Two hours was enough. It is over a mile around that loop. [I stopped to take lots of photos :) ] By the way, in a week, Dan and I will be getting our second Covid vaccine shot. Yeah! I’m tired of wearing masks! And not going birding very often.

While the photos and videos are being sorted and made ready, here is a new critter that has been added to the displays along the front of the park. It is a Serval Wild Cat. I have never seen it here, but it is a beautiful wild cat that comes from Africa. Serval – Wikipedia

Jabari the Serval - Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval – Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval - Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval

Jabari the Serval - Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval

What a creation from the Creator!

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25 KJV)

If you missed the December trip to Gatorland posts, check these out:

Wordless Birds

Truly Strange Bird – Creation Moments

A Truly Strange Bird

Psalm 40:5
“Many, O LORD my God, [are] thy wonderful works [which] thou hast done, and thy thoughts [which are] to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: [if] I would declare and speak [of them], they are more than can be numbered.”

Though God created the entire living kingdom in only a few days, the variety and creativity of what He made seems nearly unlimited by our standards. One of the more unusual creatures He made was thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 1958.

The kakapo parrot lives in New Zealand. The most unusual parrot on Earth, it is one of only a few known parrots that prefers to sleep during the day and becomes active at night. Weighing in at five pounds, it is also the world’s heaviest parrot. It is, perhaps not surprisingly, the world’s only non-flying parrot.

The Creator’s unusual expression of inventive creativity in designing the kakapo did not end here. The mating habits of the kakapo are especially peculiar for birds. In mating season, the males gather in locations that are used year after year for mate selection. Female parrots come to these places to inspect the males to select a mate. However, in most un-bird-like fashion, the males provide absolutely no help building the nest or rearing the young.

The kakapo is remarkable because of its many strange traits, most of which would make it least fit for survival. In other words, not only is it an unusual creature, but its more unusual characteristics seem to put it at a disadvantage as far as evolution is concerned. So while evolution would not have made the kakapo, our inventive Creator did, perhaps as a witness against evolution.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I thank You for the beauty and creativity You have placed into Your work of creation and for the blessings these gifts add to life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Author: Paul A. Bartz

Ref: Discover, Mar. 1985. p. 36. Photo: Kakapo by Chris Birmingham CCA 2.0.xcf

© 2020 Creation Moments

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) ©Dept of Conservation

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) ©Dept of Conservation

Just thought you might enjoy reading about this uniquely created Avian Wonder from Our Creator.

Whistling Duck Visitors

I glanced out our back door and saw two Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks just a few feet from the patio. I was so busy enjoying watching them, that I forgot to pick up my camera, which was right near me. By the time my brain kicked in and I got the lens cap off, they were heading back to the water.

The three photos are not good, but they at least “prove” they were here. :o)

Whistling Ducks in Backyard Feb 2021

Whistling Ducks in Backyard Feb 2021

Heading toward the water:

Whistling Ducks in backyard – Feb 21, 2021

We have seen Whistling Ducks landing on the other strip of water, but they don’t land on our water often. In fact, this winter has provided less avian wonders than last year. In Lack of Birds to Watch I mentioned them chopping down the forest right here by us. Well, it is completely gone, and they are just about ready to start building the 93 new home there. The streets are laid out, sewers in, etc. I am happy with any birds that stop by this year.

Here are a few facts about Black-bellied Whistling-ducks:

“In the family of waterfowl, the tropical whistling-ducks rank midway between geese and dabbling ducks. They are gooselike in appearance, with long necks and long legs; they graze grainfields, usually feeding at night. However their high-pitched whistling calls are typical of neither goose nor duck; and in flight, with necks and legs extended, they suggest a flock of ibises. Nesting colonies of the black-bellied whistling-duck occur in Texas, often around livestock water areas. When feeding in cornfields, they perch on mature stalks to glean the ears.” (Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, Terres ,p214)

I find it interesting, that the Creator created these with just their own niche to fill. We each have just a niche to fill that the Lord has gifted us to do. Whistling is mentioned three times in the Bible. One in particular is when the Lord whistles for the dispersed Jews to return to their land.

“I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased.” (Zechariah 10:8 NKJV)

There was a flock that landed back in March of last year:

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks by Lee 3-15-20

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks by Lee 3-15-20

Now for a couple of really good photos by Dan. He went to Circle B Reserve, a few days earlier. He went early morning for just an hour. He caught a beautiful Female Cardinal and a Warbler, that I think is a Myrtle or the old Butter Butt kind. They split them up, and I am not sure what this bird is. So, leave a comment if you know.

Female Northern Cardinal at Circle B Reserve by Dan

“To be named” Warbler at Circle B Reserve by Dan

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” (Psalms 91:14 KJV

“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD.”(Jeremiah 16:21 NASB)

[Bolding and Italics – Mine]

Indecisive Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Sunday Inspiration – Whistling, White-backed Ducks, and Geese

Birds of the Bible – Whistling Ducks

How Can We Know that We’ll Go to Heaven

What Alarms Are You Sounding?

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

“Birds’ lives are so filled with danger that they’re on alert at all times, just to stay alive. Luckily, they have several tactics to avoid becoming the next meal for a cat or hawk. One, of course, is to fly away, a good choice, but not always possible. Another is to call in a troop of other birds to set up such a clamor that the predator is driven from the neighborhood. But in cases where the threat is too close and too dangerous, birds freeze in hiding while making soft, high-pitched sounds that serve as a warning to other birds.” [Bird Warning Calls Work Across Species]

Black-capped Chickadee

“Birds give a lot of “false alarms” or brief low-level alarms. With practice you will become sensitive to the higher intensity of real alarm calls, and when these calls are sustained for several minutes, and directed at one spot, you can be fairly certain a predator is there.” [Sibley Guides – Understanding Alarm Calls of Birds]

Here Sibley was using the alarm to help find the bird who was giving the warning.

We have been reading through Ezekiel in our devotions, and came across the often preached passage in Chapter 33. This was written to warn Israel, but it applies to us also. We all know people who need to be warned. As you read through this passage, you will see why I thought of the alarms from our Avian Wonders from the Lord.

Ezekiel 33:1-9 NASB
(1)  And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
(2)  “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
(3)  and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,

Barking Boobook (Ninox connivens) by Ian

(4)  then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
(5)  ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.

Unwatchful Dove ©S.Young

(6)  ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
(7)  “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.

Birds Mobbing Owl and Warning Others To The Danger With Their Calls ©Andrew O’Connor

(8)  “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.
(9)  “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

[Bolding Mine]

I trust we are all doing our part to warn the lost of their need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sharing the Gospel

Eagle Cinquain

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Ray Barlow

My blogging friend, Sandra Connor, has challenged her readers to write a Cinquain, then post it. Well, here is my first attempt at writing one of these.

First I had to find out HOW. So, she sent us to her link that explains how: Ahyoka/Cinquain

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) by TAJA

Here we go:

Eagles

Flying Aloft

What A Majestic Sight

Displaying, Surveying, Preying

Eagles

I had kidded her about it looking like a tree, but then so does mine.

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

“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)

If you would like to join the challenge, swing by her sight and check it out. Also, you could leave one below in the comments.

Three-Day Coffee Cinquain Challenge – Day 1

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

Ten Beautiful Hummingbirds

An interesting video with ten of the most beautiful Hummingbirds in the world.

What a Creator! Such variety and colors. I love the way the sun reflects on them and its affect on them.

How well are we reflecting?

“The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;” (Numbers 6:25 NKJV)

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

“Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake.” (Psalms 31:16 NKJV)

Copper-rumped Hummingbird by Judd Patterson

Copper-rumped Hummingbird by Judd Patterson

“Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.” (Psalms 119:135 NKJV)

Marvelous Spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis) ©©Dubi Shapiro

“”You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV)

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Good News

Great Egret by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan in 2020

“…O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalms 139:1-3 NKJV)

This Great Egret’s pose caused me to chuckle, but also to think about how their neck can be raised and lowered. “Up and Down” Egrets, Herons, and other birds with long necks seem to like to pull them down. Scrunch them!

At times, especially now, with so many things, like Covid, and other challenges of life, make us want to just go somewhere and hide. Here are a few verses I found about having ups and downs:

Great Egret by Dan at Gatorland in 2015

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.’ “Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together. I, the LORD, have created it.” (Isaiah 45:5-8 NKJV)

Great Blue Heron Lake Morton by Dan

“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19 NKJV)

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan (2014)

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright.” (Psalms 20:7-8 NKJV)
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20 NKJV)

[bolding and italics mine]

Trust these photos and verses are an encouragement for you today. Lord’s Blessings

Dan’s Pix

Wordless Bird – Green-tail Sunbird