Good morning. It is Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
I have discovered a love for birds. For clarification, I have always loved birds, but this is a deeper interest.
My grandparents had a large bird feeder attached to the front rail of their porch. There was a bird book handy in the living room for quick reference. My parents had a record on different bird calls, and I loved listening to it. And they all loved to teach about the different birds.
For many years I have put out a birdbath in the summer. Maybe I hung a hummingbird feeder and sprinkled some seed. I would notice the Robins and pigeons, but it wasn't until moving out of town that my love for birds started to grow.
I began to see birds on my property that I had never seen in town. I saw birds I had never seen in my life. And it was exciting. It still is!
Last week for the first time I had a Western Tanager visit. I was on the phone with my mom and had walked outside. While standing just outside my front door, I saw this vibrant bird land close to the bird feeder. It had a bright red head and red face with a bright yellow body and black and yellow wings. I wouldn't know until the next day what type of bird it was. They are gorgeous!!
Two years ago, I bought a bird book and placed it in my living room. Then I was given a second book. I have binoculars handy for close-up looks and I use them all the time.
I started keeping a record off all the birds I have seen out here. I know it doesn't compare to some, but for me, it's more than I have ever seen. So far, 15 different varieties of birds come to the property.
For all you bird watchers who have never been given the respect you deserve, I apologize. I get it now. Birds are amazing! Things like the shape of their bill was never a consideration before now. The pattern on their wings, the way they move in the air and interact with each other. It is like a very well-orchestrated dance and sometimes more like a comedy of errors.
The first bird I saw two summers ago that I did not recognize, was a Black-headed Grosbeak. I posted a blurry picture on my Facebook page and within hours Orley had identified it. These birds are plentiful out here. The males have an orange body, black head with black and white wings (pictured). And their songs are beautiful.
Then I saw a Nuthatch and a Pileated Woodpecker. Then an Acorn woodpecker (this year I have four)
There is always a small handful of Dark-eyed Juncos, crows, turkeys, Steller's Jay and Robins. I feed Anna's Hummingbirds and Ruby Throated Hummingbirds and new this summer, a Rufous Hummingbird.
Within the past 2 or 3 weeks, I saw for the first time a Lazuli Bunting, a Western Bluebird and the Western Tanager. These birds are gorgeous!
I also had a pair of Dove's join the fray about 2 weeks ago. I am pretty happy about my small number of sightings, but I have a long way to go if I want to see all the birds our world has to offer.
According to worldatlas.com, studies indicated that there were an estimated 9,000 to 10,000 bird species on the planet. However, recent revelations doubled this number to an estimated 18,000 species, with a possibility of more species being discovered in the future.
Have you ever seen the color of a bird that made you exclaim, "wow!"
Have you ever seen a Wilson's bird-of-paradise? Click here for a quick reference. https://www.bing.com/images/search?form=IARRTH...
What about a Gouldian finch? They are incredible! Their plumage is brilliant in blue, purple, yellow, red, black, and green with some variations. Yes, all 6 or more colors on every bird! Male and female. Well, click here for a quick look. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=%20Gouldian%20finch&qs=n&form=QBIR&sp=-1&pq=gouldian%20finch&sc=8-14&cvid=1DB69C17FA70478D82DDF10C3B4FD485&ghsh=0&ghacc=0&first=1&tsc=ImageHoverTitle
Or a Nicobar Pigeon with its iridescent feathers? Birds are amazing! And they are not just fun to watch; birds serve many purposes.
From chirpforbirds.com, "birds spread seeds and pollinate plants. They help with pest control by eating tons of bugs; literally as much as 400-500 million tons of insects a year.
In its lifetime a Barn Owl may eat more than 11,000 mice that would have consumed 13 tons of crops.
Birds reduce weeds – It has been calculated that the native sparrows in Iowa eat the equivalent of 196,000 bushels of weed seeds annually.
Scavengers are nature’s clean-up crew – (I found this very interesting)
Extremely acidic secretions of the vulture stomach kill all but the most resistant spores, reducing the pathogenic bacteria by consuming carcasses and thereby reducing disease. Scavenging birds provide a Public Health service by arriving days before other less efficient scavengers, such as feral dogs or rats, arrive to pick at the remains, preventing deadly diseases such as rabies and tuberculosis to develop and spread. In India, a decrease in vultures led to an increase in rabies, and contributed to the 1994 bubonic plague outbreak in western India that killed 54 people and cost India over $2 billion.
Birds Maintain & Transform Entire Landscapes –
Habitats like forests, marshes, and grasslands support people across the whole planet, storing carbon, keeping the climate stable, oxygenating the air, and transforming pollutants into nutrients. But without birds, many of these ecosystems would not exist. Birds maintain the delicate balance between plant and herbivore, predator and prey, and are integral parts of food chains and food webs.
Birds Fertilize –
Birds, especially seabirds, play a key role in cycling nutrients and helping to fertilize marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. Their droppings have high contents of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium – 3 nutrients essential for plant growth.
Birds Are Military Heroes –
Birds have special skills that have made them historically useful to militaries. During World War I, pheasants detected oncoming hostile aircraft at long distances. Canaries sensed poison gas. Gulls followed submarines in search of garbage. Carrier pigeons successfully navigated through shellfire and past bullets aimed at them, transporting messages that helped the Allies capture German submarines, and that saved the crews of downed seaplanes and a sunken minesweeper. Birds aren’t just useful, they’re bona fide heroes.
Birds Feed Us –
Birds and their eggs have been at least incidental sources of food for humans since their origin and still are in most societies. Chickens were domesticated in Asia at least 3,000 years ago. More than 230 million turkeys are consumed each year in the United States.
Feathers Keep Us Warm & Comfortable –
Bird feathers are used worldwide to stuff pillows, mattresses, sleeping bags, coats, and quilting.
Bird Watching Connects Us To Nature –
Birds hold widespread public interest and are a gateway to increased natural engagement. Nearly 60 million birders in North America have made birding the second most popular outdoor activity after gardening. Birds charm us at our feeders, challenging us to learn their field marks, molts, and names."
Well, that pretty much sums it up for me. Birds certainly do hold a charm for me. Who knew I would be joining such a popular outdoor activity And to think...it all started with the words: "...let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens...and let birds multiply on the earth.”
On the 5th day of creation week, Jesus did the amazing work of giving planet earth, living, breathing, "life".
"Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day." Genesis 1:20-23
One last thing. Did you realize Adam and Eve were not the first to be formed from the dust of the ground during Creation Week? In fact, they were the last to be formed from the dirt of the earth.
I was flabbergasted when the words jumped off the page at me. Everyone I asked had the same reaction. How did we get this old and not realize that God, although He 'spoke' trees, flowers, stars, rivers and oceans into existence, He formed from the dust the birds and fish of day 5?
"Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air..." Genesis 2:19
As you look around today, look for those little gifts in creation that God gave us. Everything we see and hear in nature, was put there by God as a reminder that He is the Creator; that nothing exists without Him. I think that is one of the reasons the 4th commandment is so important. It tells us the "why".
"...For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them..." Exodus 20:8-11
Our God, our Creator God, did all of that for us. Such amazing love! Did I mention I am now tracking dragonflies and butterflies?...