Creation

Bugs and Blooms

2 Peter 3:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
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Our Cow Slobber finally bloomed and along came the pollinators.

Red-eyed flies (description, not their name) are attracted to our Swamp Milkweed.

Pretty, pretty Clematis but we’ve never seen it used by any pollinators.

No blooms in sight, but we have a handy-dandy bug catcher outside my kitchen window. It is a type of Orb Weaver that is into recycling. Every day, it will roll up and eat its old web before building a new one.

Last year we did not see many Monarch butterflies, but this year we have seen several around our yard. I checked our Swamp Milkweed a time or two, but didn’t see any caterpillars, so they might be using the Common Milkweed in the area.

It seems many people dislike bugs and will kill them before thinking of other solutions.  To a degree I can understand the whys (gardening, disease, etc), but God created the insects right along with the animals we consider beautiful.  They serve a purpose and are designed as intricately as anything else.

What confuses me, even beyond this, is the disdain and anger some people have toward birds that happen to eat the “wrong” bugs, like butterflies or praying mantises.  God has worked it out that those animals which are preyed on more heavily by other creatures tend to be more populous.  Ground birds often have larger broods than those of the trees.  Bugs lay many, many eggs to make up for the vast numbers that are eaten.   Sometimes things are turned around, praying mantises and spiders have eaten hummingbirds. We live in a fallen world, so I believe all of creation is in some way marred because of this.  We see and learn of things that are hard to take.

Categories: bugs, Creation, di blumma | Leave a comment

Some Oddities

Good morning, y’all.  This is a live post to warn you that you may see some strange emails/posts in the next day or so.  WordPress has made some changes with regards to their script usage and this has hindered my ability to write posts.  I will be trying something different and during this time of testing, you may see some unusual posts at unusual times.

Last month, I scheduled ahead several posts, so those should be normal for awhile yet.

In bird news, we had not seen the Bluebirds at the box for a few days.  Even with the high-strung male Robin, they had plugged along.  Today, I discovered their troubles.  Wasps! :(  I opened the lid, but quickly dropped it.  The wasps are thick this year. They are trying to get into our siding and along the windows.  Papa will pick up an eco-friendly spray before he comes home.  But I guess it is not so friendly to the wasps.

One place we went birding actually had wasp houses, but they are built differently than a bird house and are clustered together out in the open.  I am not sure I’d ever want to monitor and maintain such a thing.  We may not like them, but they have their benefits in nature as much as any other thing God has created.   They are a pollinator,  an exterminator of some garden pests, and a food source themselves.
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Instead of a Bible reference, here is a hymn that’s been in my head a little while.

1 Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

2 Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

3 Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.

5 Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne

7 It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus, call us to heaven’s perfect peace.

Categories: Creation, ponder

Why Did the Coots Cross the Road?

So we can laugh at them making the effort to climb up the hill after getting out of the water, walk across the road, fumble down the hill to get back into the water.  It would have been easier  if they swam under the bridge.

But maybe they got it into their heads to go through this effort because God knew how much I have longed to see this bird’s feet in person.  They are such an interesting design.  They are made to walk just fine on dry land, but those flaps of skin(?) enable them to paddle in the water as well as a duck.
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Romans 1:
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Categories: bird facts, Creation

A Special “No Glass Between Me and Thee”

Genesis 2:
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
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Long time readers of my posts may recognize the No Glass Between Me and Thee.  It is when I share photos of our feeder birds taken while I am outside without a window between us.  Here is a list of them- No Glass Between Me and Thee

This post may seem boring.  I have no photos, but I have an experience.

The sock feeders were getting very low and they could not wait until tomorrow morning.  The filling took longer because I had to fiddle with twist ties and a feeder held up by a zip-tie.  I’ve had to improvise to get more socks hung.

Two little faces were watching me from the open bird view window and exclaiming about the Nuthatch.  Then two Nuthatches.  While I am fiddling, I hear a run down of the feeders the birds were at.  And one even was about to go into my open bin of food.  It is filled with thistle seed, but I accidentally spilled in some nuts when trying to fill another feeder.

The boys wander off and I head to the double sock feeder.  I hear Jays in the main feeding area.  A Nuthatch lands on our woodpecker feeder.  After it leaves, I look and see that is nearly empty, so I pick out the stray peanuts to put in there.   I then quickly get the last socks filled and hung back up.

Just as I let go of the double feeder,  I hear a loud flutter of wings.  Gasp! A Redpoll lands right above me, maybe two feet.  It hopped to another branch, looks around.  I was stone still once she landed, but I then slowly backed away.  I was slow enough… the Redpoll flitted down to the feeder.  Then whoosh! a male lands with a chirp.  I about jump out of my skin, but my startle didn’t frighten the birds.  A third came, then a fourth.  The last was scared off by one of the females.   I was close enough to reach out and touch them.   Will one be so brave as to perch on me?

I hardly dare to think too loud and stood there I do not know how long… several minutes.  I could hear the crackle of the seeds as they are being broke open.  The birds seemed alert, always looking around between bites.  I hear other birds, but don’t turn around. AH! Out of the blue, something frightened the little birds and off they go!  The moment ends.

 

This got me thinking, wondering… Adam and Eve in the garden.  I can imagine they experienced things like this.  Birds of all sizes and colors would land around them, without a hint of fear.  Would the birds have perched on Eve’s finger if she held out her hand?   Think of all those fearsome beasts- lions, rhinos, , bears, wolves, dinosaurs…  Now, we flee if something “scary” came too close.

Sin changed everything.  Jesus Christ came to redeem us, but the damage to creation has been done.  I want to picture what life would be like if sin never took place, but I am sure I have no inkling, as I do not have a sinless brain.

2 Corinthians 5:

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Categories: Creation

I’m Stumped

James 2:
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

I’m so little and it’s so cold.

Our children are past (passed?)  that stage where we photograph every moment and share every adorable thing that pops out of their mouths.  But they still can say things that surprise me and make me laugh.

I was looking at the birds hopping around on the front porch.  That wind from the west was terribly fierce.  Few birds were in the feeding area,  but were found dining in the lee  side of the house.  I saw two little Chickadees on the porch and mentioned this to one of the children. For some reason, this caused some curiosity juices to start flowing.

“How do the males know which ones are females?”

“Uuh… I don’t know, but obviously they do as there are Chickadees all over.”

That was a lame answer, so wanted to learn more.

For one thing, I learned it is the males who sing “Fee bee”.  They will start singing before the snow melts to claim territory. (Ah, so that explains why the two Chickadees came lickety split when I whistled.)  As part of their courtship, females will beg for food which prospective males will bring to her, either seeds or bugs.  Have you ever seen the recently- fledged beg for food?  They lower their heads, bills wide open and flutter their wings to gain their parents attention.

That didn’t really answer the question.  Trying different searches I could not find the answer, but you know what?  It dawned on me!  :idea:   God created the birds and other animals with instincts to survive.  For the birds, they know what to eat, where to nest, when to migrate, how to take care of their feathers…  I believe God gave them the sense to know the difference between males and females of their own species.  He gave humans a few clues for some birds with the genders looking different in some way; colouring, and size.  But in others, it remains a mystery, unless you can examine the birds.

Categories: bird facts, Creation | 4 Comments

Nests

Revelation 4:
10The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
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Update:  As a Christian family, we need to obey the law in all things, even the seemingly* ridiculous, as long as it doesn’t conflict with God’s commands for our lives.  Because of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, we should never have kept them and we felt a strong conviction to get rid of them. I did not go back to edit the post to reflect this, but I wanted others to know that these nests are no longer in our possession.

We have a small collection of nests and I really hope this will be the extent of it.  I have told the fledglings, “No more.”  Right now we keep this in the kitchen. The eggs in the top nest are plastic.  Notice the softer material in the nests?

Who did these nests belong to?

Noon: Found on the ground after a storm. This is unknown. I thought a Grackle, but based on the nest size, I’m not sure.   It could also be the Brown Thrasher, or… :)
3 o’clock: Collected by child after nesting season was over. American Robin.  They  use a lot of mud in their nest building. The female builds, while the male stands guard. I used to think he was shirking his duty, but to protect his mate, he needs to stay alert to all that’s going on around him.  I have learned Robins may come back in following years to use the same net.  This is one reason I told the boys why we don’t want any more nests.   These nests are amazingly sturdy.
6 o’clock: Abandoned during nesting season. Chipping Sparrow.  A tiny nest for a tiny bird. Last year they thrived in our yard, so we were able to witness some of the feeding and other activities.  They will nest more exposed than many birds, so we could sometimes see mom sitting and later the fledglings before they left.
9 o’clock: A sad story. Papa thought most nesting was done in the ditches, so he mowed. When he couldn’t go further because of a “weed tree”, he backed up and discovered the exposed nest. The next day, the eggs were tossed out of the nest, broken.  This is a Dickcissel nest.  They do not nest on the ground, but about two feet above ground in small trees or shrubs.  The tall grasses would hide them.

Iowa has one brood parasite and that is the Brown-headed Cowbird.  I still have been trying to find a reason to think positively of them.  They do eat bugs, but it is only 20% of their diet.  Like many birds, the freshly hatched Cowbirds are altricial;  this means they are naked, blind and helpless.  They develop faster than the host bird’s chicks, so gets most of the food brought from the parents.  The Cowbirds often times grow bigger than the foster parent.

Our state bird the American Goldfinch is a late nester, waiting for the thistle to begin going to seed and they use the fluff as nesting material. This timing alone will prevent much of the risk of Cowbird eggs being laid in their nests, but not all.  Any Cowbird hatched in one of these nests will not survive.  The Goldfinch feeds its young thistle seeds and the new Cowbird requires the protein of bugs.

I know God made a perfect balance in nature, but if I ever would happen across a nest with Cowbird eggs in it, I’d be pretty tempted to do something about it.  I haven’t yet, and that leads to one more thought.

I have talked about human activities stressing the birds.  Even just birding can cause stress.  In Pete Dunne’s Art of Bird Finding, he talks about birds along bike trials and other areas.  Those birds are used to the goings of humans, BUT will go on alert when someone slows down or stops.  That’s not normal.

Nesting time especially is one where we need to be cautious.  Some birds have become accustomed to human activity and will nest right by doors, sidewalks, etc.   Purple Martins and Eastern Bluebirds have accepted a lot of human care by those who maintain the houses.  Even so, don’t get too close for a peek or a good camera shot.  Some birds will flee and after too many frights may just abandon the nest.  I’ve heard the parents will even do this when off the nest looking for food.  If they suspect a risk, they will not come back.

Birds really do have a rough time of it with the weather and predators, please do not place additional strain on the birds when they are bringing up the next generation.

I hope you didn’t feel this was too lengthy and were able to wade through it.  With these warmer temps, I’ve been thinking about spring activities.  I am fascinated again by all the things God did for the birds.   Besides giving Him pleasure, Creation is for our enjoyment.  I wonder what He thinks and feels when man discovers yet another aspect of what He has made.

There are other things about nesting I want to share, but I will do this in a future post. 

*About the seemingly ridiculous.  The MBTA was created to protect the birds.  There were no limits, and some birds nearly became extinct due to over-hunting.  Many were hunted for feathers and parts to please the fashion industry.  Whole birds were used to decorate hats for crying out loud!  We may find feathers, nests, egg shells and dead birds on the ground, but if an exemption was made for these things, this creates a loophole for those seeking monetary gain at the birds’ expense.  Also, birds are the original recyclers!  They will either reuse the nest or use the materials from an old nest to build another.

Categories: bird facts, Creation, di bichah, sadness | 5 Comments