Posts Tagged ‘Birding’

The birds of the air…

January 19, 2010

Lesser Goldfinch

I’ve added a new page to this blog – The birds of the air…  It’s simply a bit of  dabbling in one of my biggest passions – bird watching.   It’s not remotely related to Orthodoxy, except in the sense that it’s an appreciation of the creatures put on this Earth by a loving God.  I’ve been an active birder since I took some ornithology classes related to my wildlife science major at Texas A & M, but it’s much more than a scientific study for me after 25 years.  And yes, Orthodoxy and science are not enemies.  I just happen to believe in the Orthodox teaching that some stuff is just a mystery.  Science is great, but don’t look for it to explain the unexplainable.

For me birding is the most immediate contact with the natural world and its animals.  Birds are everywhere around us; they are the most visible and accessible creatures, and picking up a pair of binoculars and “hunting” for them satisfies a human desire to understand and be a part of the natural world.  I’d go so far as to say that in some sense it’s also a spiritual experience, but not so far as to say ‘nature is my religion’ or ‘the outdoors is my church’.  Too many people these days substitute a worship of the creation for worship of the Creator.   Anyway, if you’re interested, check back once in a while and I’ll update the list with reports about my backyard feeders or any birding trips I’m taking. 

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.     Matthew 6:26

Birds of the Holy Land #1

May 26, 2009

I may never get to make a trip to the Holy Land, but I think I’ve found a way to combine Orthodoxy with one of my most passionate and long-standing hobbies – birding.   Have you ever seen or wondered about some of the common birds mentioned in the Bible and still found in Israel and Palestine?  

Think of the Lord sitting under a tree, observing the natural landscape around him.  He had to have taken notice of the plants and animals around him – he certainly knew them in a most intimate way as their witness from the beginning of Creation. 

I think of the swifts when I read the Lord’s words, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them”   Swifts are fast-flying, insect-eating aerialists that are almost never seen on the ground (unless sick, injured or affected by violent weather).  Even their taxonomic family name Apodidae, refers back to the Greek word apous or “without feet”.  They cling vertically with weak, tiny feet to the sides of their nests, through the whole awkward, clumsy business of nest building, egg laying and chick-rearing.  An unproven but popular belief is that they are such completely airborne birds that sleeping and mating are done on the wing as well.


Alpine Swift

Little Swift

Little Swift

Pallid Swift

Pallid Swift