Springtime Birdwatching

There are many things that I love about our yard at this time of the year. Our mature trees – the stately oak, silver maple and tulip have “leafed out” providing their beautiful shade to the property in bold greens. The rhododendron has “bloomed out” its purple gem flowers delivering a natural photo-op background for special occasions like Mother’s Day and May graduations.

The Call of the Wild!😉

The Cardinal birds can be seen perched upon the fence. They are in the season of mating, building nests to secure their eggs, and then introducing their newly hatched young ones to a whole new habitat! We have recently seen their prodigy and eagerly welcomed the three fledgling Cardinals – two brothers and one little sister - into the backyard! It’s the rhythm of springtime in all its newness!

That brings me to "The Call of the Wild!” During this season, we have a zealous woodpecker who pays us an annual visit (or at least I think it is the same one year after year!). At mid-morning, noontime and even during the dinner hour, this passionate pursuer perches himself at the highest point of our house – the fireplace chimney cap! He stands as tall as a statue in his eagerness to attract a mate!

This feathered creature is not just content to passively “strut his stuff” before any female that should come by! Rather, he creates a daily and noisy spectacle called drumming. The tireless overachiever rapidly and repeatedly uses his beak to sound out a rat-tat-tat-tat in crushing decibels on the metal cover. This is especially piercing to the ears of those of us inside the house and standing too close to the fireplace opening! The goal of this ambitious, persevering, and I might add, protected species is to persuade any prospective females to fly his way and get acquainted!

I am reminded in my backyard birdwatching how Jesus regards these feathered creatures that delight and sometimes torture me! In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses them as an illustration of why we should trust in God to supply all our needs. “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” (Matthew 6:26, MSG).

What are a few life lessons we gain from birdwatching?

1. “Look up at the birds,” Jesus says. Instead of looking at our circumstances or troubles, give attention and praise to Almighty God! Be reminded that He sees, knows, and is ready to “give us our daily bread.” Praise and thank Him!

2. “You count far more to God than birds!” As our Provider God, why expend time and energy in useless worry or fretting about our lives? God knows what we have or don’t have. More importantly, He’s focused on true needs! Be comforted by Him!

3. "Be careless" and depend on God’s care! Release worldly concerns. Be free from choking worries. Instead, trust God. Cultivate a daily confidence in the Father who dearly loves His children! Here’s a promise…those living within God’s care, provision, and protection can be as “free as a bird!”

The Psalmist paints a beautiful picture of this freedom lived within God’s security and care, “The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees!”  (Psalm104:12, NLT). Thanks to songwriters, D. Williams, and G. Mathieson, we can sing out our trust in God, “When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!”

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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