Birds Archives

Sunday Morning Sermon



This morning’s sermon
Nuthatch Chickadee duet
“Yank Yank Yank.” “Phoebe.”



Photo: Ian Lee

Happy Halloween: a baby owl does the Monster Mash

Sunday Morning: the spark of a redwing blackbird

Just when I had adjusted to, but never fully accepting,
The absence of morning birdsong.
It punctured the fall morning crispness for about 5-7 minutes.
The perfect length for a Sunday morning sermon.

A redwing blackbird’s song.

Redwings are a quintessential spring bird.
Always in a calvacade at the feeder.
Because this fall redwing blackwird was alone.
It required that I listen to its exegesis of the fall Gospel.

Spring is being planted as the leaves fall.
Use fall and winter to get used to calm as you work on yourself.
Be patient enough to let things come to you.
Like the spark of the redwing blackbird.


Photo: John Carrel

Sunday Morning: Orni-theology


“So over the years I have been trying to develop a new branch of science, which a friend and I have jocularly called ‘orni-theology,’ or the theology of birds.

[…] Martin Luther in his fine exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, became quite lyrical when he commented on Jesus’ teaching about the birds. He wrote:

You see, he is making the birds our schoolmasters and teachers. It is a great and abiding disgrace to us that in the gospel a helpless sparrow should become a theologian and a preacher to the wisest of men. We have as many teachers and preachers as there are little birds in the air. Their living example is an embarrassment to us… Whenever you listen to a nightingale, therefore, you are listening to an excellent preacher… It is as if he were saying, ‘I prefer to be in the Lord’s kitchen. He has made heaven and earth, and he himself is the cook and the host. Every day he feeds and nourishes innumerable little birds out of his hand.


–John Stott, from The Birds Our Teachers: Biblical Lessons from a Lifelong Bird Watcher

Friday Fun: Goldfinch Selfie



Photo: Bob Hundt, Wisconsin Birding Facebook Group

T.G.I.F.: As the crow flies


After a busy week, and five meetings already this morning, with one more to go, I finally feel I can kick back and start coasting along like this crow. I like how smart crows are and they’ve become one of my favorite birds in recent years.


Photo: Phoo Chan

Why this smoking section is actually healthy





I couldn’t resist Googling about nests with cigarettes and found this:

Stuffing cigarette butts into the lining of nests may seem unwholesome. But a team of ecologists says that far from being unnatural, the use of smoked cigarettes by city birds may be an urban variation of an ancient adaptation.

Birds have long been known to line their nests with vegetation rich in compounds that drive away parasites.


After 20 minutes, the team found that devices with unsmoked butts had many more parasites attached to them than devices with smoked butts — which contain more nicotine as the cigarette smoke has passed through them. Indeed, in nests that contained bird eggs, traps with unsmoked butts caught on average more than twice as many parasites.

“It really makes me wonder: might these birds show a preference for cigarette brands high in nicotine? If they did, that might suggest this behaviour has truly evolved as an adaptive response to challenges from parasites,” says Timothy Mousseau, an ecologist at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Twitter

Photo: Kaos

3:00 a.m. July 5th

So quiet it wakes me up.
No carnival noise in the distance.
No cover band music.
No backyard fireworks!

No crowds of people streaming past the house.
No utterances from noisy drunk people.

No birdsong.
Not even a crow.
Too early for bird happy hour.
I hope they weren’t too badly startled by all the backyard fireworks.
Well, of course they were.
Loud noises cause panic flying in birds.
I hope they are all OK.

After three minutes there is a noise.
A car.
Or is that a motorcycle?
Or maybe that red two seater thing seen all around town as of late?
I fall back asleep.

Happy July 5th!


Photo: Howard Ignatius / CC BY NC 2.0 via Audubon

Monday Morning Inspiration: summer reading group

I have a one week staycation this week and hope to do plenty of this:


Photo credit: The New Yorker

TGIF! The crows think so too

This morning I woke up to the sound of crows cawing over and over again during bird happy hour. I guess they were happy it’s Friday too. I finally went out to ask one of the crows what was going on but he didn’t dignify me with a response and flew away. Oh well. In celebration of TGIF here’s my favorite crow video – the crow is using a lid to sled down a roof:

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