Hallelujah! — A Beautiful Scissortail!

Hallelujah! — A Beautiful Scissortail!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

He [i.e., God] hath made every thing beautiful in His time; also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Ken Slade / BirdNote.org photo credit

It was a welcome sight to see a beautiful Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, last week, when my wife and I were returning home, in our van, near the Elm Fork of Texas’s Trinity River. The scissortail was perched upon a utility line, paralleling the roadside, near the edge of a forested area–and what a beautiful bird the scissor tail is!

For relevant information (and pictures) of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, see my earlier blogpost, “SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER: the Texas Bird of Paradise”, posted at https://leesbird.com/2022/06/17/scissor-tailed-flycatcher-the-texas-bird-of-paradise/ .

scissortail in flight.cornell
SCISSORTAIL in flight (Cornell photo credit)

Enjoying even a quick view, of what Lee Dusing calls “God’s avian wonders”, is a reminder that we need to get outside more often, especially as the weather permits. (Can I get an “Amen” on that?)

The need to enjoy nature is recognized by many folks, including non-Christians (as is evidenced by the quote below), yet Christians especially should be enjoying God’s interactive handwork–especially “God’s avian wonders”.

Tracking a white-tailed deer through a forest, hooking a smallmouth bass or rockfish, feeding ruby-throated hummingbirds in your backyard, or just watching a beautiful butterfly visit flower after flower in your garden — these are all activities that connect us not only to nature but to each other. And a growing body of research shows that we are healthier and happier when we spend more time outdoors.

This passion for wildlife and wild places is reflected in the preliminary findings of the 2022 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, coordinated by my employer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. First conducted in 1955 — and every five or six years since — this survey is based on interviews with thousands of citizens from all walks of life.

In 2022, more than 259 million Americans participated in some form of wildlife-associated recreation including fishing, hunting, birdwatching, photography and more. Watching wildlife was most popular (148 million), followed by fishing (almost 40 million) and hunting (14 million). This translates into 57% of Americans spending time observing wildlife. About 15% fished, and 6% hunted. The Mid-Atlantic region mimicked this trend with 17.8 million (54%) citizens engaged in wildlife watching, while 4 million fished (13%) and 1.5 million hunted (5%).

The survey defines wildlife watching primarily as taking a special interest in wildlife around homes or taking a trip for the primary purpose of seeing animals of one kind or another. But it also includes feeding animals (mainly birds), photographing them and maintaining or planting natural areas for the benefit of wildlife. Most people did these things around or near their homes (146 million). A comparison of results from the 2022 survey with those of the 2016 survey revealed there was a 72% increase in the number of Americans engaged in wildlife watching.

Kathy Reshetiloff, “More Than Ever, we like to go where the wild things are”, CHESAPEAKE BAY JOURNAL, 33(7):40 (October 2023), emphasis added.

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Forrest Mims III / Seguin Gazette photo credit

Wow! Wildlife watching is really a big deal!

And the most popular form of wildlife watching is birdwatching. (THANKS, LEE, for hosting this Christian birdwatching blog–all these many years–so that we can cyber-share in these beautiful birdwatching experiences, with all of those who–in God’s providence–visit this wonderful blog.)

Of course, of all those who enjoy birdwatching (in the wild or via cyber “watching”), surely Christians should enjoy birdwatching the most, because Christians personally know the marvelous Maker of all the beautiful birds (John 17:3; 2nd Corinthians 10:17; Jeremiah 9:23-24), including scissortails!

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