“Behold the fowls of the air,” commanded Jesus (Matt. 6:26). John Stott remarked, “Jesus was an acute observer of nature” (The Birds our Teachers: Biblical Lessons from a Lifelong Bird-Watcher, p. 14). These things being so, today we were blessed to both obey and imitate Jesus! For the first time in nearly twenty years of birding, we had the distinct pleasure to acutely observing the first Rose-breasted Grosbeak that we remember ever seeing.
While walking across the deck late this morning, I caught a flash of black and white near the suet feeder hanging above a sitting bench in the southeastern corner of the yard. I nearly dismissed it at being our regular Mockingbird; thankfully, though, I took a second glance. I hollered to Fanny to grab the glasses, hopefully suggesting it might be a Grosbeak. Sure enough!
I could hardly make the positive identification before Fanny’s head gradually appeared in the lower rim of my binocular picture. Typically, she had already begun her stealthy stalk toward the unsuspecting bird. Perhaps more than any other situation, Fanny’s one-eighth of Cherokee blood is evidenced when there is a beautiful bird in the yard and her Kodak Z990 is in hand. She slowly moves across the lawn seemingly without even bending a clover stem (it is almost creepy to watch!). It can also be frustrating, as Israel and I are satisfied after a shot or two. However, neither we nor the dogs are allowed to come out of the house, until Fanny is convinced that the bird has left the area and is never, ever, ever returning...lest she misses one last opportunity for a shot! Ugh.
Today was worth the wait. She was able to pull off these and many other remarkable pictures.
Then this evening, he returned again. He relaxingly feasted on some more suet, while we were working the garden beds a mere twenty foot from the feeder. He spent about ten minutes with us and was off again. This jewel doesn’t normally summer in our region, so we are probably just a brief stop on the spring migration trip. What a joy!
Because our fowl friend is still in molting, I would suggest clicking the link above and seeing the bird in full plumage in order to fully appreciate the brilliant handiwork of our incomprehensible Creator God!