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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

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"Learning From Birds"

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you" (Job 12:7).

The other day we were on our trail walk and I heard the distinctive sound of a woodpecker high up in a tree. I looked up and barely spotted the hardworking bird since it was on the top branch of the tall tree. I tried to take a photo but just don't have the capability with my camera.

The pecking sound of a woodpecker is my favorite bird sound. I'm not any good at recognizing bird calls, but I sure recognize the pecking sound of a woodpecker! They are working as the Creator designed. I can generally go outside on any clear day in this season and almost always hear the pecking sound of the woodpecker.  I walked outside early this clear, but chilly morning and sure enough I heard the distinctive sound up in the tree line across from our home.  Listen

The woodpecker's strong, pointed beak acts as both a chisel and a crowbar to remove bark and find hiding insects. It has a very long tongue, up to four inches in some species - with a glue-like substance on the tip for catching insects. For support, woodpeckers' feet have two toes forward and two backward (except in a species aptly called the three-toed woodpecker), providing a solid base for holding onto the tree. Woodpeckers also have stiff tail feathers that, working with their feet, form something of a tripod.

Job wrote: "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you." Of course animals and birds have a language foreign to human interpretation but we still learn much from them.  Scores of books and documentaries over the centuries have been written about birds, their habits and habitats along with their many contributions to nature. Just as Job wrote, there are many lessons we can learn from birds and specifically today we consider a lesson from the woodpecker. 

As I think about the woodpecker I hear him telling me that perseverance pays off.  Woodpeckers can be very persistent and are not easily driven from their territories or selected pecking sites. They peck, peck, peck until they gain access to the grub or ant and then fill up with a good meaty lunch.

The underlying Greek word for perseverance (proskarteresis) describes a steadfast single-minded fidelity to a certain course of action. It is a trait in decline these days and yet perseverance brings great reward, but usually not right away.  Perseverance means to continue to do something with intense effort with the possible implication of doing so despite inherent difficulties. It pictures devotion of one's self to the task, keeping on it, persisting in it, and being earnest toward it.

Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

As we look out from our home office window and watch woodpeckers at the birdfeeder or observe them on our walks we proclaim with the Psalmist, "How many are your works, O Lord in wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures" (104:24)

Today we make a renewed commitment to God using the words of the Psalmist, "I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD" (Psalm 104:3,34). Won't you join us today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, help us to rid ourselves of habits and attitudes that bring a complaining, ungrateful or begrudging spirit. Renew us with a persistent spirit of joyful praise, contentment, and gratitude for as long as we live.  We rejoice in your goodness toward us and in Your steadfast love that never ceases.  Amen.

Here's an informative page about woodpeckers, along with some outstanding photos. Here's the woodpecker sound I enjoy!

More info about woodpeckers.

Note: Normally the lead photo in this series is either taken by me or a friend. However I found this very active woodpecker photo on the web and think it's neat how it captures the motion.  Here's a larger version from Don Chernoff's gallery.

Woodpecker on Noah's ark

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
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In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"All Creatures Of Our God And King"  Video  David Crowder version 

"This Is My Father's World"  Video  Fernando Ortega

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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