Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Back Porch Sights

As I sat on my back porch recently reading a book, I had a visitor. One I had not had in the twenty years we have lived in this home: a Red-headed Woodpecker. We are regularly visited by Yellow-shafted Flickers, along with the garden variety of birds — robins, house finches, starlings, and mourning doves — but never have I seen a Red-head.
It landed on a telephone pole, spied out the area and then visited a Maple hoping to find something to hammer for. Not a peck. Then it flew on. Thanks, I said, Lord for such visitors.
Along with the family of Eastern Bluebirds at our local forest preserve, we’ve had a nice summer of birds.
We also spent some time last weekend planting these grasses just off the back porch: Prairie Dropseed and Elijah Blue. We were smitten with Dropseed at the forest preserve and last week bumped into one of the gardeners who told us what they were. So, we marched to the local nursery, bought some and then found some Elijah Blue, and planted them. The ground was something straight out of Genesis 3, for my shovel seemed to find a rock for each plant. Hurts the elbows. Blame it on Adam.
But, we are grateful we haven’t seen one of these Kapuas Mud snakes from Borneo in the backyard, or maybe we just haven’t spotted them!

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David Reeves

posted July 1, 2006 at 7:33 am

Scot if you’re thrilled with the sighting of a red headed woodpecker, I imagine you would be thrilled at what we saw the other day on our walk, a pileated Woodpecker, huge, and doing a number on a dead tree in the area. Have not seen one in 20 years.

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Scot McKnight

posted July 1, 2006 at 7:42 am

Cool, David. Only seen one pileated.

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted July 1, 2006 at 11:01 am

My grandmother set the love of bird watching in my heart years ago. I was lucky to grow up in an area that is an ornithologists paradise (and one of bird watchings best kept secret). If you ever want to do a trip to bird watch in Canada, the Rainy River valley ( has developed a strange variety of birds who, by all other accounts, should not be there. If you ever want to visit, let me know. I have family who would be happy to host you (my folks live across from the Evan. Covenant Church I grew up going to).

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posted July 1, 2006 at 1:30 pm

well as you can imagine we see many such birds at our feeder and around our yard. The beautifulyellow finches just flock to our feeder . Another visitor came a couple weeks ago and took down our big feeder… she brought her hubby & cubs w/ her. YES.. you guessed it.. A big black bear. She LOVED the bird seed but after we removed it she disappeared after visiting 3 evenings.

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Scot McKnight

posted July 1, 2006 at 1:32 pm

No black bears in Libertyville yet. Nor are we hoping for them to arrive.

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posted July 1, 2006 at 3:09 pm

I love the birds, grew up with Dad an ardent bird watcher. I got his Audobon bird book when he died. I don’t have his storehouse of knowledge, though. One thing I love when we go into Spring, is hearing different bird songs as birds return to our area. Can’t identify which birds they belong to, but Dad would have been able to. We have a woodpecker that pecks on our south wall. Not often, and not for long. First wonder – what the heck is that? What’s going on? Then realize, oh yeh, it’s the woodpecker.
Dad did not like English sparrows. He said they crowded out the other birds. One day he took my brother’s bb gun, spent the day by the upstairs bedroom window, and plinked english sparrows all day. I know, makes us sound like hillbillies. Now there’s a character to work into a book!
Love hearing the mockingbirds and mourning doves when in Florida.

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chuckk gerwig

posted July 1, 2006 at 11:05 pm

Sitting in ones yard can be revelatory. I’ve been out on my back deck recently listening to the owl in the redwood trees and the flutter of the small bats from the forest.

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posted July 3, 2006 at 3:23 pm

It’s interesting to hear some of these stories. They help me appreciate some of God’s artistry in my surroundings again. I’ve lived in South Florida all my life, and there’s a lot to see. Regarding the red-headed woodpecker, I’ve always liked its way of flying. I don’t know if you had a chance to notice it, but it’s pretty distinctive. God’s many nuances are really amazing.

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