This picture is a bufflehead. Like many ducks it nests in abandoned cavities, but in this case it is almost always a nest excavated by a northern flicker. Presumably the reason for the symbiotic relationship is caused by the similarity in size requirements between the two birds.

When it comes to nesting cavities there are several relevant measurements. The size of the inside of the cavity, the size of the opening and how high the cavity is off of the ground all come into play. The most important of these measurements is the size of the opening. It has to be big enough for the owner to fit through.

But you don’t want the opening to be any bigger. Predators tend to be larger than prey. Having a spacious opening means leaving the welcome mat out for whatever wants to turn you into a meal. There are, of course, some predators that can access a smaller hole, such as snakes, but hawks, owls, felines and canines will not pass through that small opening.

One of the key factors of security is controlling access. This is not just a rule in the physical world, it is also a spiritual problem. Have you noticed how many times in the Bible God’s people were admonished to remove something? Idols, those who practice witchcraft, foreigners and their gods all have to go in order to stop their spiritual influence. In a world that prides itself on inclusiveness being spiritually discerning is difficult.

The only way it really works is to take God’s Word seriously and to stay away from those things that God makes clear is bad or unhealthy. This turns walking with God into a narrow path, and narrow ideas conflict with the open minded age we live in. But like the door into the nesting cavity, opening up the passage way will allow harmful things in.

Isaiah 14:6 (HCSB) “Therefore, say to the house of Israel: This is what the Lord God says: Repent and turn away from your idols; turn your faces away from all your detestable things.”



Redhead Duck

This is a redhead. I found this one swimming around a city park. In this picture you can see the red color of the bird’s head. That coloration is occasionally seen as a brighter red if the light is just right, but usually is colored like this picture.

The redhead has a habit which a few other birds and waterfowl have and that is it will parasitize the nests of other birds. What this means is they will lay their eggs in another birds nest. For a very few species, they never nest on their own and this practice is their entire survival strategy. For the redhead though it is not so much a survival strategy as just an odd habit. Sometimes they lay an egg in the nest of another redhead. Often times it is laid in the nest of some other water bird. Herons, bitterns, geese and more have returned to the nest to find a new egg left by a redhead. These eggs seldom survive.

I believe there is a lesson here for Christians. Most of us have a desire to serve the Lord. We know this often comes in the form of serving others, both inside and outside the church. This sacrifice of service is precious to the church and to the servant. Sometimes for the person who is outside the church it is also appreciated and can draw the person into a saving relationship with Christ.

But at other times, the person being served will be spiteful about that service. They will see it as something Christians do out of foolishness. Others are so hostile to the gospel as to not want any acts of Christian kindness around them. In cases like this sometimes the decision should be made redirect our efforts.

Time is more valuable than money, and wasting time on a person who does not want the attention or assistance is robbing us of the opportunity to serve someone who does. Jesus spoke of it this way in Matthew 7:6 “Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.”

Cinnamon Teal

Cinnamon Teal

The cinnamon teal is the only duck which has two separate breeding populations in North America and in South America. There are many ducks, and other birds, which travel between the two continents. But the Cinnamon teal has the exact same bird in two separate groups. One migrates across North America and the other across South America. As far as anyone knows the two groups never mingle.

This is interesting because it doesn’t fit how the scientific world believes speciation works. If you have two different populations they are supposed to become two different birds. I suppose they would explain this by speculating that what was previously a single population became separated in relatively recent history. It would have to be relatively recent or else the ducks would have evolved differently.

I personally have another explanation for how it occurred. I prefer to attribute it to God’s sense of humor. No matter how wise humanity thinks they have become, God is still Lord of all. His creation is not bound by the petty explanations of humanity. Believers need to take a lesson from this. Always build into your theology, your expectations of your God, He can do whatever He wants to do.

When we begin to put a certain set of expectations on God, we fail to let Him be the boss. We cannot pin Him in to a pattern of behavior, without denying Him Lordship. We think we like predictable, and if we were big enough to understand Him, God would be the ultimate in consistency. But we are not capable of understanding Him, and to us he appears to be wild, unpredictable, maybe even random. Or to put that another way, just when we think we have everything figured out, God will throw us a curve.

God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world —what is viewed as nothing —to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:28-29 (HCSB)