The Aerial Show

18 Oct

One of the jobs that I really enjoy doing on the farm here in the summer time is cutting hay. It is wonderful to get out in God’s beautiful creation. There’s always an exciting, beautiful aerial show to watch. It amazes me how our Creator made so many unique and beautiful birds. There are many different birds that are attracted to my hay fields. 

The ones that are out there in large numbers are the redwing blackbirds. Their bright red wing patches on the rest of their black bodies really make them stand out. I have an old fence post by a certain field road that redwing blackbirds love to sit on and sing out their beautiful songs. So over time, I ended up calling this particular field road, “Blackbird Road.”

I also have another really sharp, beautiful, small bird out there called the bob-o-link. When I was a young kid, I called them skunk birds. They are mostly black with white patches or stripes of white on their wings and backs, kind of like a skunk. But they certainly don’t smell like a skunk! They also sing out a very beautiful song. They migrate all the way down to central South America late in the summer to overwinter down there. Then in the spring, they come all the way back up here. It amazes me the wisdom and intelligence God gave these little birds. It is true that God cares for everything.

These two particular species of birds live in my hay fields. They eat lots of bugs and insects, along with an occasional earth worm.

Then I have the larger birds that live in my woods that come to visit when I am out there cutting hay. Why do they come and visit then, you ask? Because they like me so much that they just have to come and say, “Hello.” No, I am just teasing; but they most certainly do come. When I am out in the hay field cutting hay with my discbine, usually a few field mice, and once in awhile a streaked gopher, will get killed by it. In come the birds of prey for a free meal, like the U. S. Air Force on a bombing mission, sometimes landing within feet of my discbine.

The crows will come in first, looking for dead mice, bugs, and insects. When they find a mouse, they will usually carry it off to their nest high up in some tree in the woods to feed to their young ones. The blackbirds will seek to attack the crows in the air, peck at them, and sometimes hurt them. They do this to try and keep them out of their territory. The blackbirds protect their young ones and their food supply this way. The blackbirds can out maneuver the crows because they are smaller. Oftentimes four or five blackbirds will attack a single crow in the air, trying to drive it out of their hay field.

Next we get even bigger birds coming, looking for free meals. They are the hawks. Now when the crows see them coming, they try to ambush them in the air and drive them away. The crows, like the blackbirds, don’t want to share the goodies with anybody else. On occasion, I have seen blackbirds attacking crows, which are attacking hawks, all at the same time. It can be an incredible aerial show.

Once in awhile, I see a great, majestic bald eagle in my hay field. A couple times I have gotten within 30 or 40 feet of one of them. They are one incredible bird!

My favorite bird to watch though, when I am cutting hay, is the peregrine falcon. These birds will go into a headfirst dive and get up to 180 miles per hour. Just a few feet before hitting the ground, they will spread out their wings to break their crash dive. They are excellent hunters, catching live mice, gophers, rats, and snakes. The first time I saw one of these dive, it was heading to the earth so fast I thought there was no way it could pull out of its incredible dive. I was sure there was going to be a dead bird. But at the last split second, it put its wings out and had a hard landing. It caught the mouse; and after a little recovery time, took back off.

I find it very interesting and enjoyable watching all these birds. It does not surprise me that the U. S. Air Force has named some of its aircraft after certain birds. I stand in awe at how our Creator has made all these birds so unique and special. You don’t have to be out cutting hay, like I do, to enjoy the birds. Just get outside and look around you. You may well be amazed at what you see. God made each species of birds unique; just like He has made each and every person unique. Who could make the small bob-o-link so pretty and give it the ability to travel many thousands of miles, or who could make the falcon such a skillful hunter that dives at such incredible speeds, or who could make all the other birds each so unique in their ways. Only a very wise, loving God — the same one who created you and me. He made you very unique and special because He loves you so. The Bible tells us that He loves you much more than the birds.  Matthew 10:31 says, “Ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  He has a wonderful plan for your life. If you will seek Him He will reveal it to you.

Tom Heck, his wife Joanne, and their two children, Catherine and Joshua, own and operate a 35 cow, 159 acre dairy farm in northwestern WI. Contact Tom at: lifeonthefamilyfarm@gmail.com  Copyright © 2012 by Tom Heck.  All rights reserved.

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