The Birds, our Teachers

It’s the time of the year here in Chicagoland when bird variety is diminished. On and around our feeders were see chickadees and goldfinches and cardinals, and on the ground we see those sharply colored northern juncos. Sparrows, of course. But not much else.

As I was observing their busy ways in the cold of winter this morning I thought of John Stott’s book, one that many may not even know about, called The Birds Our Teachers: Biblical Lessons from a Lifelong Bird Watcher . It’s a good book and comes from the life of a lifelong birder. Stott is always expositional, but in this one he’s expositional about a theme that captured another area of his life: birds.

Stott was also a bird photographer and the book is filled with his own pictures.

Kris and I became birdwatchers on one weekend we spent with her grandmother in northern Wisconsin. She recognized every bird, some of which were exotic for us (crossbills and grosbeaks), but also had a story to tell about each.

We bought Roger Tory Peterson’s book (Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Sixth Edition ), still have it, and we’ve never looked back. It’s rare that we now see a bird we don’t recognize (except for the migrating warblers), and it’s been an enjoyable hobby for each of us.

Thanks John.

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  • Thank you for letting us know about this book! I heard from Anita Lustrea that John Stott had written something on birdwatching, so I’m so glad you’ve highlighted it here as I’ve not had the chance to find it!

    If you put raw or roasted whole peanuts out on a platform feeder, you will draw plenty of blue jays especially at this time of year. Red bellied woodpeckers like the whole peanuts as well. They are loud and a bit bullying to the others, but I never tire of seeing them appear. They are such splendid creatures to witness! And suet is great for the other varieties of woodpeckers too.

    Thanks again!

  • Scot, thank you for sharing this. It’s wonderful that such a distinguished theologian and pastor would devote a book to this subject. The theme is close to my heart as well, and work with Not One Sparrow (a Christian voice for animals). We shared a wonderful sermon from Stott on animals and our relationship to them not long ago ( Thanks again for the post, and merry Christmas! Ben