Does God Leave Time for Hobbies?

Of course it depends on what the hobby is. All the same, I am grateful for Matthew 6:26 where Christ calls for us all to be at least casual birdwatchers. Regardless of how busy I am, I happily find that I am always able to see the local birds and call to mind His admonition: “Behold the fowls of the air for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

This is a command that every person can follow because birds live virtually everywhere in the world, inhabiting areas cold and warm, urban and rural. And Taiwan’s subtropical climate affords a greater number of species than anywhere I’ve been before, except maybe North America as a continent. Because of the friendliness and kind efforts of those on staff with the Wild Bird Society of Taipei and the advice of a reporter friend, I had the privilege of being a part of Taipei’s annual bird fair this year at Guandu Nature Park in the northern part of the island. It was great to be in the field again.

What I enjoyed most was that it was not a solo trip. Nathan and Eric accompanied me for the day out and we had a great time together browsing bookstores in Taipei and having lunch at a Korean restaurant on the way. Once at the park I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Dr. Tim Appleton, co-organizer of the British birdfair. I also met my first Little Grebe, a dark black and red version of our Pied-billed Grebe!

The field guide used by birdwatchers in TaiwanThey had some excellent books for sale as well and with the help of the outstanding illustrations in a Chinese guide, I’ve been able to verify a few identifications of common birds including the Barn Swallow, Brown Shrike (a brown version of the Loggerhead Shrike in the Character Sketches), the Chinese or Light-vented Bulbul and Black Drongo.

Without the relationships being built on the team and elsewhere, not a single one of these identifications could have been made. This Thanksgiving I am grateful to each of you who have invested in my appreciation of wildlife in general and now the rich birdlife there is to see in Taiwan! Thank you so much.


  1. Daniel November 16, 2007 at 11:11 am #

    I took a glance at that Wikipedia article listing the birds who live in Taiwan. I can hardly believe it – there are so many! I am glad you are taking advantage of the wonderful side-opportunity God has given you to “behold [new and different] fowls of the air”!

  2. James November 17, 2007 at 6:53 pm #

    Praise the Lord you were able to go! You are a great example of putting people before projects, even birdwatching. Hope you see many more new bird species!

  3. Donald November 18, 2007 at 5:59 pm #

    This is another thing that amazed me Daniel. I had figured that of all the places I’ve lived in so far Romania would be ahead as far a species counts go (because of the Danube Delta along the Europe-Africa flyway) but the numbers surprised me: From what quick research I’ve done so far, they are as follows: Romania-about 380; Russia-about 400; Mongolia-about 430 (believe it or not) and Taiwan-about 470! And 470 is about a twentieth of the total 9,000 or so species worldwide. It is interesting.

    And I hope this week to be able to post some more pictures so you can actually see some of them. We’ll see.

  4. Mom November 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    Donald, I think it is so neat that you can share your enthusiasm for beholding the fowls of the air with the other team members who went with you!

  5. Esther November 20, 2007 at 3:22 pm #

    Donald, I think it is so neat to see that you have not lost your love for “beholding the fowls of the air” through all these years!

  6. Dad November 20, 2007 at 3:32 pm #

    I rejoice in your joy at being back in the field again! It reminds me of the times we’ve been together and you were able to identify the exact species of bird that we were “beholding”. I’m glad that you are still enjoying “beholding the fowls of the air”!

  7. Daniel W. November 20, 2007 at 5:50 pm #

    I agree Donald! Birdwatching is a rewarding hobby. Thank you for the way you enjoy God’s creation. This afternoon I was able to have a couple birds eat seed out of my hand. It was quite an experience.

  8. Michael December 1, 2007 at 6:17 pm #

    Beholding the fowls of the air made my “unsuccessful” unting trip today worthwhile. I was surprised to see a large flock of robins up in the woods and a Winter Wren flew into the blind with me! (Remember seeing our first Winter Wren at Mason Neck?) I’ll have to set aside the day’s most interesting observances for another blog post.

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