Backyard Birding

Along with Easter, springtime is here and I’ve found an excellent method for successful spring birding here in Taiwan. Get up early. Stand on back porch. Look around.

Actually it reminds me of some of the first sightings I ever made, at home, from the kitchen window. It was like a photo blind! Birds would come through the yard or visit the feeder and hardly notice the observers at the window. It’s always thrilling any time you find a good location, settle in and watch the surrounding scenery come to life. The Lord has provided for some great sightings, not because I sought them, but because I kept my eyes open along the trail of life.

It would certainly be a colorful sight to post pictures of the birds seen here, but I’m going to have to go for second best and post some links. They are some really outstanding pictures nonetheless. Special thanks to Birding In Taiwan and the Oriental Bird Club Image Database.

Common Kingfisher
Oriental Pond Heron
Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler
White Wagtail
Gray Wagtail
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Taiwan Bulbul
Black Bulbul
Brown Shrike
Black Drongo
White-rumped Munia
Pacific Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Taiwan Yuhina
Yellow Wagtail
Little Ringed Plover
Gray Starling
Formosan Magpie

Now for some stories! This morning, while things were still dusky, I barely caught a glimpse of the mystery bird. It’s lonely, descending, two-syllabled cry haunted me for several days. My chance to see it came this morning when a medium-large heron-like bird flew from where I had heard it nearby, knifed between two trees and disappeared from sight. When it did call again, it was from an area further away indicating that it was that heron (or egret) making the call. If it’s the Pacific Reef Egret, then I have seen it before, in flight, on the way to our school near the coast last November.

Speaking of that school, it’s early Tuesday morning that we usually leave to go and teach there. However this week, being up earlier than normal, I was rewarded (from the same porch vista) with the sighting of a crane flying over. Except for the long, outstretched neck, I would have mistaken it for the white egrets that are so common. Maybe it’s the Japanese Crane–our favorite origami creation, remember?!

Perhaps best of all was yesterday. I had more time than usual to investigate the trees out back and to my complete surprise found a quiet but colorful Taiwan Barbet. It’s Chinese name is the “Five-colored Bird”. To tell the truth it was hard to see at first and I thought it would probably turn out to be a thrush or bulbul. When I saw the heavy bill “Barbet” came to mind and I quickly prayed for it to come out from the foliage to where I could see it better. Praise the Lord. So it did. It was a great view.

May He continue to receive glory as we follow Him and keep our eyes open for the surprises He has in store for each of us along the way.


  1. James March 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm #

    Thank you so much for taking the time to find all those pictures and link them to your post! It is thrilling to see what you are seeing there in Taiwan. I was overjoyed when I saw your post and couldn’t help but read it all the way through. God bless your future birding!

  2. Mrs. Lyons March 25, 2008 at 4:18 am #

    Mr. Donald,
    Thank you so much for sharing about your birding experiences with us at the retreat, but especially with our two youngest daughters tonight before dinner! We especially enjoyed hearing about how your dad encouraged you (with those two circles) so many years ago to trust that as you seek first God’s kingdom that He would bring both your birding interests and your love for Him together! We’re grateful He’s done that in Taiwan this year. May God continue to bless you! Mr. and Mrs. Lyons, Hannah and Lydia

  3. Michael March 31, 2008 at 6:52 am #

    Thanks for sharing those picutres. Each one is a marvel, designed not just to function and survive but to be a masterpiece of beauty. Though they may be common birds there, having never seen them before I think they are amazing. May we all have eyes to see what the Lord sees, even in the common things.

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