Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

birds Archive



November 2022

Consider the ravens

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. Psalm 147:9 | Read more about the significance of ravens on hopereflected.com

True or false: After the flood, the first bird Noah sent out of the ark was a dove?


After the flood, the first bird Noah sent out of the ark was a raven (Genesis 8:7).

Even though it’s written right in Scripture, perhaps we are surprised at this because we prefer the illustration of the presence and promise of God associated with the dove more than we do the darkness and death often associated with the raven. Several commentaries observe that Noah’s reasoning for sending out the raven first was likely because as a scavenger bird, the raven would be first to smell the decaying flesh of dead carcasses on the dry earth. And yet, when we think of Noah’s ark, we are more likely to recall the dove returning to the ark with an olive leaf. We should not discount the importance of ravens in Scripture, however.

Ravens in the Bible are very significant.

Ravens are fascinating creatures. When we read about ravens in the Bible, several times throughout Scripture ravens are used as examples of darkness, however ravens also paint a beautiful picture of God’s provision. It is interesting to note that God would choose to use such a bird as an example, because in Biblical times ravens were abominated by the Jews and considered to be unclean (Lev. 11:15). This is what makes the picture so beautiful: If God cares and provides for even the raven—a bottom-feeding bird that is despised and unclean—how much more must He care for us!

God cares for all His creatures.

The same God who cares about people whose homes and lives are being destroyed because of ravaging war also cares about birds in backyards who are building their nests. While we may not understand how He can care simultaneously for both, Jesus Himself told the disciples to “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?” (Luke 12:24). God demonstrates care for all His creatures; both great and small. Creatures that don’t matter at all to us matter a great deal to Him. God Himself asked Job, “Who provideth for the raven his food? When his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.” (Job 38:41). Who provides for the ravens? Certainly not man, but God. And if God provides for even the lowliest of creatures, will He not also provide for us?

“Although the Lord may not appear for us in the way we expect, or desire, or suppose,
yet He will in some way or other provide for us.”

Charles Spurgeon

When Elijah could not provide food for himself, he remained obedient to God and trusted Him. It was no coincidence that God used ravens to provide Elijah with what he needed (1 Kings 17:6). Here again we see a beautiful picture of God’s providence and provision for us, painted from one of the most unlikely sources (ravens in the Bible). As Spurgeon said, “Although the Lord may not appear for us in the way we expect, or desire, or suppose, yet He will in some way or other provide for us.”

“He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.” (Psalm 147:9). God provides all things to all creatures, even the ravens.

Originally published as “Consider the ravens.” Independent Plus. April 28, 2022: 5. Print. Web.



November 2022

Even the birds

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? Luke 12:24 | Read more at hopereflected.com

God’s hand is in every detail

We’ve all seen the incredible display of hundreds or thousands of birds flitting about together, flying in a specially-choreographed formation across the sky. This is called a murmuration, and is thought to be the result of birds flying together to keep warm, conserve energy, and nest in large groups to keep safe. While some may argue that these instincts are given by nature, we understand that these exhibitions of the vertebrate kind are nothing short of God’s creation, as He said in the beginning that birds “may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” (Gen. 1:20).

Where’s your focus?

During His earthly ministry, when a human murmuration – an “innumerable multitude”, a crowd so large that they were stepping on one another (Luke 12:1) – were gathered together to hear Jesus teach, Jesus, directly after sharing with everyone the parable of the rich fool, shared specifically with the disciples the importance of not being anxious or worrying. While we may ponder how the two topics are connected, the answer is simple. When we lay up treasures for ourselves, when we strive to do things on our own, we are bound to be anxious and worried, because we’re focusing on the wrong things.  

“Our focus, where we’re investing, is of utmost importance.”

Hope Reflected

“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?” (Luke 12:24). Our focus, where we’re investing, is of utmost importance. When we focus on the unrest and upheaval around us, of course we are bound to be anxious and worried.

When we focus on God and the fact that none of what is happening right now is a surprise to Him, and that He is still very much in control, we remember that His hand is in every detail, even the birds. The Bible tells us that every bird in the sky knows the hand of the Lord (Job 12:9) and that eagles soar at God’s command and build their nests on high (Job 39:27).

Comfort and safety near the Lord

The picture we see painted by the Psalmist in Psalm 84:3, “Yes, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.” Even the smallest of creatures finds comfort and safety near the Lord. In the midst of dark hours these little birds sought refuge and rest close to Him.

Can the same be said of us, that the Lord’s presence is the place where we find comfort and safety, where we seek refuge and rest? MacLaren in his expositions wrote that, “These words not only may hearten us with confidence that our desires will be satisfied if they are set upon Him, but they point us to the one way by which they are so.”

Because God knows even the birds of the sky, because He calls them His (Psalm 50:11), we can rest assured that God also knows all the details of what is happening both on The Hill and He knows the desires within each one of our hearts.

Originally published as “Even the birds.” Independent Plus. March 3, 2022: 5. Print. Web.



April 2018

Tips for helping robins

Written by , Posted in Gardening

Tips for helping robins in winter | see more at hopereflected.com

I think we all understand that it’s no longer winter, but seeing as we’re experiencing one last (we hope) blast of winter before spring sets in, today I’m sharing some tips for helping robins. You’ve likely noticed all the robins flitting about in your yard, along the sides of road ways, and in the streets.

Here are some suggestions and tips for helping robins in winter (or in this unseasonable stormy and cold spring):

Tips for helping robins in winter | see more at hopereflected.com

  • It’s a misconception that robins only eat worms. Robins also enjoy various types of berries, and they’ll even eat cracked corn. If you have robins in your yard, set out some berries to help the little guys get through this cold spell: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, raisins, and even apple chunks are favourites.
  • Fresh water. You may think that we’ve got enough precipitation, however even in these cold and freezing temperatures, it’s important for robins (and other birds) to stay hydrated and have a fresh source of water for keeping clean.
  • Ground to forage. This one is tough, especially with that layer of ice that seems to be covering everything, however if you’re able to clear a spot on the ground, robins are creatures who love to forage. You’ve likely noticed them along the sides of your house, or in any place where there’s a clearing (like on the sides of highways and streets).
  • Don’t panic. We have this notion that robins can’t survive cold temperatures or that since they’ve migrated north after all winter that they’re not accustomed to or can’t handle winter weather. They can! But that doesn’t mean we can’t help them out.

For more information about robins, visit Living With Wildlife.

Tips for helping robins in winter | see more at hopereflected.com



May 2017

Hope’s How-To: The Robins Are Back

Written by , Posted in Gardening

hope's how-to: Robins are nesting

If you were following along on the blog last year, you read all about the family of robins that nested on the nesting shelf that Wes built me. Well friends, the robins are back! Wes and I were so excited to see on Saturday night that the robins have officially built their nest on our nesting shelf, and we are so looking forward to seeing another robin family grow and take flight right in our own yard.

A bit of back story for you: At the beginning of April, I noticed that there were some twigs on our nesting shelf. I knew these had to be recent, as after our robin family flew the coup last year, Wes and I disposed of the old nest and sprayed down the nesting shelf. I noticed one day that there were grackles up on top of the shelf. Concerned, and thinking that perhaps it was grackles and not robins using our shelf, I cleared off the shelf once again.

Three full weeks passed, and I waited patiently for the robins to nest. Nothing. Then, last week, I asked Wes to spray off the shelf again (lest the scent of the grackles was deterring a robin family from nesting). He did, and what do you know — we checked on Saturday night and in a span of less than 8 hours — the robins had built a whole nest!

hope's how-to: robin's nesting shelf

While it’s certainly not as neat as last year’s nest, it would appear that the robins are here to stay for the season. If you’re looking for ways to attract robins in your own yard, you should note that robins love blueberries (any berries, really). Also, if you’ve got a lawn that is more moist than dry (worms love moisture), you’re more likely to attract robins to your yard.

So far, it appears that our robins are making themselves at home. The robins have been busy around our yard, searching for worms, mating (I think?), and preparing to lay their eggs.

hope's how-to: robin's nesting shelf

Stay tuned for more photos as the season moves along. We are excited once again to be sharing the journey of the robin’s nesting shelf and robin family with you!

hope's how-to: robin's nesting shelf

For more on last year’s robins, click here.



March 2017

Outdoor Living | Birds of Winter

Written by , Posted in Gardening

bird feeders

While it’s no secret that Wes and I love birds (you’ll recall that last Spring we welcomed a family of robins to our patio) this winter we’ve had some issues attracting more feathered friends to our yard.

At first we thought maybe it was the feed, then we thought perhaps it could be our timing (we waited until well into December before we set up our winter feeders), and then we discovered it was really just the bird feeder placement.

We’ve got three bird feeders:

  • A tube feeder (metal, enclosed hanging feeder that feeds seed out at ports with perches) which is store-bought,
  • A suet feeder (metal/wood construction with spots to hold two suet cakes),
  • Our favourite is featured in today’s post. A handmade cedar tray feeder which we bought from one of our neighbours (he constructs them as a hobby).

bird feeder

We started our cedar tray bird feeder out on one of our stone benches, but found the only creatures it attracted were squirrels. Last weekend, Wes relocated the tray feeder so it now hangs outside one of our kitchen windows, and after repositioning the bird feeder to eye level, voila! We’ve got birds, people!

Likely a combination of the location of the feeder, as well as its proximity to the fence, our cedars, and our Japanese maple tree, we have a real community of birds visiting our bird feeder once again.

I’ve yet to capture some decent images, so for now you’ll have to enjoy these quick snaps. In the past few days, we’ve enjoyed watching cardinals (both male and female), dark-eyed juncos, slate-coloured juncos (according to our bird book, the slate-coloured junco is a rare variety), as well as house sparrows. (Wes is somewhat concerned with the territorial nature of the house sparrows, as they have been known to extremely aggressive against other birds.)

What birds are frequenting your feeder this winter?

bird feeder




May 2016

Hope’s How-To: Build a Robin’s Nest – Part 3 – Baby Robins Are Here

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Gardening, Hope's How-To

mama robin feeding baby robins

They’re here!

While Wes and I were away, looks like Mama Robin had plenty of time to sit on her eggs! Four sweet baby robins have entered in to the world and are being raised on our patio. Wes has had to remind me several times to give the new family space—especially since the temperatures have been so cold—however today I was able to capture some photos of our tenants.

mama robin feeding baby robins

Mama and Papa Robin have pretty much taken over our property, and even pulling up the drive I can see them bouncing around on the lawn, giving me their most threatening glances. Fortunately, yesterday evening, I was able to get some photos of mama robin feeding her baby robins.

mama robin feeding baby robins

It is quite a phenomenon, watching robins feed their young. Robins are an altricial species, meaning that their young are hatched or born in an undeveloped state that requires care and feeding by the parents. Unlike chicks who hatch in a more mature state, baby robins aren’t the best looking birds of the bunch (although admittedly I do find them quite adorable).

mama robin feeding baby robins

Most baby robins have very few or no feathers, bulging eyes, and almost transparent skin. It is truly a miracle of creation to see these little birds up close, and also to observe the parent robins feeding their young.

mama robin feeding baby robins

Interestingly enough, robins start feeding at sunrise, and often Mama and Papa robins feed their young about every twenty minutes from sunrise to sunset. Their diet consists mostly of worms and berries.

mama robin feeding baby robins

Typically it takes baby robins two weeks (likely 9 to 16 days) to be fledged before they fly from the nest, and you can usually tell once baby robins are a week old as the parent robin(s) stop sleeping in the nest around that time.

mama robin feeding baby robins

Another important thing to remember about robins is that the parent robins go by sight and sound, not by smell. This means, that unlike other animals with young, if you discover a baby robin that has fallen from the nest, you can gently pick it up and place it back in the nest without the Mama and Papa robins abandoning the fledglings.

mama robin feeding baby robins

“Look at the birds of the air….” {Matthew 6:26}




April 2016

Hope’s How-To: Build A Robin’s Nest – Part 2 – The Robin’s Eggs

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Gardening, Hope's How-To

robin's eggs

Robin’s nest update for you all: The robin has laid two — count it, TWO — eggs! Yes, that’s right! Robin’s eggs! Yesterday afternoon, I noted whilst driving away from the house that the mama robin was in the nest. Sure enough, last night when we checked, you can imagine my delight upon the discovery of two beautiful robin’s egg blue robin’s eggs.

My initial exclamation was something about how exciting this promise of new life is; Wes’s initial exclamation was about the future of the robin species. The robin deciding to lay her eggs is a beautiful example of a delicate, fragile new beginning, right on our porch. Whatever way you choose to look at it, we are  absolutely thrilled with the prospect of two baby robins starting their lives and learning the ropes from the comfort of our porch.

robin's egg - hope's how-to build a robin's shelf

We are being careful not to be disruptive while the mama robin incubates and raises her young [although I have to say in hindsight I wish we’d set up a time lapse camera to capture all the action; note to self for next year].

Here are some fascinating facts about robins and their eggs:

  1. The incubation period for a robin’s egg is 12 to 14 days.
  2. The female robin typically does the incubating, rarely leaving her eggs for more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
  3. After birth, baby robins spend an average of 9 to 16 days in the nest.

Stay tuned for more action as we keep an eye on the mama robin and her young. Anyone else have robins planting roots in their yard this year?



April 2016

Hope’s How-To: Build a Robin’s Nesting Shelf

Written by , Posted in Hope's How-To


Spring is always an exciting time of year: The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter, and there are signs of new life everywhere. All this to say, we’ve had a less than stable Spring so far, what with fluctuating temperatures and seemingly endless snow. That’s got the returning robins scrambling, looking for a secure place to nest, and also foraging for food.

You’ve likely noticed the beautiful birds by the roadside or out on your lawn, looking for worms, berries, or other items to eat. They’re also deep into scouting season — looking for the best place to settle down, lay their eggs, and raise their young (for a full 13 days).

Being the compassionate person that I am, — save all the animals! — Wes agreed to build me a robin’s nesting shelf (or two!) to see if we could welcome a couple of new feathered friends to our home.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact building a robin’s nesting shelf can be quite simple. You don’t have to use the best wood, and measurements don’t need to be exact. Just remember to include the fundamentals of a sturdy shelf made from non-pressure treated wood, a shelf approximately 8 inches squared (or something in that range), a height of at least 7 feet off the ground.

Here’s how Wes built ours:

  • For building my robin’s nesting shelves, Wes used 4-inch Spruce straps, non-pressure treated. You could use any other kind of wood, permitting it’s not pressure treated. Wes just used Spruce straps since we had them on hand.


  • The platform should be approximately 8 inches squared, and depending on where you plan to install the nesting shelf, it may or may not need a roof (cover). Wes made one for me without a cover for under our covered porch, and one with a cover that’s on a more exposed side of the house.
  • Another key is that you don’t want to have any kind of barrier on the front of the nesting shelf.


  • You’ll also want to be mindful that the nesting shelf is secured in a location where there is no way for cats or squirrels to climb up into the nest.
  • A good rule of thumb for where you’ll locate the nesting shelf, is to find a place close to your home that is between 7 feet tall and tree top height. It should be in a location that gets some sun, but also stays cool and dry.
    • Many people choose to secure a robin’s nesting shelf onto their home (rather than in a tree or on a fence) because predators like cats, squirrels, and even other birds (like Starlings or Crows) are less likely to get too close to your house. (You may have noticed in the past, that sometimes robins will choose to nest above a porch light or on top of a downspout, and this is why.)


  • If your house is made with brick or stone, secure the nesting shelf with a tap-con or a concrete nail. Be sure to pre-drill to the appropriate size for that fastener. If your house is made with siding, before drilling, make sure you’re not compromising the house material or drilling into electrical/plumbing/etc.


  • When the season is over, make sure to dispose of their old nest and clean the nesting shelf. Old nests have the potential to breed lice or mites. Besides this, next year, returning robins will build a fresh nest.
  • If you’re looking to make your nest shelf even more attractive, you could set out some berries or meal worms for the robins.


Robins appearing are a sure sign of Spring. I hope you are able to take some time to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation during this season!

“The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young…” {Psalm 84:3}