About the word Shekinah

The word Shekinah (shuh-kigh-nuh) means dwelling. It refers to the visible manifestation of the presence (or Shekinah Glory) of God. A luminous cloud. It is the very presence of God on earth. (see Holy Bible-Exodus 24:9-18)

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Hunter in my Yard"


I was sent quite a treat from God this Christmas Eve. I was in my room wrapping Christmas gifts when my daughter's excited voice called to me to come downstairs quick. She said there were two birds, but not our usual birds on our backyard fence. I looked out the window and knew immediately what they were. A pair of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) also known as the "Sparrow Hawk." The Kestrel is actually a small, jay-sized falcon. The smallest, most common and most colorful of raptors, and one that I haven't yet had the pleasure to see in the field while photographing scenery and wildlife...until now!

I knew I couldn't get good shots from the ground level, nor could I get outside to shoot without spooking them. I ran upstairs to my make-shift bird blind, actually my laundry room window which has the screen removed and some thick dark sage green material covering it. One of the pair had already flown off by the time I reached the blind.

Still, my heart was pounding with excitement of having this falcon in my own yard. I took a few shots through the window, just in case my opening it scared her off. Then, I slowly opened the window.


She did look my way when she heard the window creaking, but made no attempt to flee. She also looked when she heard the noise of the camera shutter, but didn't seem to be bothered by it or my presence.


She was such a pretty bird, even prettier in real life than online or in my bird books. She looked so nonthreatening just sitting there.


She was sitting high on our trellis and looking at the bush below her which contains many sparrows . This is when I realized she wasn't just stopping by to hang out for a while. She was here to hunt...


She patiently waited and watched, while I gathered my stool and my mono pod sensing that I would be there a while.

I tried to catch her in flight, but she was so fast that by the time I realized she was about to move, she was already out of my frame and in the bush. She was also faster than my auto focus could handle in most of the shots I took of her in flight. I did finally manage to follow her flight path and capture her attack.

I was amazed at her speed and agility.

How she twisted and turned her wings and body to get into the bush.

She didn't catch her prey this time, or any of the times I saw her hunting in my yard that day. Perhaps she is young and new at this skill...


...or, perhaps the driving wind threw off her aim. I guess I'll never know. I do hope she visits me again, though.

Thank you, Lord, for sending this special gift to me. It was truly a pleasure to be so close to such a beautiful bird that you created.

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