Sunday Inspiration – Whistlers and Avian Friends

Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) ©WikiC

Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) ©WikiC

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5 KJV)

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3 KJV)

Mohoua is a small genus of three bird species endemic to New Zealand. Their taxonomic placement has presented problems: They have typically been placed in the Pachycephalidae family (whistlers), but in 2013 it was established that they are best placed in their own family, Mohouidae.

All three species display some degree of sexual dimorphism in terms of size, with the males being the larger of the two sexes. Mohoua are gregarious and usually forage in groups . They also forage in mixed species flocks at times, frequently forming the nucleus of such flocks. Social organization and behavior is well documented for all three Mohoua species; cooperative breeding has been observed in all three species and is common in the Whitehead and Yellowhead. The three species of this genus are the sole hosts for the Long-tailed Cuckoo which acts as a brood parasite upon them, pushing their eggs out of the nest and laying a single one of its own in their place so that they take no part in incubation of their eggs or in raising their young.

Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) Male by Ian

Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) Male by Ian

The three Sittellas are in the Neosittidae family. are small passerines which resemble nuthatches in appearance.[1] The wings are long and broad, and when spread have clearly fingered tips. The family has a generally weak flight, which may explain their inability to colonize suitable habitat on islands like Tasmania. The legs are short but they have long toes, but in spite of their lifestyle they show little adaptation towards climbing. They have short tails and are between 10–14 cm in length and 8–20 g in weight, with the black sittella tending to be slightly larger and heavier. The bill is dagger shaped in the case of the black sittella and slightly upturned in the varied sittella. The plumage of the black sittella is mostly black with a red face; that of the varied sittella is more complex, with the numerous subspecies having many variations on the theme. The calls of sittellas are generally simple and uncomplicated. The sittellas are social and generally restless birds of scrub, forests and woodlands. In Australia they generally avoid only the dense rainforest, whereas in New Guinea this is the only habitat they inhabit, avoiding only lowland forest.

Wattled Ploughbill (Eulacestoma nigropectus) ©Drawing WikiC

Wattled Ploughbill (Eulacestoma nigropectus) ©Drawing WikiC

The Wattled Ploughbill is a small, approximately 14 cm long, olive-brown songbird with a strong, thick, wedge-shaped black bill, used to plough into dead tree branches, bark and twigs in search for its insects diet. The sexes are different. The male has black underparts, black wings and a large circular pink wattle on the cheek. The female has olive-green plumage and pale olive below. Only the adult male has wattles.

The only member of the monotypic genus Eulacestoma and family Eulacestomidae, the wattled ploughbill is distributed and endemic to central mountain ranges of New Guinea. The diet consists mainly of insects.

Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) ©WikiC

Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) ©WikiC

Oreoicidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds, formerly placed in the Old World warbler “wastebin” family. It contains 3 species, all in different genera. Rufous-naped Whistler, Crested Pitohui and Crested Bellbird.

Australian Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) by Ian

Australian Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) by Ian

The Whistler family has 56 species. The family Pachycephalidae, collectively the whistlers, includes the whistlers, shrikethrushes, shriketits, pitohuis and crested bellbird, and is part of the ancient Australo-Papuan radiation of songbirds. Its members range from small to medium in size, and occupy most of Australasia. Australia and New Guinea are the centre of their diversity, and in the case of the whistlers, the South Pacific islands as far as Tonga and Samoa and parts of Asia as far as India. The exact delimitation of boundaries of the family are uncertain.

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For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:8-10 KJV)

Listen to Dr. Richard Gregory sing as you watch these five beautifully created families of birds:

“The Love of God” ~ Dr. Richard Gregory

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

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Gideon

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Atherton Scrubwren

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Atherton Scrubwren ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 05-18-15

I’ve just spent a few relaxing days camping with friends on the shores of Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns, so here is the eponymous Atherton Scrubwren a pair of which were foraging in the undergrowth on the edge of the rainforest behind the toilet block. You do of course take your camera with you everywhere, don’t you?
Lake Tinaroo by Ian

This is one of about a dozen bird species that are endemic to the Wet Tropics of Northeastern Queensland. Like several others, e.g. the Golden Bowerbird and the Mountain Thornbill, it is a bird of the highland rainforest, usually found about 600m/2000ft, occasionally down to 400m/1300ft. Lake Tinaroo is at an altitude of 670m/2200ft and be reached by the Gillies Highway from Gordonvale. This highway follows an extraordinary and interminably windy route up the escarpment from the coast, and is the only route on which I suffer from motion sickness even when I’m doing the driving. It is very scenic with spectacular views over the Goldsborough Valley, if you are feeling well enough to appreciate them.

Atherton Scrubwren (Sericornis keri) by Ian

The Atherton Scrubwren is probably the least distinctive of the Wet Tropics endemics, being small (13.5cm/5.3in long), brown and unobtrusive and very similar to the more widespread, slightly smaller Large-billed Scrubwren (third photo) found in rainforests along the east coast of Australia from Cooktown in NE Queensland almost to Melbourne. Their ranges overlap in the Wet Tropics below 750m/2500ft, the usual upper limit of the Large-billed, and the species differ in subtle differences in colour and facial pattern and foraging behaviour.

Atherton Scrubwren (Sericornis keri) by IanThe best field-marks are the difference in angle of the bill: straight in the Atherton (second photo) and bent slightly upwards in the Large-billed (third photo). The Atherton forages on or closes to the ground (the one in photos 1 and 2 was about 30cm/12in above the ground), while the Large-billed is arboreal and forages on the branches and in the foliage of trees. The Atherton has a buff eye-stripe which merges with the lower part of the face and throat, has dark flanks and under-tail coverts and a yellowish wash on the breast and underside. The Large-billed is supposed to have a beady eye, but that’s getting even more subtle.

Large-bill Scrubwren by IanDespite the similarities between these two species, genetic studies indicate that the Atherton Scrubwren is probably more closely related to the well-known – and easier to identify – White-browed Scrubwren which occurs in eastern, southern and western Australia and was also present near where we were camping.

Greetings
Ian

**************************************************
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Check the latest website updates:
http://www.birdway.com.au/#updates/


Lee’s Addition:

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Mat 13:31-32)

Ian has introduced us to some more of his Australian Scrubwrens, plus a tip to always carry your camera. They seem to be such tiny birds. Glad they posed for Ian at that beautiful lake.

Ian’s Whole Acanthizidae Family

Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers

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Alexander And The Fishing Contest

Brown Pelican and Laughing Gull by Dan MacDill Shore 2014

Brown Pelican and Laughing Gull by Dan MacDill Shore 2014

Alexander and the Fishing Contest ~ by Emma Foster

Once there was a pelican named Alexander who lived near the beach. Every day, he would go fishing and he would always bring his favorite fishing pole. One day, as he was flying to the shore, he landed on a huge rock and noticed a sign on the beach. Alexander read the sign. The sign said in big, red letters:

FISHING CONTEST TODAY,

FREE ADMISSION FOR ALL AGES.

FIRST PRIZE FOR THE BIGGEST FISH IS A NEW BOAT.

Alexander decided he would join the fishing contest to see if he could catch the biggest fish. All day he practiced his fishing Every now and then Alexander would catch a fish, but he knew there was a bigger fish somewhere in the water. At noon, it was time for the fishing contest to start and many people had entered. There were people sitting on the beach fishing as far as Alexander could see. A referee blew a whistle and the contest began. Eventually fish started biting and Alexander caught a few, but he knew there was a bigger fish somewhere in the ocean.

Pelican Reaching in water - Flickr Nagarajan Kanna

Pelican Reaching in water – Flickr Nagarajan Kanna

And then, something started tugging on Alexander’s line. He had to pull so hard Alexander almost fell off the rock he was fishing on. Eventually, Alexander had to dive down and scoop part of the fish up in his beak and pull the fish out of the water and drag it onto the shore. The referee blew his whistle again to signal that the contest was over. The judges came over to look at Alexander’s fish and immediately agreed that his fish was the winner. Alexander’s fish was almost twelve feet long! From then on, whenever Alexander went fishing, he brought his favorite fishing pole and his new boat The End


Lee’s Addition:

Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. (Joh 21:11)

Well our young writer, Emma, has really come up with a “fish story” this time. She has such a great creative mind and even though the story is a little far-fetched, I like it very much. I wonder if Peter’s net contained any fish as large as Alexander’s? Humm? *

Read more of Emma’s stories

Bird Tails

Wordless Birds

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Birds of the Bible – Not Seeing Or Hearing

While reading in Isaiah lately, I came across this verse:

“Seeing many things, but you do not observe; Opening the ears, but he does not hear.” (Isaiah 42:20 NKJV)

When Dan and I visit aviaries, we spend quite a bit of time in them. Yes, we are birdwatchers and do photography, but it still amazes me the ones who come in, look around as they walk through, and then leave. They may be in there five minutes. We are there for 30, 45, 60 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the aviary.

Me and my big mouth causes me to speak up and point out birds they just walked by and never saw. Most times it is appreciated, but there are times when the kids (especially) only want to see the “big” animals. Well, a 6 foot Sarus Crane is “big.”

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Also, some people don’t even hear the birds chirping and singing. Sometimes we all get so wrapped up in what we are thinking or doing, we forget to look, see, and hear what the Lord has created for us to enjoy. I am so glad for creationist scientist and organizations which study birds and animals. They see so many marvelous things in the way the Lord made the animals and birds, Even fish, other critters and especially the human body.

Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) by Nikhil Devasar

Pacific Golden Plover by Nikhil Devasar Flies to Hawaii from Alaska without the help of its parents.

Back to the verse, Isaiah 42:20. I like this from John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:

Isaiah 42:20
Seeing many things, but thou observest not,…. The Scribes and Pharisees, saw Christ in the flesh; they saw the miracles he did; they saw the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead raised; yet they did not give note to these things, and keep them in their minds, and regard them as clear proofs of his being the Messiah:

opening the ears, but he heareth not; they heard John Baptist preach, the forerunner of Christ, and the testimony he bore of him; they heard Christ himself and his apostles; they sometimes opened their ears, and seemed to listen and hear with attention, and wonder at what they heard; and some would own, that never man spake like Jesus; and yet understood not his speech, and hardened their hearts against him; they saw many things with their bodily eyes, but perceived them not with the eyes of their understandings; they heard with their ears, but understood not in their hearts; for their eyes were shut and their ears heavy, Isa_6:9.

May we, that know the Lord as our Savior, keep our eyes and ears open to God’s Word. May we see His creation and realize, what was spoken in Isaiah 46:9-10:

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10 KJV)

God created it all and He has prophesied things that would transpire, which many have already come true, like the prophesies of the Lord Jesus Christ coming and dying as our Savior. Plus many, many more fulfilled prophecies.

Are we seeing and hearing?

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Birds of the Bible

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Sarus Crane

Pacific Golden

Incredible Pacific Golden Plover

Gospel Message

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Sunday Inspiration – Cuckooshrikes

Black-faced Cuckooshrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)  by Ian

Black-faced Cuckooshrike (Coracina novaehollandiae) by Ian

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 NKJV)

The cuckooshrikes and allies in the Campephagidae family are small to medium-sized passerine bird species found in the subtropical and tropical Africa, Asia and Australasia. The roughly 92 species are found in eight (or nine) genera which comprise five distinct groups, the ‘true’ cuckooshrikes (Campephaga, Coracina, Lobotos, Pteropodocys and Campochaera) the trillers (Lalage), the minivets (Pericrocotus), the flycatcher-shrikes (Hemipus). The woodshrikes (Tephrodornis) were often considered to be in this family but are probably better placed in their own family, the Tephrodornithidae, along with the philentomas and the flycatcher-shrikes.

Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) ©WikiC

Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) ©WikiC

Overall the cuckooshrikes are medium to small arboreal birds, generally long and slender. The smallest species is the small minivet at 16 cm (6.3 in) and 6-12 grams (0.2-0.4 oz), while the largest is the south Melanesian cuckooshrike at 35 cm (14 in) and 180 grams (6 oz). They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although the minivets are brightly coloured in red, yellow and black, and the blue cuckooshrike of central Africa is all-over glossy blue. The four cuckooshrikes in the genus Campephaga exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males that have glossy black plumage and bright red or yellow wattles, the females having more subdued olive-green plumage. The genus Coracina is not monophyletic.

New Caledonian Cuckooshrike (Coracina analis) ©WikiC

New Caledonian Cuckooshrike (Coracina analis) ©WikiC

The majority of cuckooshrike are forest birds. Some species are restricted to primary forest, like the New Caledonian cuckooshrike, others are able to use more disturbed forest. Around eleven species use much more open habitat, one Australian species, the ground cuckooshrike being found in open plains and scrubland with few trees.

The ‘true’ cuckooshrikes are usually found singly, in pairs, and in small family groups, whereas the minivets, flycatcher-shrikes and wood-shrikes more frequently form small flocks. There is a considerable amount of variation within the family as a whole with regards to calls, some call very infrequently and some, principally the minivets, are extremely vocal.

(Info from Wikipedia with editing)

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For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20 KJV)

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. (John 10:25 NKJV)

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)

Listen to the Hyssongs as you watch the interesting Cuckooshrike family whom the Lord created:

“There’s Something About That Name” © The Hyssongs

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More Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

Cuckooshrike – Wikipedia

Cuckoo-shrike – IBC

Cuckooshrikes – Birds of the World

Falling Plates

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Birds at the Mississippi Welcome Center

Mississippi Welcome Ctr (2)

Birds at the Mississippi Welcome Center were a welcome sight. While on our most recent vacation, we saw these trees with birds carved on the end of each limb.

Welcome Center at Moss Point, Mississippi

Welcome Center at Moss Point, Mississippi

The center is at Moss Point, MS (the eastern center on I-10 headed west) and were carved by Martin Miller with a chain saw. Mr. Miller uses trees that were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

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Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mat 6:26)

Mr. Miller’s bird creations are copied from fantastic creations of their Creator.

Martin Miller

Heron Bird Carvings

Wordless Birds

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A Swallow and One Who Isn’t – Chapter 15

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) by Raymond Barlow

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) by Raymond Barlow

A Swallow and One Who Isn’t

The Tree Swallow and the Chimney Swift.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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CHAPTER 15. A Swallow and One Who Isn’t.

Johnny and Polly Chuck had made their home between the roots of an old apple-tree in the far corner of the Old Orchard. You know they have their bedroom way down in the ground, and it is reached by a long hall. They had dug their home between the roots of that old apple-tree because they had discovered that there was just room enough between those spreading roots for them to pass in and out, and there wasn’t room to dig the entrance any larger. So they felt quite safe from Reddy Fox; and Bowser the Hound, either of whom would have delighted to dig them out but for those roots.

Right in front of their doorway was a very nice doorstep of shining sand where Johnny Chuck delighted to sit when he had a full stomach and nothing else to do. Johnny’s nearest neighbors had made their home only about five feet above Johnny’s head when he sat up on his doorstep. They were Skimmer the Tree Swallow and his trim little wife, and the doorway of their home was a little round hole in the trunk of that apple-tree, a hole which had been cut some years before by one of the Woodpeckers.

Johnny and Skimmer were the best of friends. Johnny used to delight in watching Skimmer dart out from beneath the branches of the trees and wheel and turn and glide, now sometimes high in the blue, blue sky, and again just skimming the tops of the grass, on wings which seemed never to tire. But he liked still better the bits of gossip when Skimmer would sit in his doorway and chat about his neighbors of the Old Orchard and his adventures out in the Great World during his long journeys to and from the far-away South.

To Johnny Chuck’s way of thinking, there was no one quite so trim and neat appearing as Skimmer with his snowy white breast and blue-green back and wings. Two things Johnny always used to wonder at, Skimmer’s small bill and short legs. Finally he ventured to ask Skimmer about them.

“Gracious, Johnny!” exclaimed Skimmer. “I wouldn’t have a big bill for anything. I wouldn’t know what to do with it; it would be in the way. You see, I get nearly all my food in the air when I am flying, mosquitoes and flies and all sorts of small insects with wings. I don’t have to pick them off trees and bushes or from the ground and so I don’t need any more of a bill than I have. It’s the same way with my legs. Have you ever seen me walking on the ground?

Johnny thought a moment. “No,” said he, “now you speak of it, I never have.”

“And have you ever seen me hopping about in the branches of a tree?” persisted Skimmer.

Again Johnny Chuck admitted that he never had.

“The only use I have for feet,” continued Skimmer, “is for perching while I rest. I don’t need long legs for walking or hopping about, so Mother Nature has made my legs very short. You see I spend most of my time in the air.”

Skimmer The Tree Swallow and Forktail The Barn Swallow

“I suppose it’s the same with your cousin; Sooty the Chimney Swallow,” said Johnny.

“That shows just how much some people know!” twittered Skimmer indignantly. “The idea of calling Sooty a Swallow! The very idea! I’d leave you to know, Johnny Chuck, that Sooty isn’t even related to me. He’s a Swift, and not a Swallow.

“He looks like a Swallow,” protested Johnny Chuck.

“He doesn’t either. You just think he does because he happens to spend most of his time in the air the way we Swallows do,” sputtered Skimmer. “The Swallow family never would admit such a homely looking fellow as he is as a member.

“Tut, tut, tut, tut! I do believe Skimmer is jealous,” cried Jenny Wren, who had happened along just in time to hear Skimmer’s last remarks.

“Nothing of the sort,” declared Skimmer, growing still more indignant. “I’d like to know what there is about Sooty the Chimney Swift that could possibly make a Swallow jealous.”

Jenny Wren cocked her tail up in that saucy way of hers and winked at Johnny Chuck. “The way he can fly,” said she softly.

“The way he can fly!” sputtered Skimmer, “The way he can fly! Why, there never was a day in his life that he could fly like a Swallow. There isn’t any one more graceful on the wing than I am, if I do say so. And there isn’t any one more ungraceful than Sooty.”

Chimney Swift of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Chimney Swift of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Just then there was a shrill chatter overhead and all looked up to see Sooty the Chimney Swift racing through the sky as if having the very best time in the world. His wings would beat furiously and then he would glide very much as you or I would on skates. It was quite true that he wasn’t graceful. But he could twist and turn and cut up all sorts of antics, such as Skimmer never dreamed of doing.

“He can use first one wing and then the other, while you have to use both wings at once,” persisted Jenny Wren. “You couldn’t, to save your life, go straight down into a chimney, and you know it, Skimmer. He can do things with his wings which you can’t do, nor any other bird.”

“That may be true, but just the same I’m not the least teeny-weeny bit jealous of him,” said Skimmer, and darted away to get beyond the reach of Jenny’s sharp tongue.

“Is it really true that he and Sooty are not related?” asked Johnny Chuck, as they watched Skimmer cutting airy circles high up in the slay.

Jenny nodded. “It’s quite true, Johnny,” said site. “Sooty belongs to another family altogether. He’s a funny fellow. Did you ever in your life see such narrow wings? And his tail is hardly worth calling a tail.”

Johnny Chuck laughed. “Way up there in the air he looks almost alike at both ends,” said he. “Is he all black?”

“He isn’t black at all,” declared Jenny. “He is sooty-brown, rather grayish on the throat and breast. Speaking of that tail of his, the feathers end in little, sharp, stiff points. He uses them in the same way that Downy the Woodpecker uses his tail feathers when he braces himself with them on the trunk of a tree.”

“But I’ve never seen Sooty on the trunk of a tree,” protested Johnny Chuck. “In fact, I’ve never seen him anywhere but in the air.”

“And you never will,” snapped Jenny. “The only place he ever alights is inside a chimney or inside a hollow tree. There he clings to the side just as Downy the Woodpecker clings to the trunk of a tree.”

Johnny looked as if he didn’t quite believe this. “If that’s the case where does he nest?” he demanded. “And where does he sleep?”

In a chimney, stupid. In a chimney, of course,” retorted Jenny Wren. “He fastens his nest right to the inside of a chimney. He makes a regular little basket of twigs and fastens it to the side of the chimney.”

“Are you trying to stuff me with nonsense?” asked Johnny Chuck indignantly. “How can he fasten his nest to the side of a chimney unless there’s a little shelf to put it on? And if he never alights, how does he get the little sticks to make a nest of? I’d just like to know how you expect me to believe any such story as that.”

Tree Swallows Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge by jeremyjonkman on Flickr From Pinterest

Jenny Wren’s sharp little eyes snapped. “If you half used your eyes you wouldn’t have to ask me how he gets those little sticks,” she sputtered. “If you had watched him when he was flying close to the tree tops you would have seen him clutch little dead twigs in his claws and snap them off without stopping. That’s the way he gets his little sticks, Mr. Smarty, He fastens them together with a sticky substance he has in his mouth, and he fastens the nest to the side of the chimney in the same way. You can believe it or not, but it’s so.”

“I believe it, Jenny, I believe it,” replied Johnny Chuck very humbly. “If you please, Jenny, does Sooty get all his food in the air too?”

“Of course,” replied Jenny tartly. “He eats nothing but insects, and he catches them flying. Now I must get back to my duties at home.”

“Just tell me one more thing,” cried Johnny Chuck hastily. “Hasn’t Sooty any near relatives as most birds have?”

“He hasn’t any one nearer than some sort of second cousins, Boomer the Nighthawk, Whippoorwill, and Hummer the Hummingbird.”

“What?” cried Johnny Chuck, quite as if he couldn’t believe he had heard aright. “Did you say Hummer the Hummingbird?” But he got no reply, for Jenny Wren was already beyond hearing.

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Listen to the story read.

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Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)

Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight. (Proverbs 26:2 ESV)

A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor. (Proverbs 29:23 NKJV)

Both of these birds belong to avian families that are mentioned in the Bible

Questions to think about:

  1. Can you describe Skimmer the Swift?
  2. What color is his breast, back and wings?
  3. What is common about the legs of both Skimmer and Sooty?
  4. How do both these birds catch their food?
  5. Why was Skimmer showing a little pride?
  6. Should we be prideful?
  7. Can you describe Sooty the Swallow?
  8. Where and how do Chimney Swallows they make their nest?
  9. Are Skimmer and Sooty in the same bird family?
  10. Who is Sooty second cousins with?
  11. Are both of these birds mentioned in the Bible?

Links:

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Links:

  Next Chapter (A Robber in the Old Orchard. Coming Soon)

 

 

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

  Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

 

Savannah Sparrow by Ray Barlow

  

  Wordless Birds

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The Purple Thief – (Re-post)

THE PURPLE THIEF

Creation Moments

  “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.” (Psalm 111:4)

Birds and insects that take nectar from a flower without picking up any pollen are known as nectar robbers. Now, you’d probably think that nectar robbers would be harmful to plants and trees, but the desert teak tree couldn’t survive without a nectar robber – the purple sunbird.

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) ©J M Garg

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) ©J M Garg

In order to reproduce, this tree needs birds to pollinate its flowers. But since a tree cannot reproduce with its own pollen, it needs birds to fly from flower to flower and from one tree to another. Anything that encourages the pollinating birds to fly farther away helps out the teak trees.

That’s where the purple thief comes in. Researchers at the University of Delhi discovered that the sunbird visits the flowers one hour before the pollinating birds arrive. The purple sunbird has a long, sharp beak that pierces the base of the flower to feed, so it doesn’t pick up any pollen. It does, however, empty the flower of about 60 percent of its nectar, leaving relatively little for the pollinators. This means that the pollinators will have to travel to more flowers and trees to get enough food, spreading pollen wherever they stop for a meal.

The researchers noted that “the robber plays a constructive and crucial role in the reproductive performance of [a] threatened tree species.” How right they are. And this unusual but crucial dining arrangement shows once again what an ingenious God we serve!

Prayer:

Lord, only You could come up with such an ingenious way to help the desert teak tree to reproduce! Surely such an arrangement could not have come about through blind chance! Amen.

Notes:

“These trees don’t mind getting robbed”, Science News, 7­-25­-14. Photo: Purple sunbird. Courtesy of J.M.Garg. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution­Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


Lee’s Addition:

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) by TAJA

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) by TAJA

Sunbirds belong to the Nectariniidae – Sunbirds Family which currently has 143 species. They are amazing colored by their Creator and well designed for the plants they pull the nectar from.

From Sunday Inspiration – Sunbirds, “These are very small passerine birds. Most sunbirds feed largely on nectar, but also take insects and spiders, especially when feeding young. Flower tubes that bar access to nectar because of their shape, are simply punctured at the base near the nectaries. Fruit is also part of the diet of some species. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings.

The family is distributed throughout Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and just reaches northern Australia.

See:

Nectariniidae – Sunbirds Family

Sunday Inspiration – Sunbirds

Sunbird – Wikipedia

Who Paints the Leaves

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Sunday Inspiration – Vangas and Friends

White-headed Vanga (Artamella viridis) ©WikiC

White-headed Vanga (Artamella viridis) ©WikiC

For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. (Psalms 50:10-11 ESV)

The Vangas (from vanga, Malagasy for the hook-billed vanga, Vanga curvirostris) are a group of little-known small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to Madagascar and the Comoros. They are usually classified as the family Vangidae. There are about 21 or 22 species, depending on taxonomy. Most species are shrike-like, arboreal forest birds, feeding on reptiles, frogs and insects. Several other Madagascan birds more similar to Old World warblers, Old World babblers or Old World flycatchers are now often placed in this family. Vangas differ greatly in bill shape and have a variety of foraging methods. Their stick nests are built in trees. They do not migrate.

Mounted Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala), at the Muséum d'Histoire naturelle de Genève. ©WikiC

Mounted Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala), at the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Genève. ©WikiC

The Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala), also variously known as the bristled shrike, bald-headed crow or the bald-headed wood-shrike, is the only member of the passerine family Pityriaseidae and genus Pityriasis. It is an enigmatic and uncommon species of the rainforest canopy of the island of Borneo, to which it is endemic.

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus amydrus) by Lee Zoo Miami

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus amydrus) by Lee ZM

Woodswallows are soft-plumaged, somber-coloured passerine birds. There are 24 a single genus, Artamus, The woodswallows are either treated as a subfamily, Artaminae in an expanded family Artamidae, which includes the butcherbirds and Australian Magpie, or as the only genus in that family. The generic name, which in turn gives rise to the family name, is derived from the Ancient Greek artamos, meaning butcher or murder. The name was given due to their perceived similarity to shrikes, indeed a former common name for the group was “swallow-starlings”

Woodswallows are smooth, agile flyers with moderately large, semi-triangular wings. They are among the very few passerines birds that soar, and can often be seen feeding just above the treetops. One sedentary species aside, they are nomads, following the best conditions for flying insects, and often roosting in large flocks.
Although woodswallows have a brush-tipped tongue they seldom use it for gathering nectar.

Mottled Whistler (Rhagologus leucostigma) ©©Katerina Tvardikova

Mottled Whistler (Rhagologus leucostigma) ©©Katerina Tvardikova

The Mottled Whistler (Rhagologus leucostigma) is a species of bird whose relationships are unclear but most likely related to the woodswallows, boatbills and butcherbirds. It is monotypic within the genus Rhagologus and family Rhagologidae. It is found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, where its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

The Ioras (Aegithinidae) are a small family of four passerine bird species found in India and southeast Asia. The Ioras are small to medium small sized passerines, ranging from 11.5 to 15.5 cm (4.5–6.1 in) in length. Overall the males are larger than the females. These are reminiscent of the bulbuls, but whereas that group tends to be drab in colouration, the ioras are more brightly colored. The group exhibits sexual dimorphism in its plumage, with the males being brightly plumaged in yellows and greens. Unlike the leafbirds, ioras have thin legs, and their bills are proportionately longer. Calls are strident whistles; songs are musical to human ears.

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Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23 KJV)

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:67-69 KJV)

Listen to the Hyssongs as you watch these five different families the Lord has created for us to enjoy.

“I Still Believe” – ©The Hyssongs

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

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Gospel Presentation

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Bob White and Carol the Meadow Lark – Chapter 14

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) by Bob-Nan

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) by Bob-Nan

Bob White and Carol the Meadow Lark

The So-called Quail and the Meadow Lark.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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CHAPTER 14. Bob White and Carol the Meadow Lark.

“Bob—Bob White! Bob—Bob White! Bob—Bob White!” clear and sweet, that call floated over to the dear Old Briar-patch until Peter could stand it no longer. He felt that he just had to go over and pay an early morning call on one of his very best friends, who at this season of the year delights in whistling his own name—Bob White.

“I suppose,” muttered Peter, “that Bob White has got a nest. I wish he would show it to me. He’s terribly secretive about it. Last year I hunted for his nest until my feet were sore, but it wasn’t the least bit of use. Then one morning I met Mrs. Bob White with fifteen babies out for a walk. How she could hide a nest with fifteen eggs in it is more than I can understand.”

Bob White - Burgess Bird Book ©©

Bob White – Burgess Bird Book ©©

Peter left the Old Briar-patch and started off over the Green Meadows towards the Old Pasture. As he drew near the fence between the Green Meadows and the Old Pasture he saw Bob White sitting on one of the posts, whistling with all his might. On another post near him sat another bird very near the size of Welcome Robin. He also was telling all the world of his happiness. It was Carol the Meadow Lark.

Peter was so intent watching these two friends of his that he took no heed to his footsteps. Suddenly there was a whirr from almost under his very nose and he stopped short, so startled that he almost squealed right out. In a second he recognized Mrs. Meadow Lark. He watched her fly over to where Carol was singing. Her stout little wings moved swiftly for a moment or two, then she sailed on without moving them at all. Then they fluttered rapidly again until she was flying fast enough to once more sail on them outstretched. The white outer feathers of her tail showed clearly and reminded Peter of the tail of Sweetvoice the Vesper Sparrow, only of course it was ever so much bigger.

Peter sat still until Mrs. Meadow Lark had alighted on the fence near Carol. Then he prepared to hurry on, for he was anxious for a bit of gossip with these good friends of his. But just before he did this he just happened to glance down and there, almost at his very feet, he caught sight of something that made him squeal right out. It was a nest with four of the prettiest eggs Peter ever had seen. They were white with brown spots all over them. Had it not been for the eggs he never would have seen that nest, never in the world. It was made of dry, brown grass and was cunningly hidden is a little clump of dead grass which fell over it so as to almost completely hide it. But the thing that surprised Peter most was the clever way in which the approach to it was hidden. It was by means of a regular little tunnel of grass.

“Oh!” cried Peter, and his eyes sparkled with pleasure. “This must be the nest of Mrs. Meadow Lark. No wonder I have never been able to find it, when I have looked for it. It is just luck and nothing else that I have found it this time. I think it is perfectly wonderful that Mrs. Meadow Lark can hide her home in such a way. I do hope Jimmy Skunk isn’t anywhere around.”

Peter sat up straight and anxiously looked this way and that way. Jimmy Skunk was nowhere to be seen and Peter gave a little sigh of relief. Very carefully he walked around that nest and its little tunnel, then hurried over toward the fence as fast as he could go.

“It’s perfectly beautiful, Carol!” he cried, just as soon as he was near enough. “And I won’t tell a single soul!”

“I hope not. I certainly hope not,” cried Mrs. Meadow Lark in an anxious tone. “I never would have another single easy minute if I thought you would tell a living soul about my nest. Promise that you won’t, Peter. Cross your heart and promise that you won’t.”

Peter promptly crossed his heart and promised that he wouldn’t tell a single soul. Mrs. Meadow Lark seemed to feel better. Right away she flew back and Peter turned to watch her. He saw her disappear in the grass, but it wasn’t where he had found the nest. Peter waited a few minutes, thinking that he would see her rise into the air again and fly over to the nest. But he waited in vain. Then with a puzzled look on his face, he turned to look up at Carol.

Carol’s eyes twinkled. “I know what you’re thinking, Peter,” he chuckled. “You are thinking that it is funny Mrs. Meadow Lark didn’t go straight hack to our nest when she seemed so anxious about it. I would have you to know that she is too clever to do anything so foolish as that. She knows well enough that somebody might see her and so find our secret. She has walked there from the place where you saw her disappear in the grass. That is the way we always do when we go to our nest. One never can be too careful these days.”

Then Carol began to pour out his happiness once more, quite as if nothing had interrupted his song.

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)©USFWS

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)©USFWS

Somehow Peter never before had realized how handsome Carol the Meadow Lark was. As he faced Peter, the latter saw a beautiful yellow throat and waistcoat, with a broad black crescent on his breast. There was a yellow line above each eye. His back was of brown with black markings. His sides were whitish, with spats and streaks of black. The outer edges of his tail were white. Altogether he was really handsome, far handsomer than one would suspect, seeing him at a distance.

Having found out Carol’s secret, Peter was doubly anxious to find Bob White’s home, so he hurried over to the post where Bob was whistling with all his might. “Bob!” cried Peter. “I’ve just found Carol’s nest and I’ve promised to keep it a secret. Won’t you show me your nest, too, if I’ll promise to keep THAT a secret?”

Rob threw back his head and laughed joyously. “You ought to know, Peter, by this time,” said he, “that there are secrets never to be told to anybody. My nest is one of these. If you find it, all right; but I wouldn’t show it to my very best friend, and I guess I haven’t any better friend than you, Peter.” Then from sheer happiness he whistled, “—Bob White! Bob—Bob White!” with all his might.

Peter was disappointed and a little put out. “I guess,” said he, “I could find it if I wanted to. I guess it isn’t any better hidden than Mrs. Meadow Lark’s, and I found that. Some folks aren’t as smart as they think they are.”

Bob White, who is sometimes called Quail and sometimes called Partridge, and who is neither, chuckled heartily. “Go ahead, old Mr. Curiosity, go ahead and hunt all you please,” said he. “It’s funny to me how some folks think themselves smart when the truth is they simply have been lucky. You know well enough that you just happened to find Carol’s nest. If you happen to find mine, I won’t have a word to say.”

Bob White took a long breath, tipped his head back until his bill was pointing right up in the blue, blue sky, and with all his might whistled his name, “Bob—Bob White! Bob—Bob White!”

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

As Peter looked at him it came over him that Bob White was the plumpest bird of his acquaintance. He was so plump that his body seemed almost round. The shortness of his tail added to this effect, for Bob has a very short tail. The upper part of his coat was a handsome reddish-brown with dark streaks and light edgings. His sides and the upper part of his breast were of the same handsome reddish-brown, while underneath he was whitish with little bars of black. His throat was white, and above each eye was a broad white stripe. His white throat was bordered with black, and a band of black divided the throat from the white line above each eye. The top of his head was mixed black and brown. Altogether he was a handsome little fellow in a modest way.

Suddenly Bob White stopped whistling and looked down at Peter with a twinkle in his eye. “Why don’t you go hunt for that nest, Peter?” said he.

“I’m going,” replied Peter rather shortly, for he knew that Bob knew that he hadn’t the least idea where to look. It might be somewhere on the Green Meadows or it might be in the Old Pasture; Bob hadn’t given the least hint. Peter had a feeling that the nest wasn’t far away and that it was on the Green Meadows, so he began to hunt, running aimlessly this way and that way, all the time feeling very foolish, for of course he knew that Bob White was watching him and chuckling down inside.

It was very warm down there on the Green Meadows, and Peter grew hot and tired. He decided to run up in the Old Pasture in the shade of an old bramble-tangle there. Just the other side of the fence was a path made by the cows and often used by Farmer Brown’s boy and Reddy Fox and others who visited the Old Pasture. Along this Peter scampered, lipperty-lipperty-lip, on his way to the bramble-tangle. He didn’t look either to right or left. It didn’t occur to him that there would be any use at all, for of course no one would build a nest near a path where people passed to and fro every day.

And so it was that in his happy-go-lucky way Peter scampered right past a clump of tall weeds close beside the path without the least suspicion that cleverly hidden in it was the very thing he was looking for. With laughter in her eyes, shrewd little Mrs. Bob White, with sixteen white eggs under her, watched him pass. She had chosen that very place for her nest because she knew that it was the last place anyone would expect to find it. The very fact that it seemed the most dangerous place she could have chosen made it the safest.

Listen to the story read.

… and do not reveal another’s secret, (Proverbs 25:9b ESV)

Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:24 NKJV)

Questions:

  • Which bird whistles his own name?
  • How many little ones did they have?
  • Did Peter ever find their nest?
  • Who’s nest did Peter find?
  • What did he promise not to tell?
  • Can you describe the Meadow Lark?
  • What does the Bob White look like?
  • How does the Meadow Lark fly?
  • How do the birds keep people and animals from finding their nest?
  • Do you keep others secret, or do you tell them?
  • Who knows all secrets?

Links:

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Links:

 

  Next Chapter (A Swallow and One Who Isn’t. Coming Soon)

 

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

  Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

Savannah Sparrow by Ray Barlow

  

 

  Wordless Birds

 

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FEATHERED DINOSAURS from Creation Moments

Changyuraptor yangi (aka feathered dinosaur)©WikiC

Changyuraptor yangi (aka feathered dinosaur)©WikiC

FEATHERED DINOSAURS

“As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.” Isaiah 31:5

A new species of dinosaur has been found. Scientists are calling Changyuraptor yangi the biggest feathered dinosaur ever discovered. Here at Creation Moments, however, we’re calling it a feathered bird. Dinosaur-to-bird evolution is nothing more than a flight of fancy.

Changyuraptor yangi (aka feathered dinosaur) ©Stephanie Abramowicz

Changyuraptor yangi (aka feathered dinosaur) ©Stephanie Abramowicz

Naturally, USA Today, BBC News and many other news outlets are calling it a four-winged dinosaur. Changyuraptor yangi, they say, is a new species of dinosaur that offers “clues to the origin of flight – and the transition from feathered dinosaurs to birds.” Research scientists also say that “the new fossil possesses the longest known feathers for any non-avian dinosaur.”

Non-avian? No, we’re still calling them birds, and here’s why. For one thing, dinosaurs and other reptiles have scales, which are folds in their skin. Birds, on the other hand, have feathers which grow out of follicles. Scales and feathers are completely different. No known fossils, in fact, provide evidence of a transition from scales to feathers.

Furthermore, for a dinosaur to evolve into a bird, it would need to develop hollow bones, and it would need to gain powerful flight muscles and develop a new heart with four chambers rather than three.

So, too, do we need a new heart to understand the things of God. We don’t evolve our old heart into a new one. Our new heart comes to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:
Thank You, Father, for sending the Holy Spirit so we can have a close and enduring relationship with You! Amen.

Notes:
Scientists discover largest four-winged dinosaur to date“, USA Today, 7/15/14. “Four-winged dinosaur is ‘biggest ever‘”, BBC News Science & Environment, 7/16/14. “A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance,” Nature Communications, 7/15/14. Illustration: Changyuraptor yangi. Courtesy of Stephanie Abramowicz, Dinosaur Institute, NHM. Used for educational purposes under U.S. fair use doctrine.

Used with permission from Creation Moments©2015


Lee’s Addition:

Actually, there are several verses in Scripture that mention a creature with four wings. Ezekiel 1:6&8: 10:21 and this verse in Daniel 7:6 says:

“After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. (Daniel 7:6 NKJV)

Flying with four wings seems to be possible.

Now for some other rebuttal  articles from Christian Creation sources:

Plus

Falling Plates

Latest Visitors to Yard

A few days ago while I was filling up my feeders, I looked up and here came Mom and Pop Sandhill Crane with their two latest youngsters. (The 2015 family) Needless to say I stopped and watched them for a while and then remembered to go get my camera. Here are some of those images. I shared a little seed with them. Not suppose to feed cranes, but even if I put seed in that hanging tray for the other birds, they have been known to eat from it. ( I felt sorry for the little ones. :) )

It looks like the little Sandhills need to grow into their knees.

Leaving

Leaving

I always enjoy when the Sandhill Crane parents bring their little ones by to check them out. When you get to watch the Lord’s created critters up close and see how really look and act is enjoyable. The Cranes are mentioned in Scripture and so they are some of our Birds of the Bible.

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)

The parents made some chatter when I got too close to the little ones, but didn’t get it on video. Here is video of them in the yard (The noise is Dan edging the driveway):

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You can tell by how many articles that I’ve written about that the cranes, that I like them and they visit often:

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