Ian’s Bird of the Week – Budgerigar

PSI-Psit Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) by Ian
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Budgerigar ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 3/3/15

Judging by the number of emails that I received about Pied Butcherbirds, iconic species are popular and there were many interesting stories about experiences with them. So here is another, perhaps globally the most familiar Australian bird. Although it’s quite common and sometimes very abundant after good rains in the drier parts of Australia, you have to go out of your way to find it. So it it’s much less well-known as a wild bird than say other iconic species like Australian Magpie and Laughing Kookaburras that turn up in backyards.

It wasn’t until after I moved to North Queensland in 2002 that I first saw them in the wild, and that was on a trip to Moorrinya National Park between Torrens Creek and Aramac, 370km southwest of Townsville. In places like that you usually see them in small flocks of maybe 10-20 in rapid undulating flight. These make sudden turns in the sunlight showing alternately green and yellow in a characteristic and delightful display of vivid, fluorescent colour.

PSI-Psit Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) by Ian

The sexes can be distinguished either by differences in behaviour, sometimes subtle as in the first photo with an attentive male and a bored or playing hard to get female, or less subtly as in the second photo. Her the male is concentrating seriously, and the female is rather inscrutably either in a state of bliss or thinking of the motherland. An easier way though is by the colour of the cere – the tissue surrounding the nostrils – blue in adult males, and brown in females. Juveniles have duller plumages, barred foreheads and lack the black spots on the neck.

PSI-Psit Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) by IanAfter good inland rains, the population can explode and Budgerigars may be seen in flocks of thousands. When dry conditions return and seeds become scare, flocks wander far and wide in search of food. They move into areas beyond their normal range and can turn up in coastal areas such as near Townsville. The birds in the third photo were near Woodstock just south of Townsville on the way to Charters Towers and I have seen them near Bluewater.

Sometimes escaped cage birds turn up in odd places in strange colours, such as this almost completely white one near the Strand in Townsville. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the natural colours. I was in Ireland once for a family funeral in February and was birding on Dun Laoghaire pier in Dublin Bay on a very cold, dull winter’s day, when I spotted a bright yellow budgie looking very out-of-place among some roosting waders. It was a moment of great empathy and I thought ‘you and I should be back in sunny Australia’.

PSI-Psit Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) by IanI’m in Melbourne at the moment to visit East Gippsland next weekend with my Victorian birding pals who know of a good site for both Greater Sooty Owls and Masked Owls (both cousins of Barn Owls) near Orbost. I haven’t seen or photographed either of these, so may I request your customary friendly support and spiritual goodwill to help us find them? It would be lovely to be able to bring at least one of them to you as the next bird of the week.

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:

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. (Psalms 96:3 NKJV)

Ian is correct, at least for me. The Budgerigar or “Budgie” as I was taught, was one of the first bird names I ever knew. Almost everyone I have ever seen was in a cage or aviary. Few have been pets and one was sitting on someone glasses look down into their lens. But, to see them in the wild where they live would be a great experience.

Thanks, Ian, for again sharing your adventures with us. The most I have ever seen at one time has been at Lowry Park Zoo. I’ll also be praying that Ian finds those Greater Sooty Owls and Masked Owls so that he will share them with us on another Bird of the Week.

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) by Lee LPZ

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) by Lee LPZ

Ian’s Birds of the Week

Ian’s Budgerigar Photos

Ian’s Psittacidae Family

Psittacidae – Parrots Family

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Sunday Inspiration – Give Thanks

Spangled Cotinga (Cotinga cayana) ©WikiC CinZoo Photo by Greg Hume

Spangled Cotinga (Cotinga cayana) ©WikiC CinZoo Photo by Greg Hume

To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. (Psalms 30:12 KJV)

As we continue through the Passerine Families, today we arrive at Cotingidae – Cotingas Family which has 66 members and the Pipridae – Manakins Family has 52 species.

As you watch the birds you can listen to Mark Quijano sing “Give Thanks.” Mark is a newer follower of this blog and I am following his, now that we have been made aware of the each other’s blog. Our mutual draw is Our Lord Jesus Christ. I find the Lord’s Family enjoyable, wherever they may be. Mark lives in Saga City, Japan. Please check out his site “Travel Diary.”

If you have a large screen, you can do both at the same time, else, watch the birds as you listen to Mark. Or you can watch Mark sing and then start it again and listen as you watch the birds. Oh, the options I have given you today to enjoy Our Lord’s Creation and “Give Thanks” through music and birds.

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“Give Thanks” ~ sung by Mark Quijano, his YouTube Channel

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Sunday Inspirations

Cotingidae – Cotingas Family

Pipridae – Manakins Family

Travel Diary

Good News

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Birds of the Bible – Gifts From Birds

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan'sPix

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan’sPix

Birds of the Bible articles have been written about Raven’s before. James J S Johnson sent a link to a news story in the BBC News Magazine about Crows that is similar to the Ravens in the Bible.

First the story. A young girl, Gabi Mann, feeds Crows and they bring her “gifts.” (nutshell version). See The girl who gets gifts from birds.

It started when she got out of the car and dropped food from her lap. The Crows grabbed it and each time she came home, they watched for her. It went from that to Gabi and her mother feeding them on a regular basis. Then, the crows started leaving various items, that could fit in their mouths, as “gifts.” Here are some of those items.

Things brought by the crows

Things brought by the crows

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Things brought by the crows

Things brought by the crows

Does the story bring to mind a similar situation, but with Ravens bringing something to someone?

In I Kings 17, we read about the prophet Elijah who was told by the LORD to get away and hide by the Brook Cherith.

And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. (1 Kings 17:4-6 NKJV)

Ravens and Crows are both in the same family, Corvidae – Crows, Jays, Ravens, which has 130 species presently. “They are considered the most intelligent of the birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals” (Corvidae-Wikipedia).

In the Bible, our passage in I Kings says that the ravens brought him food. Checking the different translations, all the translations, except two, call them Ravens. Those two call them Crows. The ABP+ uses G2876, which Strong says:

G2876

κόραξ
korax
kor’-ax
Perhaps from G2880; a crow (from its voracity): – raven.
Total KJV occurrences: 1

The other, ISV, says, “Crows would bring him bread and meat both in the morning and in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.”

Either way, the point is, the LORD used birds from a very intelligent avian family, that He Created, to feed his prophet. Critics like to find everything they can to disprove the Bible. Yet, the Lord gives us all kinds of reasons to believe his Word, if we just open our eyes.

Those birds could have brought bits of food as well as “trinkets.”

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 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 1:19-20 KJV)

Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus) ©WikiC

Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus) ©WikiC

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The girl who gets gifts from birds.

Corvidae – Crows, Jays, Ravens

Birds of the Bible – Ravens

Raven – Wikipedia

Corvidae – Wikipedia

Wordless Birds

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European Dipper, Norway’s National Bird

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian

European Dipper, Norway’s National Bird

by Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

EUROPEAN DIPPER

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

The official bird of Norway is the White-throated Dipper (a/k/a European Dipper: Cinclus cinclus). Unlike the American Dipper (which is dark-black all over), it has a mix of colors: brown head, white throat/bib, chestnut belly, and blackish back and tail.

As the range map shows, this little bird is known to range over all of Norway, as a year-round resident. This bird needs running freshwater, because that is where its primary source of food resides. And Norway has lots of fast-running freshwater, especially as mountain snow melts and flows downhill, in crevices, waterfalls, streams, and other drainage pathways that lead westward to the sea.

White-throated Dipper aka European Dipper

White-throated Dipper aka European Dipper

This passerine (i.e., perching songbird) bird is thus deemed an “aquatic” bird, due to its familiar habit of dipping into freshwater for food – and “walking” across the streambed as it fishes (underwater) for insect larvae and other edible morsels found in streambeds.

Specifically, this dipper has too behavioral movements that fit its name: (1) as it perches near quick-flowing stream-waters, it often (and suddenly – some say “spasmodically”) bobs, with its tail propped up (somewhat like a wren), near the splashing water; and (2) it dives into such lotic waters, sometimes after wading into the water’s edge: then submerges itself by quickly plunging in (or diving in), with a small splash. While underwater it seems to swim, though its wings actually “fly” underwater.

Dipper under water by Getty Images

Dipper under water by Getty Images

The Dipper can also use its strong prehensile toes (i.e., it can grip with its feet, almost like a human hand) to grab onto projecting substrates on the bottom of a stream, while simultaneously straining its muscles (and keeping its head bent down so that it can see what is on the streambed) to prevent it from rising to the water’s surface – thus giving the appearance that it is “walking on the bottom” of the stream!

While underwater the dipper collects its food (which is often “epibenthic”, i.e., located on top of the stream-bottom sediments), such as caddisfly larvae (and other insect larvae), as well as small freshwater mollusks, fish, and amphibians – and a favorite freshwater crustacean, the thin amphipod shrimp (of the genus Gammarus, a genus containing marine “scud”, estuarial, and freshwater shrimps known for their detritivorous / scavenging habits).

What a strange bird! Yet it is determined to use its anatomy and strength to get food for the day, even appearing to defy gravity while it does. It may not be a huge buffet banquet table, by our standards, but it is enough – so the bird eats what it needs, one day at a time.

Just face one day of challenges at a time – what a concept!

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

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Orni-theology

James J S Johnson

Dippers – Cinclidae

Good News

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Tickle Me Tuesday – For the Birds

Blue-billed Black Tyrant (Knipolegus cyanirostris) by Dario Sanches

Blue-billed Black Tyrant (Knipolegus cyanirostris) by Dario Sanches

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)

I cannot help but post this video. Made aware of it several years ago. The “music was made for a school project. A Pixar video with audio created by David Redinha”

The verses that come to my mind have to do with being kind and not making fun of someone. This video of shows what might happen when both not being kind and making fun of someone appear at the same time. Enjoy!

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV)

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Tickle Me Tuesday – Bird of Paradise

Tickle Me Tuesday – Top Funny Bird Video

Tickle Me Tuesday,” Challenge by Sandra Connor

Wordless Birds

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Pied Butcherbird

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Pied Butcherbird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 2/22/14

Birds of the week are usually chosen on the basis of appearance, photo quality or species interest, but here for a change is one whose real claim to fame is auditory. Not that Pied Butcherbirds don’t look quite dapper, even if the hooked bill suggests a predatory existence and the black hood has the connotation of the executioner, at least for the Spanish : Verdugo Gorjinegro, where verdugo means executioner or hangman, and gorjinegro you can guess. However, their real claim to fame is their beautiful singing which has a clarity and sense of purpose that I think is unequalled. When I first heard a Pied Butcherbird singing in Australia in western New South Wales in 1971, I was fascinated. To me it seemed like it was practising the theme from an oboe concerto, as it would keep carefully repeating the phrases, each time slightly differently.

The first edition of Graham Pizzey’s Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (1980-2000) has wonderful descriptions – I bought it after reading his description of Musk Duck, which starts “A decidedly strange duck.” – so I’ll quote him on the Pied Butcherbird: “Superb: slow flute-like piping, of clear high-pitched and low mellow notes, throughout day and moonlit nights, best in early morning; often given by two or more birds alternatively, higher-pitched notes of one contrasting with more mellow notes of others. … Also accomplished mimicry, as part of quieter sub-song.”

I can’t just leave you hanging after a description like that. Here is a YouTube link to a lovely video of a duet

and here is another to a Pied Butcherbird mimicking a variety of species

Listen to these and I’m sure you’ll agree that this is one of the most beautiful song birds in the world.

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian

On the subject of mimicry, I had an email from Rose Bay in Sydney recounting a conversation that took place between a Grey Butcherbird and the correspondent, thank you Jeremy, who whistled in response, over several months. The bird remained hidden and unidentified in foliage until a couple of weeks ago when, during such a talk, he spotted the bird and the mystery was solved. I’ve accompanied a Pied Butcherbird here in Bluewater on the treble recorder. I checked their vocal range using a pitch analyser on sound recordings and found that the mellow notes were close to middle C (C4), while the top notes were around D6, two octaves above middle C; an impressive range.

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian

And, yes, they do prey on small birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates and will even hunt in unison with Australian Hobbies. They get their name from their habit of wedging larger prey items in a fork in a tree (or clothes line) so that they can dismember it. If you think that sounds macabre, go and listen to Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique again, imagining the idée fixé played by a Pied Butcherbird, particular the rendering of it in the third movement on the oboe and by the clarinet in the fourth Marche au supplice. The latter appears briefly before the fall of the guillotine. I tried playing the first of the YouTube videos simulaneously with the third movement a short while ago and the result is, well, fantastic.

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian

Anyway, back to family matters. Pied Butcherbirds have group territories similar to those of their cousins the Australian Magpies with usually one breeding pair. The female does all the hard work of building the nest and incubating the eggs while, the male, presumably, sings. The other members of the group, usually offspring from earlier broods, do help to feed the young.

I should, I suppose, mention the photos. The first three are of adult birds, the last two of brownish immature birds. At 32-36cm/12.5-14in in length the Pied Butcherbird is intermediate between the smaller Grey and Black-backed Butcherbirds and the larger Black Butcherbird. The Pied Butcherbird occurs through most of mainland Australia, but is absent from very arid regions, most of South Australia and Victoria, and southeastern New South Wales. Here in the northeast Queensland, they show a preference for watercourses.

PAS-Arta Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian 5

The bird of the week has been going out regularly, if not weekly, since late 2002. I have copies of almost all of them and I’ve decided to publish them as an electronic book under the umbrella “A Bird Photographer’s Diary”. At the moment, I’m progressing steadily through the second quarter of 2006, and I’m having great fun reliving all the experiences and places involved. The intention is to add photos of the various locations and habitats. I’ll keep you posted.

Greetings and sweet sounds,
Ian

**************************************************
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing [of birds] has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. (Song of Solomon 2:12 AMP)

Wow! What an amazing article about these birds and the videos only enhance it more. I especially like the them singing duet. Ian finds us the most interesting birds to see and hear. Thanks, Ian.

Check out Ian’s Butcherbirds in his Artamidae Family

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Artamidae – Woodswallows, butcherbirds and allies Family

Wordless Birds

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Sunday Inspiration – Flycatchers

White-headed Marsh Tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala) Male ©©Dario Sanches

White-headed Marsh Tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala) Male ©©Dario Sanches

Where the birds build their nests, And the stork, whose home is the fir trees. (Psalms 104:17 NASB)

Last week we saw some of the Tyrant Flycatcher family. This time, with over 400 species, just this family of birds will be featured.

The tyrant flycatchers are birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds, with more than 400 species. They are the most diverse avian family in every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada. As could be expected from a family this large, the members vary greatly in shape, patterns, size and colors. Most, but not all, species are rather plain, with various hues of brown, gray and white commonplace. Obvious exceptions include the bright red vermilion flycatcher, blue, black, white and yellow many-colored rush-tyrant and some species of tody-flycatchers or tyrants, which are often yellow, black, white and/or rufous.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

The smallest family members are the closely related short-tailed pygmy tyrant and black-capped pygmy tyrant. These species reach a total length of 6.5–7 cm (2.5–2.8 in) and a weight of 4–5 grams. By length, they are the smallest passerines on earth, although some species of Old World warblers apparently rival them in their minuscule mean body masses if not in total length. The minuscule size and very short tail of the Myiornis pygmy tyrants often lend them a resemblance to a tiny ball or insect. The largest tyrant flycatcher is the great shrike-tyrant at 29 cm (11.5 in) and 99.2 grams (3.5 oz).

Please enjoy watching a slideshow of some more of the Lord’s neatly created birds as you listen our orchestra and then the choir sing.

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Click to listen:

“Amazing Grace” – Orchestra and “I Love You, Written in Red” – Choir (Faith Baptist Church)

(Because there are so many birds there are two inspirations. More of this bird family were shown in Sunday Inspiration – Everlasting God)

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Sunday Inspirations
Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family
Good News

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Tickle Me Tuesday – Top Funny Bird Video

Mom and Baby at Lake Hollingsworth

Mom and Baby at Lake Hollingsworth

He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, And your lips with rejoicing. (Job 8:21 NKJV)

This is a video of funny bird antics that was made in 2012. This should Tickle you. It tickled me. I especially couldn’t believe that Gull eating what he does. It is amazing what the Lord’s created birds can do.

A time to weep, And a time to laugh; … (Ecclesiastes 3:4a NKJV)

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Tickle Me Tuesday – Bird of Paradise

Tickle Me Tuesday,” Challenge by Sandra Connor

Wordless Birds

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Sunday Inspiration – Everlasting God

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. (Psalms 90:2 KJV)

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28 KJV)

Since I have been going down the list of Passerines, might as well keep going. Today’s birds are from Gnateaters (Conopophagidae), Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae),  Crescentchests (Melanopareiidae) and part of the Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae). There are over 400 members in the last family, so will add more later.

As you can see, most of these are fairly small birds and rather non-descript. Their Creator has given them a nice look, but has them protected by letting them blend in with their surroundings. Another show of love for His creation.

Rufous Gnateater (Conopophaga lineata) ©WikiC

Rufous Gnateater (Conopophaga lineata) ©WikiC

The gnateaters are a bird family, consisting of ten small passerine species in two genera, which occur in South and Central America. The members of this family are very closely related to the antbirds and less closely to the antpittas and tapaculos. Due to their remote and dim habitat, gnateaters are a little-studied and poorly known family of birds. They are round, short-tailed, and long-legged birds, about 12–19 cm (5–7½ inches) in length. They are quite upright when standing. Most Conopophaga species have a white tuft behind the eye.

Ocellated Tapaculo (Acropternis orthonyx) ©WikiC

Ocellated Tapaculo (Acropternis orthonyx) ©WikiC

The tapaculos (pronounced ta-pa-COO-lo) are found mainly in South America and with the highest diversity in the Andean regions. Three species (Chocó, Tacarcuna, and the silvery-fronted) are found in southern Central America. Tapaculos are small to medium-sized birds, with a total length ranging from 10–24 cm (4–9½ in). These are terrestrial species that fly only poorly on their short wings. They have strong legs, well-suited to their habitat of grassland or forest undergrowth. The tail is cocked and pointed towards the head, and the name tapaculo possibly derives from Spanish for “cover your behind”.

Collared Crescentchest (Melanopareia torquata) ©Arthur Grosset

Collared Crescentchest (Melanopareia torquata) ©Arthur Grosset

The crescentchests are birds from South America. The crescentchests range in length from 14 to 16 cm (5.5–6.3 in), in weight from 16 to 23 g (0.56–0.81 oz) and have relatively long tails compared to the tapaculos. The plumage is striking with a distinctive band across the chest that gives the group their name.

Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant (Lophotriccus pileatus) by Michael Woodruff

Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant (Lophotriccus pileatus) by Michael Woodruff

The tyrant flycatchers are birds which occur throughout North and South America. They are considered the largest family of birds, with more than 400 species. They are the most diverse avian family in every country in the Americas, except for the United States and Canada. As could be expected from a family this large, the members vary greatly in shape, patterns, size and colors. Most, but not all, species are rather plain, with various hues of brown, gray and white commonplace. Obvious exceptions include the bright red vermilion flycatcher, blue, black, white and yellow many-colored rush-tyrant and some species of tody-flycatchers or tyrants, which are often yellow, black, white and/or rufous.

The smallest family members are the closely related short-tailed pygmy tyrant and black-capped pygmy tyrant. These species reach a total length of 6.5–7 cm (2.5–2.8 in) and a weight of 4–5 grams. By length, they are the smallest passerines on earth, although some species of Old World warblers apparently rival them in their minuscule mean body masses if not in total length. The minuscule size and very short tail of the Myiornis pygmy tyrants often lend them a resemblance to a tiny ball or insect. The largest tyrant flycatcher is the great shrike-tyrant at 29 cm (11.5 in) and 99.2 grams (3.5 oz).

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Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea. (Romans 16:25-27 KJV)

Click to listen:

“Everlasting God” – Pastor Jerry, Reagan Osborne, Caleb & Jessie Padgett

This was another song presented the day Pastor Jerry Smith retired from our Music Ministry at Faith Baptist Church.

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Gnateaters (Conopophagidae)

Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae)

Crescentchests (Melanopareiidae)

Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

Sharing the Gospel

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The Old Man and the Ibises

White Ibises

White Ibises at the park by Lee

The Old Man and the Ibises

by Emma Foster

Once there was a little boy who had short brown hair and was kind of short for his age. Every week, his parents would take him to a small park by a big lake.

When they arrived, the little boy fed  the ibises bread and talked to them about how he was about to start school. The ibises ate as much bread as they could hold and decided they liked hearing the little boy talk.

Several years passed and the little boy became a teenager. He started having problems with his grades. After failing another math test, the boy drove down to the park with some bread. Watching the ibises fly over and eat the bread made the boy feel a lot better and the ibises listened patiently as he told them all about how he could not get his grades to improve.

Eventually the teenage boy became a man and got married. The ibises started to multiply. A few years later, the man brought his children to the park. The ibises did the same. The man and his wife watched as their kids fed the ibises and as the ibises showed their children how to eat the bread with them. The man also taught his children how to talk to them.

White Ibis on Table by Lee

White Ibis on Table Listening by Lee

Many years passed and all the man’s children grew up and moved away. The man grew old, but he still drove to the park every week to feed the ibises.

Finally, one day, the old man grew too old to drive. He took one last drive to the park however. The ibises came as usual. The old man told the ibises that he wouldn’t be able to come and see them anymore because he couldn’t drive much longer. The ibises were very sad when they heard this statement. As the old man drove home, the ibises decided to fly after his car and follow him home. Soon there was a great flock of birds following the old man’s car.

The next day the old man opened his front door to get the mail and found the flock of ibises. The old man was very happy about the ibises coming to his house every day. From that day on, the ibises flew to the old man’s’ house so he could feed them bread.

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 1st Birds of 2014 by Lee

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) coming to the yard by Lee

The End


Lee’s Addition:

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (Colossians 3:12 KJV)

Emma has written another fine Bird Tale for us. It is enjoyable to watch as she is developing her writing skills. Each tale is better than the one before. This one is very heart touching. (Maybe it meant a lot because I wonder if the birds will come “people-watching” here when I can no longer go watch them.)

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 KJV)

To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, (Psalms 92:2 KJV)

There is much friendliness and kindness shown in this story.

More Bird Tales by Emma Foster

Other Bird Tales

Wordless Birds

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Sunday Inspiration – “Ant” Birds

Streak-chested (Spectacled) Antpitta (Hylopezus perspicillatus) by Ian

Streak-chested (Spectacled) Antpitta (Hylopezus perspicillatus) by Ian

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; (Proverbs 30:25 KJV)

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8 KJV)

Last week’s Sunday Inspiration featured the “first four bird families, taxonomically, in the Passeriformes Order (Songbirds)” This week we will continue with the next three families. They all have “ant” birds in them; Antshrikes, Antwrens, Antbirds, Antthrushes and Antpittas.. The Thamnophilidae – Antbirds family does have a few Bare-eyes.

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“He Looked Beyond My Fault” ~ ©The Hyssongs

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Sunday Inspirations

Passeriformes Order

Thamnophilidae – Antbirds Family

Formicariidae – Antthrushes Family

Grallariidae – Antpittas Family

Gideon

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) by Ian

National days are occasions in which icons play a big, maybe dominant or even overpowering role, and Australia’s, January 26th, is no exception. So here is the Australian Magpie. It’s not strictly a Magpie in the Northern Hemisphere sense and it’s not strictly Australian, as it also occurs naturally in southern Papua New Guinea and has been introduced to both the main islands of New Zealand.

It is, however, certainly iconic, and not just in the sense of something that is typical of Australia. It was incorporated in various South Australian insignia just after Federation, and features “displayed proper” against the risen sun of federation. All six state coat of arms were incorporated into the Australian coat of arms in 1912, so the magpie, along with the Black Swan of Western Australia, made it to the national coat of arms. The bird referred to in the original South Australian design documents is called the “Piping Shrike” but the Australian Magpie has had various names including “Piping Crow-shrike” (Charles Sturt, explorer, 1840).

Australian National Coat of Arms

There are several races of the Magpie and I thought it would be easy to describe and illustrate them as part of this bird of the week. In fact, the descriptions, delineations and ranges of the various races are both messy and vague so I’ve settled for three easily recognised categories based on the colouration of their backs between the universally white (or pale grey) nape and rump: Black-backed, White-backed and Western.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) by Ian

The Black-backed group, first and second photos, is the most widespread occurring everywhere except in SW Western Australia and SE Australia and Tasmania. The nominate race ‘tibicen’ of eastern Australia is Black-backed and the name is derived from the Latin for ‘trumpeter': tubicen. Male and female Black-backed have similar patterning except that the females have greyish tinge to the white and the black is less intense.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) by Ian

The familiar Magpie of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia is the White-backed. The bird in the third photo is a male, while the one in the fourth photo is a female. The grey tinge and scalloping on her nape and back is quite obvious.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) by Ian

The male of the Western Magpie in SW Western Australia is like the male White-backed. The female, however, has very dark scalloping on the back to the point where it is almost black, fifth photo.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) by Ian

Australian Magpies have group territories with the group varying in size from a pair of adults to several adults and juveniles of varying ages. Usually only one pair in the group actually nests with the female doing the nest-building and most of the incubation. The young are fed by the female, often with help from her male partner and sometimes from other group members. Magpies can be aggressive towards people near the nest, and many Australians can recount stories of being attacked when cycling to or from school. Juveniles have greyish rather than black plumage, like the juvenile Black-backed in the sixth photo.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) by Ian

Australian Magpies, and their close relatives the Butcherbirds, are candidates for being the finest song birds in Australia. The Magpie has a varied and complex repertoire and is well-known for its flute-like choruses by a pair or group. It is usually started by the senior male or female in the group with other members, including juveniles, joining in. Less intense warbling songs are done by individuals, often for long periods, contain elements of the choral singing and mimicry. The New Zealand Poet, Denis Glover, in his best known poem, The Magpies, rendered the song as ‘and Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle/The magpies said’.

The flute-like quality of the voice features in various European names for the Australian Magpie: Cassican flûteur (F), Flötenvogel (G) and Verdugo Flautista (Sp). I think the Germans have got it right with their Fluting-bird – much better than naming it after some unrelated Northern Hemisphere bird that it vaguely resembles. Maybe we should launch a new name for it next Australia Day. Now that would be a fitting Australia Day honour.

Greetings
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland:  iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

He (Solomon) spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. (1 Kings 4:33 NASB)

Ian, thanks again for sharing your Magpies from Australia. Seeing that he travels all around, he gets to see these different Magpies as he goes off on his birdwatching adventures. Their expressions give a look of intelligence to them.

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