Ian’s Bird of the Week – Great Frigatebird

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Great Frigatebird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8/28/14

This week’s good news is that the ebook Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland is now available on the iTunes store (in 51 countries). So if you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac (running OS X Maverick) this is for you! Here is the link: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/where-to-find-birds-in-northern/id912789825?mt=11&uo=4. To make a connection with this week’s bird, the Great Frigatebird, here is a screen shot from iBooks to show you what you can expect. All the text items highlighted in purple and links to either other places in the book – typically places, birds or lists – or external websites. The images are the same size as the ones that are included in the bird of the week, so if you double-click, or double-tap, on them, you can enlarge them to full size.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) by Ian

If you think about birds in northern Queensland, perhaps iconic rainforest species like the Cassowary or Victoria’s Riflebird come to mind. Fair enough, but there is much more to this region than rainforest, important though that is.The area also has wonderful wetlands, tropical savannah forest, mountain ranges, dry country habitats and, last but not least, the coast with its Barrier Reef, beaches, mangroves, mudflats, continental islands and coral cays. So it should be no surprise that over 400 species of birds occur here and you need a reference devoted to the region to do it justice. I’ve chosen a dramatic seabird to make the point.

The term ‘frigate’ was first applied in the 17th century to warships built for speed and manoeuvrability and frigates were often used by pirates to attach merchant shipping. Frigatebirds, also called Man o’ War Birds, got their name for their piratical habitats of harrying other seabirds like boobies and tropicbirds to make them drop their prey. In fact, studies have shown that piracy accounts for perhaps only 20% of their food, and they are expert fishers as well. They fish by snatching prey, such as squid and young turtles, from the surface of the sea or in flight, in the case of their favourite prey, flying fish.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female by Ian

Despite their naval name, frigatebirds are wonderfully adapted for flying and are poor swimmers to the extent that they are reluctant to land on water, as they can take off only in strong winds and their plumage is not waterproof. They have very light bones making up only 5% of the body, huge pectoral muscles, enormous wing area, long forked tails for rudders and streamlined bodies with small heads. Despite their size, they are very light, soar effortlessly in good winds and are very acrobatic. Female Great Frigatebirds, larger than males, are about 1m/40in long, have a wingspan to 2.3m/90in but weight only 1.2-1.6kg/2.6-3.5lb.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Female by Ian

The male Great Frigatebird, first photo, is the only all-black frigatebird occurring in Australia – the other all-black males are the Magnificent Frigatebird of Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Pacific and the Ascencion Frigatebird of the east Atlantic. Frigatebirds are unusual among seabirds in drinking freshwater if they can get it, and this male is drinking at the mouth of freshwater stream on Christmas island by snatching a beak-full of water in flight. Frigatebirds also bathe in flight by splashing into the surface of the water and flying off. You can also see its red gular pouch. This is inflated to enormous size to impress females during courtship. I haven’t got a photo of displaying Great Frigatebird, but you can see a Magnificent Frigatebird doing so here: Magnificent_Frigatebird.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by Ian

Female Great Frigatebirds have white breasts and care needs to be taken in distinguishing them from other female and juvenile frigatebirds – Lesser Frigatebirds of both sexes have white ‘spurs’ in the axil of the underwing, and Christmas Island Frigatebirds of both sexes, have white bellies. Birds in Indian Ocean waters in Australia belong to the nominate race minor, distinguished by the females having pink eye-rings, second photo. Birds in the Pacific belong to palmerstoni and usually have blue eye-rings, third photo, though doubt exists as to the validity of the races and the reliability of the fieldmarks.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by IanBecause of their need for consistent winds, frigatebirds are restricted to tropical waters where they can rely on the trade winds. Adults are sedentary and remain close to their roosting sites and breeding colonies, mostly on small isolated islands. Non-breeding birds and immature birds are pelagic and move over huge distances. Trade winds are unusual in that they form cumulus clouds and hence thermals over water both by day and night, and frigatebirds make great use of these to soar as high as the cloud base and will fly at night if conditions are right. Pelagic frigatebirds use the front of storms to move around and can cope with high winds very well. This is why they appear in coastal areas after cyclones and are supposed to be called ‘rain-brothers’ by Australian aborigines, though I haven’t been able to verify this.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by IanThe range of the Great Frigatebird includes the tropical Pacific, southern tropical Indian and western Atlantic Oceans. In Australia it breeds colonially on islands along the outer Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea and on Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, usually in mangroves. The juvenile in photos five and six was photographed on East Diamond Islet, about 600km east of Cairns http://www.satelliteviews.net/cgi-bin/w.cgi?c=cr&UF=34304&UN=456541&DG=ISL. Breeding birds form pair bonds and both parents share in the incubation and feeding of the young. The young develop very slowly. This is thought to adapt them to periods of starvation when the adults have trouble finding food, and remain under parental care for many months.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female attacking Red-tailed Tropicbird by IanThe last photo shows a hapless Red-tailed Tropicbird near Christmas Island being harried by a female Great Frigatebird who has grabbed it by the tail-streamers. Frigatebirds hang out near seabird colonies waiting for birds carrying prey or with full crops returning to feed their young. It’s hard enough work being a parent without having to put up with this!

Greetings
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/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Lee’s Addition:

but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 HCSB)

Thanks again, Ian, for introducing us to another interesting bird. We have seen the Magnificent Frigatebirds here in Florida, but these Great ones are also amazing. That fact about only 5% of their weight being the bone structure is another fantastic design from their Creator.

Frigatebirds belong to the Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family which only has five species in it.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Lesser Frigatebird

Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family

Great Frigatebird – Wikipedia

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Sunday Inspiration – Smiling

Gators at Gatorland - Great Egrets catching a ride

Gators at Gatorland – Great Egrets catching a ride

The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; (Psa 33:13)

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. (Psa 14:2 NKJV)

Today’s Inspiration is just a collection of photos that have been used before. Most are on the lighter side. Some to make you smile, others just to help us enjoy the Lord’s critters. I especially enjoy the three ladies singing “Smile On Me Gracious Lord.”

I trust we all want the Lord to smile on us. Knowing the Lord as your personal Savior and accepting Him will definitely put a smile on His Face.

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“Smile On Me Gracious Lord” – Special by Amy, Dakota and Christina

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More Sunday Inspirations

Wordless Birds

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(WordPress is having a problem at this time and adding new photos is too frustrating to bother with.)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Masked Woodswallow

Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Masked Woodswallow ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8/14/14

When I was taking location photos along the inland route to Paluma several weeks ago, I came across a mixed flock of a couple of hundred Masked and White-browed Woodswallows. The White-browed featured as bird of the week in 2005, but the Masked hasn’t so here it is. The males in particular, first photo, are very elegant with a sharply defined, very black mask, soft grey back, almost white underparts and a white crescent between the mask and the back of the head.

The females, second photo, are similar to the males with less contrasting plumage, only a subtle crescent, and a buff wash to the upper breast. The yellow specks on the mask and breast of this female are pollen – these primarily insectivorous birds also feed on nectar, particularly in northern Australia in winter.

Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) by Ian
The female in the second photo and the juvenile in the third photo were in a mixed flock of Masked and White-browed that spent a week or so feeding on the locally common Fern-leaved Grevillea near where I live in 2005. The juveniles are similar to the females, but with browner plumage with pale spots and streaks.

Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) by Ian

The ‘swallow’ part of the name comes from their buoyant, gliding flight and not because they are related to real swallows (family Hirundinidae). Rather, they are related to the Australian Magpie, Butcherbirds and Currawongs, usually combined in the one family, the Artamidae. There is an obvious similarity to the Magpie and Butcherbirds in their general form and bi-coloured bills and they are also quite aggressive, Woodswallows being quick to mob raptors in flight. The ‘personatus’ part of the scientific name comes from the Latin persona, meaning mask, a derivation that amused me when I though of show business ‘personalities’.

The White-browed and Masked Woodswallows are very closely related species, even though their respective plumages are quite distinct. They are both very nomadic and occur throughout mainland Australia, though not Tasmania. They often occur together in large mixed flocks. In eastern Australia, the White-browed predominates; in Western Australia, the Masked is more numerous and may occur alone. The two species will even nest together in small mixed colonies and occasionally interbreed.

Links:
Artamidae
Masked Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow

Greetings
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/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

“Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)

What a neat looking bird. I especially like the clean line around his “mask”. We have seen Woodswallows in a zoo, but not this kind and not in the wild. That last photo is a super photo. Thanks, Ian, for sharing with us.

Swallows and Woodswallows are in two different families. Woodswallows are in the Artamidae – Woodswallows Family while the Hirundinidae Family has the Swallows and Martins.

Here is a photo of  White-breasted Woodswallows that we saw at Zoo Miami:

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

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

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Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds: Living on the Inside or the Outside?

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) ©WikiC Alan Vernon

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) ©WikiC Alan Vernon

Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

The Visitor Center at Jackson Hole, Wyoming (“Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center”), is a good place to go to for information on Grand Teton National Park, which borders the more-famous Yellowstone National Park.  Yet for bird-lovers, the visitor’s center itself is an attraction, in summer, because the marshy ponded area next to the building hosts a congregation of blackbirds, both Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus).

If you are helping city kids to see these passerine icterids, tell them to “look for the tall corny-dogs growing in the wild” (cattails – Typha species, tall-stemmed wetland plants topped by a sausage-shaped flowering “spike”), around the pond.

As in many other lacustrine marshlands, red-winged blackbirds are often found perched among the cattails that grow as emergents among the wavy shoreline of pond.  For a redwing this is “prime real estate”, until the yellow-heads move in. How so?  In cattail dominated marsh-ponds, if both yellow-heads and red-wings are both present, the innermost places of the cattail “ring” are routinely occupied by the yellow-headed blackbirds, leaving the “outer” cattail positions (i.e., slightly farther away from the pond-water) for the redwings.

Why?  I have no idea why, but others have notice this. [E.g., see W. Braun’s observations in Blackbirds In Cattail Marshes , saying “The YHBs [yellow-headed blackbirds] clearly are the rulers of the cattails. They often, but not always, nest in the same marsh as the Red-winged Blackbird and the Common Grackles. The larger Yellow-headed Blackbird is dominant to the Red-winged Blackbird and displaces the smaller blackbird from the prime nesting spots.”]

 

Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds on Cattails ©Orcawatcher.com

Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds on Cattails ©Orcawatcher.com

Photo credit www.Orcawatcher.Com

But it reminds me of the dramatic difference between the apostle Peter and the Pharisee Nicodemus.  Peter was (almost) always close to Christ, and often so, but Nicodemus mostly kept his distance from Christ, at least publicly.

Far from being infallible, Peter is infamous for his cowardice that was indicted by a rooster crowing thrice (Luke 22:54-61).  Peter is also remembered for getting distracted, and becoming fearful, and sinking into the Sea of Galilee, after having miraculously walked on water for only a few steps (Matthew 14:24-33).  But Peter was wise enough to immediately cry out “Lord, save me!”  (And Jesus did.)  At least Peter did some walking on water (at Christ’s command, of course), which is a lot better than the other disciples who just stayed in the boat, as mere spectators, wonderfully how Jesus was enabling Peter to walk on water.

Likewise, Peter had the courage to step up and speak up – to call Jesus “the Christ, the Son of the living God” – a deed that the Lord Jesus commended Peter  — and God the Father —  for doing (Matthew 16:15-17).  And Peter did what he could to defend Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus was being arrested – Peter used a sword to chop off one man’s ear (Luke 22:49-51; John 18:10-11)!  (But unlike the Orcadian Viking known to history as Thorfinn Skull-splitter, Peter missed most of his victim’s head.)  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Yellow-hooded Blackbird (Chrysomus icterocephalus) ©Flickr Bob

Yellow-hooded Blackbird (Chrysomus icterocephalus) ©Flickr Bob

So you really have to love Peter.  (Jesus certainly did!)  Peter was one of the “inner” circle of three  –  just James, John, and Peter  — who were invited to witness the Lord Jesus Christ being glorified upon the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8).  What an unforgettable privilege that was (2nd Peter 1:16-18)!  Jesus later invited the same “inner circle” of three to pray for Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:3738).  With all his faults, Peter was a truly privileged member of Christ’s “inner circle”.

But Peter’s privileges are not so high that we should feel sorry for Nicodemus.  Not at all!

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by Ray

What a privilege it was for Nicodemus to be the first listener to hear, what we now read in, John’s third chapter (John 3:1-9), including the everlastingly famous promise of John 3:16, spoken by Jesus Himself!  Later Nicodemus took a modest stand for Jesus (John 7:50-52), and in time Nicodemus had an official role in Christ’s burial (John 19:39-40) three days before Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave!

Even so, if one had the choice, why visit Christ, in secret, keeping a distance from Him in public, when the opportunity to belong to His “inner circle” is available?

Am I more like Peter or Nicodemus?  Maybe that question will come to mind next time you see a group of “inner circle” yellow-headed blackbirds, perching on cattails, as the “outer circle” of cattails hosts the red-winged blackbirds. And, if you like the idea of being in the Lord’s “inner circle”, you might sing this as a prayer:  “Just a closer walk with Thee…”

 

James J. S. Johnson, with his family, has repeatedly visited Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Visitor Center, in summer, to admire the yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds that congregate on and among the pond-ringed cattails there. (And a very special thank-you to Lee for teaching me how to edit the typos in this blog.)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Australian King Parrot

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Australian King Parrot ~ Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 7-31-14

Mea culpa again for the long delay since the last bird of the week. The good news is that, apart from dotting a few i’s, my current obsession Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland is finished, so with luck you may get more frequent BotWs in the future. Here is an attractive and surprising omission from the BotW series, the Australian King Parrot. It’s one of the most spectacular Australian parrots and deserves the ‘King’ moniker. The French call it la Perruche royale.

King Parrot by Ian

King Parrot by Ian

 

It’s quite common along the eastern seaboard of Australia, with a preference for fairly dense coastal and highland forests including rainforest. That can make it hard to see but it’s quite vocal and the whistling call of the males is a very characteristic sound of eastern forest. It responds readily to being fed and can get quite tame. The one in the first photo was taken at O’Reilly’s in Lamington National Park, where the birds will perch on arms and shoulders and pose happily for photos. The males are distinguished from the females by the brilliant scarlet of the breast extending onto the head and having a conspicuou peppermint green blaze on the wings.

 

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male by Ian

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male by Ian

The females are gorgeous too with scarlet lower breast and belly, green heads and pinkish necks. The one in the second photo was busy exploring hollows in trees, but it was hard to imagine that she was contemplating nesting in May. Both sexes have blue backs, third photo, but this is usually hidden by the folded wings. The wing blaze may be missing or inconspicuous in females.

 

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Female WikiC

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Female WikiC

It’s usually just called the King Parrot in Australia and I used to wonder vaguely about the ‘Australian’ qualification. The reason for it is that is a Papuan one in New Guinea and a Moluccan one in western New Guinea and the islands of eastern Indonesia. Both these are rather similar to the Australian one, but smaller and differ mainly in the colour or lack of the blaze on the wings, and the amount of blue in the plumage.

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male Closeup by Ian

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male Closeup by Ian

 

There are two races of the Australian species. The larger nominate race occurs along most of the east coast, while the smaller race minor (obviously) occurs in northeastern Queensland. The literature doesn’t say much about minor except that it’s smaller, and there’s disagreement in the field guides about how far south it occurs: choose between Cardwell, Townsville and Mackay. I suspect Townsville is correct as there a big gap between the Paluma Range population and the Eungella/Clark Range one near Mackay. Anyway, the male in photo 4 and the female in photo 5 were photographed on the Atherton Tableland and are certainly minor.

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) by Ian

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) by Ian

It seemed to me from the photos that I took there that the northern males had brighter and more extensive blue hind collars and the females had brighter wing-blazes than southern birds. My sample size was small, but it might be an interesting project to check out whether these differences are consistent and to establish the exact geographical ranges of the subspecies. In northeastern Queensland it is mainly a highland species, with some movement to the lowlands in winter and I have seen them very occasionally near where I live.

Links:
Australian King-Parrot (I should have put hyphens in the photo captions)
Red-winged Parrot

Anyway, back to dotting i’s. The next stage in the book is to check out publishing via Apple iBooks, Google Play, etc. That’s something I know nothing about, so it will be interesting to find out how it’s done.

Greetings

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/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 KJV)

What beautifully created Parrots! They are just fantastic. Also, I was beginning to worry about Ian. It has been over a month since his last newsletter, Plum-headed Finches.

These parrots are members of the Psittacidae – Parrots Family. There are approximately 365 members, depending on whose list. The greatest diversity of parrots is in South America and Australasia.

Checkout all of Ian’s Parrot photos (around 50 species)

King Parrot at Wikipedia

Psittacidae – Parrots Family

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Sunday Inspiration – Hornbills

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3 NKJV)

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalms 18:2 NKJV)

Oh, my, what interesting group of birds the Lord’s Creative Hand created with these two Hornbill Families! They come from the Bucerotidae – Hornbills and Bucorvidae – Ground Hornbills. There are 61 hornbills in the two families.

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the LORD with the harp, With the harp and the sound of a psalm, With trumpets and the sound of a horn; Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King. (Psalms 98:4-6 NKJV)

And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, (Luke 1:69 NKJV)

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“I Sing The Mighty Power Of God” ~ by the ©Hyssongs

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More:

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Photos from Circle B and MacDill Shore

Tricolored Heron Juvenile by Dan at Circle B

The last post had my photos and videos from our trip to Circle B Bar Reserve (Circle B After Recent Rains) . Today, I am showing you the GOOD ONES! These were taken by Dan.

Also, I am adding his photos from the shore at MacDill AFB on Tampa Bay. The names were added by me and some are uncertain. I know many of you who visit this blog are better at naming birds than we are. Identifying shorebirds is still in the beginning stages for us, though I “think” I know what these are. So, If you can help, please leave a comment.

I have searched my books for Dan’s #19, and can’t find it. It must be an immature.

Unknown by Dan MacDill Shore 2014 (19)

Unknown by Dan MacDill Shore 2014 (19)

When the photos I took on this recent trip are blogged about, it would be nice to have proper names on the birds. (At least most of them.)

Enjoy Dan’s photos. He is the one that takes the great ones. You can also visit his website at Dan’s Pix.

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But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, (Deuteronomy 14:12 KJV)

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19)

I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. (Psalms 102:6 NKJV)

See:

Circle B After Recent Rains

Dan’s Pix

Birdwatching Trips

Birdwatching Trips – Circle B Bar Reserve, FL

Birds of the Bible – Herons – Pelicans- Osprey - Sea Gulls

Good News Tracts

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Photos from Honeymoon Island State Park

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; (Matthew 13:1-3 KJV)

We recently took a short visit to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida. (See – Another Birdwatching TripGrey Kingbird at Honeymoon Island SP)

These are some of the photos taken that day. It was hot, summer and not many birds available to watch unfortunately. It was enjoyable just the same and we plan on going back again when the fall birds start migrating through or stopping for the winter.

 

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And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. (Zephaniah 2:14 KJV)

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Picture Story – Coppersmith Barbet (Observations) – Re-post

Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) ©One Happy Birder

Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) ©One Happy Birder

According to studies, January to June is usually the breeding season of Coppersmith Barbets found in the Indian Subcontinent. I had seen a courtship display of this species last year where the female waited patiently for the male, the male kept returning to the female with food in its beak, the male used to puff himself up, start flapping its wings and then feed the female displaying his affection to her, and then the eventually they would mate.

Recently, I observed two Coppersmith Barbets indulge in an activity which looked…. Picture Story- Coppersmith Barbet (Observations).


Lee’s Addition:

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6 KJV)

The article goes on to describe this behavior as “a term ‘allobilling’ trying to find out what this behavior meant. From what i read, ‘allobilling’ is mutual mouthing between two birds.”

This mouthing is what caught my interest as a Christian. What kind of “mouthing” are we doing?

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! (Proverbs 15:23 KJV)

Coppersmith Barbets are members of the Megalaimidae – Asian Barbets Family.

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Sunday Inspiration – “King” Birds

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9 NKJV)

‘TELL THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.’ ” (Matthew 21:5 NKJV)

Since writing about the Grey Kingbird last week, I have been thinking about birds that have “King” in their name. Here are some of the ones, plus many of the “King”fishers.

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Both our Choir with the Orchestra and the Hyssongs did great and I couldn’t decide so here are both of them.

“The King is Coming” – Faith Baptist Choir and Orchestra. Intro by Pastor Osborne

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (John 18:36-37 KJV)

“The King is Coming” – ©Hyssongs

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The Gospel Message

More Sunday Inspirations

Faith Baptist Church

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Sneaky Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) Reinier Munguia

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) Reinier Munguia

Sneaky Roadrunner ~ by Dr. James J. S. Johnson

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 KJV)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

Roadrunners are unusual birds.   When you think of birds, usually you think of birds that fly.  But not roadrunners – mostly they run (up to 20 miles per hour!), or walk very quickly (“race-walking”).  But roadrunners sometimes fly short distances, if they want to escape someone.  Once I saw one fly from my home’s front yard to the roof of our house.  But a roadrunner’s usual exit strategy is to run.  But not always. Sometimes they try to be sneaky. Before recalling a memorable example of roadrunner sneakiness, however, a few fact about roadrunners should be reviewed.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) by Daves BirdingPix

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) by Daves BirdingPix

Roadrunners have longer legs, in proportion to their bodies, than do most birds.  Obviously God designed these roadrunners to get around on foot!  Taxonomists (i.e., those who categorize creatures into groups of common traits, by “lumping” on similarities and “splitting” on dissimilarities) classify the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus – meaning “Californian earth-cuckoo”) as a member of the cuckoo family, birds that look like half-starved chickens with long tails.  Roadrunners thrive in desert habitats, yet these black-and-white fowl are also found living in shrub-dominated lands known for hot, dry climates, such as the western half of Texas (as well as most of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and California).  See Roger Tory Peterson, WESTERN BIRDS (Houghton Mifflin, 3rd ed., 1990), range map 192.  Roadrunners can also be seen, though less frequently, in contiguous states, such as Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Missouri, and Arkansas.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Alan Murphy Flickr

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Alan Murphy Flickr

Roadrunners are not picky eaters.  Roadrunners are happy to eat bugs (insects and spiders), seeds, fruits, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, and even small birds (and their eggs), small mammals (usually rodents like mice, rats, and voles), and small reptiles (such as lizards).  One of the more unusual insects, that roadrunners are known to eat, is the tarantula hawk wasp – an amazing spider-killing wasp that the U.S. Army named one of its “unmanned aircraft” reconnaissance units after.  [See my article at www.icr.org/article/slow-death-for-tarantula-lesson-arachnid/ -- “Slow Death for a Tarantula”.]

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Flickr

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Flickr

So how can a roadrunner be “sneaky”?  A few months ago I walked out of my house’s front door, and saw a roadrunner in my path.  Startled by my approach, the roadrunner skittishly scuttled around my van, which was parked in the driveway in front of my house.  So now I was standing on the north side of my van, and the roadrunner was standing on the south side of my van.

How do I know that, since I don’t have “x-ray eyes” that can see through a parked van?   As I slowly and silently crept, counter-clockwise around the west side of my van, I could see the roadrunner, standing on the south side of my blue van: he (or was it a she?) was bent over with his head turned to the southeast, with his slender bill and face aimed directly away from me.  By bending down his head, and aiming it away from where I was standing, the roadrunner must have thought that he was hiding from me, and that I could not see him – because he could not see me!  If I had impolitely startled him, then, surely it would have hurt his feelings, or his pride, because he obviously thought he really had me fooled.  So I stood silently, unmoving, for quite a while, to see if he would notice me – only about 3 feet form him – with nothing but air between us!  The roadrunner never moved, and he never turned his head to see me, so perhaps he thought I still could not see him.  Not having the heart to correct him, I slowly and silently backed up to the north side of the van, then retreated back through my front door, into my house.  To this day the roadrunner probably thinks that his bent-over, head-turned “hiding” had fooled me.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©thedrinkingbird Bing

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©thedrinkingbird Bing

Then I got to thinking about how often we humans act as though we could hide ourselves from God.  When our first parents first sinned (Genesis 3:8-10) they tried to hide from God, among the trees in the Garden of Eden.  (If there had been a blue van there they might have tried to hide behind it.)  Of course, the very thought of hiding from God is silly because He is omnipresent and omniscient (Psalm 139).  But, because the Lord Jesus Christ provides us with a free redemption (John 3:16), there is no good reason to be afraid of God (Hebrews 10:19), because “perfect love casts out fear” (1st John 4:18).

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Nathan Davis Bing

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Nathan Davis Bing

Roadrunners are fun to watch – I love watching them scoot around on their fast, race-walking legs! If roadrunners only knew how kindly I regard them they would not fear me – they don’t need to sneak around to escape me.  And, because of Jesus, there is no good reason for us to try to hide from God.

(Dr. James J. S. Johnson, now apologetics professor at ICR,  previously taught ornithology at Dallas Christina College. Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner, his second-grade teacher, introduced him to creationist ornithology.)

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Grey Kingbird at Honeymoon Island SP

Grey Kingbird by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP 7-4-2014

Grey Kingbird by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP 7-4-2014

All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD, When they have heard the words of Your mouth. And they will sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD. (Psalms 138:4-5 NASB)

The Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) which we saw at Honeymoon Island SP last week was a Life Bird for me. Most Americans call it Gray, but the I.O.C. List of Birds use the Grey spelling. Either way, grey or gray, it is the same bird. That is one reason they use the Scientific name of Tyrannus dominicensis to ID the bird.

Recently I purchased the Latin for Bird Lovers book, because I have tried to see what these “scientific” mean on my own and thought this would be interesting. The book has over 3,000 bird names. I found it to be something quite useful, for me, at least. So let’s see what our Tyrannus dominicensis actually means.

  • Tyrannus - “ti-RAN-nus” – “Tyrant, as in Tyanannus Allugularis, The White-throated Kingbird” [p.205]
  • dominicensis“doe-min-ib-SEN-sis-” – “After the Commonwealth of Dominica in the West Indies, as in Pluvialis dominica, the American Golden Plover, which passes through the West Indies during migrations.” [p.61]

So, we have a Tyrant that is from or passes through Dominica. The Kingbirds do belong to the Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers FamilyThere are 14 birds in the Tyrannus genus, which is the first part of the scientific name, Tyrannus Dominicensis, the second part of the name has 5 birds with that ending. That includes not only this Grey Kingbird, but also the Caribbean Martin (Progne dominicensis),  Antillean Siskin (Spinus dominicensis)Hispaniolan Oriole (Icterus dominicensis) and the Hispaniolan Spindalis (Spindalis dominicensis).

This was my 250th Life Bird record on eBird.

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. (Psalms 84:3 NASB)

“The Grey or Gray Kingbird, also known as Pitirre (Tyrannus dominicensis) is a passerine bird. It breeds from the extreme southeast of the USA, mainly in Florida, through Central America, from Cuba to Puerto Rico as well as eastward towards all across the Lesser West Indies, south to Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago the Guiana and Colombia. Northern populations are migratory, wintering on the Caribbean coast of Central America and northern South America.

Grey Kingbird by Dan

Grey Kingbird by Dan at HISP

This tyrant flycatcher is found in tall trees and shrubs, including the edges of savanna and marshes. It makes a flimsy cup nest in a tree. The female incubates the typical clutch of two cream eggs, which are marked with reddish-brown. Grey Kingbirds wait on an exposed perch high in a tree,which is where we found it, occasionally sallying out to feed on insects, their staple diet.

The adult Grey Kingbird is an average-sized kingbird. It measures 9.1 in (23 cm) in length and weighs from 1.3 to 1.8 oz (37 to 52 g). The upper parts are grey, with brownish wings and tail, and the underparts are white with a grey tinge to the chest. The head has a concealed yellow crown stripe, and a dusky mask through the eyes. The dark bill is heavier than that of the related, slightly smaller, Tropical Kingbird. The sexes are similar, but young birds have rufous edges on the wing coverts, rump and tail.

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

The call is a loud rolling trill, pipiri pipiri, which is the reason behind many of its local names, like pestigre or pitirre, in the Spanish-speaking Greater Antilles, or “petchary” in some of the English-speaking zones.

(from xeno-canto)

Like other kingbirds, these birds aggressively defend their territory against intruders, including mammals and much larger birds such as caracaras and Red-Tailed Hawks. This phenomenon has led to the widespread adoption of the pitirre as a nationalist symbol (a sort of David vs. Goliath figure) in Puerto Rico.

It is found in increasing numbers in the state of Florida, and is more often found inland though it had been previously restricted to the coast. The species was first described on the island of Hispaniola, then called Santo Domingo, thus the dominicensis name.” (from Wikipedia with editing)

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

I added this Northern Mockingbird which was also there at the State Park. At first we kept thinking the Kingbird was a Mockingbird. If you compare the photos, you will notice the Mockingbird has a white spot on its wings and also a black spot near its ear. They are very close though. Also, Dan’s photo of the Kingbird came out more brownish. It may be that he caught a younger one. There were several at the park.

Isn’t the Lord great in that He makes us work for the IDs of these birds. As I have said, He should have put name tags on them, but then we wouldn’t learn about His creativity, would we? It is good for us to learn new things. Never get bored with learning.

Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. (Psalms 25:4 NASB)

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalms 32:8 KJV)

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Gideon

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