Ian’s Bird of the Week – Griffon Vulture

Boumort National Reserve

Boumort National Reserve

The first photo shows part of Boumort National Reserve in the foothills of the Pyrenees in Catalonia about 40km southwest of Andorra. A reserve since 1991, It has an area of 13,000 hectares and is of special importance as one of the only places in Europe where all four European species of vultures breed. Three occur naturally, while the fourth, the Eurasian Black or Cinereous Vulture has been reintroduced, after becoming extinct in the Pyrenees in recent decades. I made arrangements to visit it through Steve West of Birding in Spain, including getting the necessary permit to photograph these birds, accommodation and transport.

As part of the conservation effort, the vultures are fed three times a week and I was taken to the feeding site by two rangers who had collected carcasses and meat off-cuts from farmers in the vicinity. The site is equipped with a spacious and comfortable hide, complete with toilet, and I was left there alone for the day after they had spread out the meat and carcasses in front of the hide. When we arrived there were already between one and two hundred vultures, almost all Griffons, soaring high above. I had been briefed beforehand that the first arrivals would be Griffons, with Eurasian Blacks arriving later in the morning when the crowds thinned, while the iconic Lammergeier could be expected, probably, in small numbers in the middle of the afternoon. The fourth species, the Egyptian Vulture is a summer visitor and had already departed for Africa.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

Sure enough, as soon as the rangers left, large numbers of Griffons glided in and squabbled noisily over the food. Griffons feed mainly on muscles and viscera and attacked the carcasses and pieces of meat with great gusto. The bird in the second photo showing its skill at balancing on a rock on one foot and waving the other is an adult, recognisable by its white ruff, horn-coloured bill and pale wing coverts. The one in the third photo is a juvenile, with grey bill, coffee-coloured ruff and darker wings. Juveniles generally had a covering of short plumage on the head and neck, while the adults often had relatively bare necks.

The breeding range of the Griffon Vulture extends from Portugal in the west to northeastern India and southwestern Kazakhstan in the east. Spain is its main stronghold in the west with about 8,000 pairs and the species is not considered under threat.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

These birds are huge and it was wonderful to observe them up close. The black bird in the fourth photo sneaking a mouthful from under the watchful eye of a Griffon is a Common Raven. This is the largest passerine in the world, with a length of up to 67cm/26in and wingspan of up to 130cm/51in, larger than a Common Buzzard, but completely dwarfed by the vulture. Griffons are up to 110cm/43in in length, with a wingspan of up to 280cm/110in and weighting up to 11kg/24lbs.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

In the air, they glide effortlessly and powerfully and the enormous wings make the body appear quite small by comparison. They come into land looking like parachutists under square canopies but with the ponderous, unwavering stability of a large aircraft like a B747 or an A380. Look how elegantly and precisely the toes are arranged with all the poise of an Olympic diver, fifth photo.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

It really was an extraordinary experience watching the spectacle of these amazing birds, even if their table manners left much to be desired. The large amount of food disappeared at a great rate and the crowds started to disperse, leaving the scene, one hoped, for the later, rarer and more picky species. To be continued…

Greetings
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

Another neat adventure for Ian. Not sure I would want to be left all day by myself. Then again, Ian, is quite an adventurous birdwatcher and photographer. Patience is something he definitely has.

Thanks again, Ian, for sharing your adventure. I have a feeling you will soon tell us about some of those other Vultures that came to feed.

“There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen: (Job 28:7 KJV)

The Griffon Vulture is a Bird of the Bible as Vultures are mentioned. One version of the Bible lists a Griffon.

“Of birds these are they which you must not eat, and which are to be avoided by you: The eagle, and the griffon, and the osprey.” (Leviticus 11:13 DRB)

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Angry (Mocking) Bird

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) by Dan

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) by Dan

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

We have been attacked repeatedly lately by an Angry Bird. A Northern Mockingbird has decided that he has a rival inside our windows. As the sun shines on different windows during the day, he attacks those windows with vigor.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) eggs ©WikiC

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) eggs ©WikiC

Apparently he has been thinking about starting another family and is trying to clear the area of competitors. He starts at early light and attacks the bird (his imaginary enemy) at one of the two bedroom windows. Then he goes out front and sits in the palm tree by the Florida room windows. Lo and behold, his enemy arrives and he starts attacking that window. It even has a screen on it. Later in the day, about mid-morning his “enemy” shows up in the side window of our living room.

I put some stick-on Christmas tree decorations on the back window, but he still sees his enemy and bangs on the windows. You just have to chuckle.

©©Bing

Angry Bird ©©Bing

As most of you already know, our Northern Mockingbird is seeing his own reflection in the windows. I told Dan yesterday that the Angry Bird is “His own worst enemy!” He is causing his own problems. If he would just relax, (and stay away from the windows) things would be okay.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. (James 1:22-24 NKJV)

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) Juvenile ©WikiC

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) Juvenile ©WikiC

How many times are we “our own worst enemy?” We make big “to-dos” about nothing. Or we think we have an issue when we really don’t have one. Sometimes we cause our own problems.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV)

One of the passages that mentions “face to face” that I like is:

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:11-13 NKJV)

Our angry Mockingbird is definitely not showing love.

Have a great day and remember to put your trust in the Lord and not in things you think you see.

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Songs In The Night From The Mockingbird

Mimidae – Mockingbirds, Thrashers

Northern Mockingbird

Eye of the Beholder – Mockingbird

Orni-Theology

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Sunday Inspiration – Vacation 2014

Peacock at Magnolia Plantation by Dan

Peacock at Magnolia Plantation by Dan

 

A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath Day. It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night,  (Psalms 92:1-2 NKJV)

Even though our vacation didn’t go according to “our” schedule, the Lord gave us some great blessings. He, the Lord, had a way of placing the right people in our path to help us. Only He could orchestrate those encounters. May we never forget to give the Lord credit for his blessings to us.

We were able to still see Patriots Point and Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, Merritt Island NWR, Brevard Zoo and the Viera Wetlands and the nearby Click Ponds. The slide show has some photos from those places.

** Some how I forgot to finish this Sunday Inspiration. We took our vacation several months ago. The song Sean is playing, “It Is Well With My Soul” seems to be even more appropriate today. I have been dealing with a walking and now pain issue. I start two days a week of physical therapy next week for almost two months. As I told the therapist Friday, “even though I am dealing with all this, I am trying to maintain a good attitude.” How can I do that? Because, It Is Well With My Soul.” I know the forgiveness for my sins because of the Lord Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for my sins and yours. Have you asked for His forgiveness? Please keep me in your prayers and Sean, also. He needs it more as he is dealing with Lymphoma.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17 KJV)

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“It Is Well With My Soul” by Sean Fielder

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More Sunday Inspirations

Gideon

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Birdwatching Term – Mobbing

 

Crow on Eagles Back ©©

Maybe A Little Too Close – Crow on Eagles Back ©©

Birdwatching Term – Mobbing

In the recent article, The Old Orchard Bully – Chapter 2, the whole group of birds united to chase off the Black Cat. That is called, “mobbing.”

Some ask why don’t the bigger birds fight back? Here are a few quotes from various sources:

“This behavior – like calling your family for help – is used by many bird species. The best time to observe mobbing is spring and early summer, when breeding birds are trying to protect their nests and young. Birds including swallows, blackbirds, and even these American Crows, seen here mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk, know that there is strength and power in numbers. And they’ve learned to join forces to protect themselves. Be sure to watch the video!”

Quote from Why Don’t Hawks Fight Back? :All agreed that if a red-tailed hawk reached out and grabbed a crow with its talons, that would be the end of the crow. Or as one of the professionals put it, in scientific terms, “the crow would be toast.” But although large raptors have the necessary weapons, the energy cost of pursuing or otherwise attempting to catch a crow is normally not worth it. Crows are agile creatures and would be very difficult to catch in flight. So a hawk typically ignores the crows or flies away.”

A Great Horned Owl being mobbed!

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Just as the Lord helps His Created critters, the Lord gives us promises about seeking His help:

But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” (2 Kings 17:39 NKJV)

Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies. (Psalms 60:11-12 NKJV)

I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed. (Psalms 18:37 NKJV)

O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. (Psalms 25:2 NKJV)

My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. (Psalms 31:15 NKJV)

For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever. Selah (Psalms 44:6-8 NKJV)

Some interesting links about mobbing:

Why Don’t The Crows Fight Back? – Savannah River Ecology Lab

Small Birds Mob Big Ones – Bird Note, with audio

Mobbing – RSPB

The Superb Fairywren – The Corporate Mob ~ by a j mithra

Birdwatching Terms

Birdwatching Tips 

Watching Birds

Wordless Birds

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Lake Morton Birdwatching after Round-up

Green Heron at Lake Morton by Lee

Green Heron at Lake Morton by Lee

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. (Psalms 40:5 NASB)

We finally took some time to go see what birds were at Lake Howard. I was a little disappointed that the winter birds haven’t started arriving yet. It is either that, or the fact that they have been re-working the shoreline at the park. They are making it more “people-friendly,” but seem to be making it less “bird-friendly.” Trust that is not going to keep our Wood Ducks, Ring-neck Ducks and Ruddies away. None of them were present.

I really didn’t check the whole lake though. I have been having some leg issues and haven’t been birdwatching lately. In fact, I only crossed the street and birded right there by the shore. You might keep me in your prayers. Had a Doctor appointment today with encouraging word, especially that surgery most like can be avoided on my feet. Friday, another appointment to start some physical therapy for my left leg. It has been weak and causing me to “waddle” like the ducks. Never heard of a “Lee Duck” have you? Hope not.

Here are some of the photos taken Saturday by the shore of Lake Morton. There are still some swans in the pens after the recent yearly round-up of the swans. They gave them all vaccinations. Rounded up well over a hundred of them.

Mute Swan in pen at Lake Morton by Lee

Mute Swan in pen at Lake Morton by Lee

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

I found this very interesting video from YouTube when they did the round-up in 2010.

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This link is to this year’s story about the Swan Round-up. (It has some neat photos)

http://www.theledger.com/article/20141001/NEWS/141009972/0/

Enjoy a slide show of some of what we saw.

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Wordless Birds

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Golden Eagle ~ Bird-Brain Might Be a Compliment!

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) ©USFWS

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) ©USFWS

Bird-Brain Might Be a Compliment!

Hey, boys and girls, Golden Eagle here. How have you been since last time? Do you ever wonder why the Universe is here? Why is the Earth here? Why are we alive? Is there something after death? Will I see my departed loved ones again? What is my purpose for existence? Where did my conscience come from? Questions are great and never be afraid to ask your parents or teachers the hard questions.

Golden Eagle ©PD

Golden Eagle ©PD

I am not a parrot! I am a high-flying eagle, but I am a little bit familiar with the Bible, the Word of God. In Revelation 4:11 the Bible says that Jesus “hast created ALL THINGS, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Even the animals can teach us things, if we want to learn. Do you know, a small feathered fowl just landed on my perch? I’ll be back in a minute. I need to send my feathered friend on a mission, in order to reclaim my perch.

“But ask now the beasts (animals), and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air (the birds), and they shall teach thee. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.” What will these things teach us? WHO KNOWETH NOT IN ALL THESE THAT THE HAND OF THE LORD HATH WROUGHT THIS? IN WHOSE HAND IS THE SOUL OF EVERY LIVING THING, AND THE BREATH OF ALL MANKIND.” Jesus Christ has created everything.

Ladybug ©WikiC

Ladybug ©WikiC

From the colors of the rainbow to the spots on a lady bug, Jesus created it all! Some of you have watched Disney’s Tinker Bell movies. They have water fairies, and color fairies, and Spring fairies, etc. But did you know?

Fairies are not real, but God’s angels are real!

There are Angels for the wind. (Revelation 7:1) “I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth…”

“And I heard the angel of the waters say…” There is a water angel!

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun…” (Revelation 16:8)

Jesus Christ created visible and invisible things! In every blade of grass, there is a lesson about photosynthesis. Our DNA is packed full with information from God. Your DNA had the information for the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, the thickness of your bones, and how tall you will eventually reach.

Water floats when it freezes! Did you ever wonder why? Most things, when they change from a liquid to a solid get heavier, but not water. Water gets lighter, and ice floats in your glass! Why? Because Jesus designed it that way, so in the winter the lakes don’t freeze solid! The ice freezes on top of the lake and fish and plants can continue to live in the winter time.

Snowflake ©WikiC

Snowflake ©WikiC

Every snowflake is different. Did you ever wonder why? “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:22-23) You know, snow helped George Washington in the battle for America’s Independence from England. Napoleon was turned back from Russia because of the cold and snow.

You see, there are so many things to learn. The greatest of all is the learn about the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One-true Living God. Everything was made for Him! He wants you to get saved, and then to live for Him. When you do that, you will begin to fulfill the purpose God intended you to have.

Us birds, we have our place in God’s economy! And boys and girls, you have your place. Read the Bible every day to find out more.  Sometimes, birds are smarter than you think. Maybe, if someone calls you a “bird-brain” in the future, that might be a compliment!

This is Golden Eagle flying off! See Ya…

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Golden Eagle

Wordless Birds

Bible Birds

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Birds – The Color That Only God Can Do

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan

Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. (Psalms 111:2 ESV)

Here is a neat blog worth looking at to see all the beautiful color that God put in Birds.

via Birds.

Enjoy the beauty of these birds.

Wordless Birds

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This is by N7QVC’s Christian Blog.

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Peacock Tail Feathers Don’t Drag Them Down

Peacock

Peacock

Here is an interesting article from Answers in Genesis about whether the -

Peacock Tail Feathers Don’t Drag Them Down
Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on October 2, 2014

The article is somewhat technical, but very interesting.

I like her closing thoughts, “God created all kinds of animals, plants, and the first two human beings in the space of just six days, about 6,000 years ago. They have for about 6,000 years varied and reproduced only within their created kinds, as we infer from Genesis chapter one He designed them to do. Protolife-to-peacock evolution cannot explain the beauty of the peacock’s feathers or its aerodynamic qualities, but what we read in the history book of all life—God’s Word—explains what we see in God’s world.

Of course we still don’t know why God designed such an over-the-top artistic wonder as the peacock. Perhaps He simply wanted His people to know that He is not only a great engineer but also to demonstrate that the Creator Himself appreciates beauty and wants us to do the same, admiring the handiwork of our God.”

Peacock Feather

Peacock Feather

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (Job 39:13 KJV)

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Answers in Genesis

Birds of the Bible – Peacocks

Bible Birds – Peacocks

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Sunday Inspiration – I’ll Be A Friend

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) by Margaret Sloan

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) by Margaret Sloan

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (Psalms 13:5-6 KJV)

The birds trust the Lord because they know He provides for them. We can have Jesus as a Friend that is even closer and provides our needs, especially Salvation.

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“I’ll Be A Friend To Jesus” – Faith Baptist Quartet 2011

  1. They tried my Lord and Master,
    With no one to defend;
    Within the halls of Pilate
    He stood without a friend.

    • Refrain:
      I’ll be a friend to Jesus,
      My life for Him I’ll spend;
      I’ll be a friend to Jesus,
      Until my years shall end.
  2. The world may turn against Him,
    I’ll love Him to the end,
    And while on earth I’m living,
    My Lord shall have a friend.
  3. I’ll do what He may bid me;
    I’ll go where He may send;
    I’ll try each flying moment
    To prove that I’m His friend.
  4. To all who need a Savior,
    My Friend I’ll recommend;
    Because He brought salvation,
    Is why I am His friend.

May you enjoy your day, rejoicing in the Lord’s Great Salvation, and His beautiful birds He has created for His pleasure and our enjoyment.

If you haven’t received his salvation, remember:

John 3:14-19 KJV
(14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
(15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
(16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
(18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Gospel Message

More Sunday Inspirations

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Pelican Learns to Fly – YouTube

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) by Ray

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) by Ray

 

What an interesting video. Just had to share it.

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

They are mentioned 3 times in Scripture. Isaiah 34:11 and Zephaniah 2:14 and the previous verse.

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“Abandoned by his flock, Bigbird the pelican stumbled ashore after a storm and was taken in by the staff of Greystoke Mahale in Tanzania. Watch as Bigbird learns to fly for the first time.”

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Bible Birds – Pelicans

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(Found on Kid’s blog)

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Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) ~ by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) by Raymond Barlow

 

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. (Psalms 26:7 KJV)

Just wanted to share a really neat photo that Ray shared on his Facebook page. He is one of the first photographers that gave permission to use his photos.

Ray took this on one of his trips to Costa Rica. This is from his page:

2 Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbirds sort out their problems in front of my guests during a photo-shoot in Costa Rica. Looks like mother and daughter here, we all wonder why nature needs to be so confrontational! (more with hummingbirds than any other of our planets species!)

I think the word “Mine” explains things.. :))

Special thanks to everyone for viewing my images!!

It is always so amazing to view more of the Lord’s Creation. He has also given Ray a great talent. Thanks, Ray.

Here’s another of those beautiful hummers.

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Females Feeding by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Females Feeding by Raymond Barlow

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Found this on the Kid’s Blog – I’m still kicking up dust. I have less than 80 of the 412 articles left to relocate over here. Already finished the 51 pages. Then I can start fixing some of the problems I have caused here on this blog.. :))
See:

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The Double Life of the Hummingbird ~ Creation Moments

GreenVioletear (Colibri thalassinus) Reinier Munguia

Green Violetear (Colibri thalassinus) Reinier Munguia

The Double Life of the Hummingbird ~ ©Creation Moments 2014

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

You might guess that the hummingbird, darting around from flower to flower with wings beating some 60 times a second, must burn a lot of energy to keep going. If a 65-pound boy burned up energy at the same rate, he would eat 100 pounds of chicken every day. The fact is, the hummingbird will die if it goes for more Green Violetear hummingbird than two hours without eating. You might wonder, if the hummingbird cannot go more than two hours without eating, when does it sleep? The fact is, the hummingbird does sleep a good eight hours every night. How does he do it?

God has given the hummingbird a most remarkable metabolism. During the day, the hummingbird’s heart must beat 10 times every second as it keeps its incredibly fast metabolism going. But when it goes to sleep, the hummingbird’s heart slows down to less than one beat per second – about the same as ours. And to further slow his metabolism, the hummingbird’s normal daytime temperature drops from 100 (F) degrees to the same temperature as the night air – 50 or 60 degrees. This drop in temperature would kill most warm-blooded animals. But all of this enables the hummingbird to go without food for a good eight-hour sleep.

The hummingbird provides more than enough evidence that the Creator really does care for His creatures, even when they are asleep.

Prayer:
Dear Father, I thank You that You care for me even when I am asleep and cannot protect myself. Comfort me with this truth, especially when I am fearful of the night. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Notes:
Bob Devine, Uncle Bob’s Animal Stories (Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1986), pp. 38-39. Photo: Green Violetear hummingbird. Courtesy of Mdf. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Creation Moments ©(Used with permission)

Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) WikiC

Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) WikiC

I always enjoy the articles from Creation Moments, especially the ones about our avian friends. Our Creator is definitely Omniscient (all-knowing). Such wisdom He used in providing for the various needs of the birds.

The Hummingbirds belong to the Trochilidae – Hummingbird Family.

Creation Moments

More Interesting Things from Creation Moments

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