Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

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

“The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Swans are mentioned in these two verses in the KJV Bible. Some other versions list it as another bird. For now, let us learn about the beautiful Swans that the Lord created.

Both of the Swan verses above are found in the “do not eat” list that the Lord gave to the “children of the LORD your God.” Who would want to eat such great looking birds?

Swans are in the Anatidae Family which includes Ducks, Geese and Swans. There are seven species which include these:

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) ©AGrosset – Zoo Miami’s by Lee
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) by Dan – Video by Nick – Article
Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus) by Bob-Nan
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) by Dan
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) by DavesBP
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) by DavesBP
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) by Ian

Some Interesting Facts:

  • The Trumpeter Swan has the most contour feathers of any bird. (25,216) That doesn’t count the downy feathers.
  • Swans can fly as fast as 60 miles per hour!
  • A male swan is called a cob, and a female swan is called a pen.
  • A baby swan is called a cygnet.
  • The largest species, including the mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, can reach length of over 1.5 m (60 inches) and weigh over 15 kg (33 pounds). Their wingspans can be almost 3 m (10 ft).

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Bible Birds – Swan

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Swan

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family

Wordless Birds

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Orni-Theology Introduction

Orni-Theology with Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology with Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

In the last blog, the term “Orni-Theology” was introduced. (Orni-theology ~ The Master Carpenter) Since then, an Orni-Theology page has been established. There will be links there to the various articles that will feature some bird or bird characteristics with an application and challenge to principles from the Bible, with verses, that we should be applying to our lives.

Orni-Theology with Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

Also, each article that is of an Orni-Theology category will have this thumbnail attached. (Clicking the thumbnail will take you to the Orni-Theology page)

The Luzan Bleeding-heart above was chosen as our theme bird and I blended a cross with the photo. I can think of many illustrations just using that bird.

Wikipedia says, the Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica) is one of a number of species of ground dove in the genus Gallicolumba that are called “bleeding-hearts”. They get this name from a splash of vivid red colour at the centre of their white breasts. The Luzon Bleeding-heart is the species in which this feature is most pronounced, and on first sight it is hard to believe that the bird has not recently been wounded. A reddish hue that extends down the belly furthers the illusion of blood having run down the bird’s front.

The species is endemic to the island of Luzon, Philippines. They eat seeds, berries and grubs. They are shy and secretive, and very quiet, and rarely leave the ground except when nesting. Unlike the other bleeding-hearts, they usually lay two eggs in each clutch.

The article below by Landry mentions that when the birds display, that the male rushes toward the female, stops, lowers his tail and then “throws his breast upwards so that the vivid blood mark is fully presented frontally.” He then bows and coos.

The application this time has to do with its appearance and behavior. Oh, my, where should I begin?

when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; (Deuteronomy 8:14 NKJV)

That verse could indicate that pride was in control and not the Lord. We know that is not good.

These verses could indicate subjection to the Lord. We look to the Lord with our hearts lifted up, but bow in honor to Him.

My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart. (Psalms 7:10 NKJV)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. (Psalms 51:17 NKJV)

I am sure you could come up with many applications also and Luzan Bleeding-heart will most likely be revisited again.

(This is an idea of how these articles will try to honor our Lord’s Fantastically Created birds and challenge us with our own relationship to Him.)

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Birds of the Bible – Names of Birds Study Introduction

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  by AestheticPhotos

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by AestheticPhotos

There have been several articles here about the Names of the Birds. See:

Now we are going to look at the Names of the Birds from another angle. I received this comment on the Clean vs Unclean blog.

Lee, my search on the topic of clean and unclean birds led met to a Wikipedia article and I discovered that when you look at the Hebrew words (found in the Masoretic text) for the names of various unclean birds, they sound like descriptions, ex. “bone breaker”, “plunger”, “one who darts”, and even “vomiting”. So perhaps the reason we don’t have “clear rules” listed (something I’ve wondered for a long time) is because the traits and characteristics were there all along, but not knowing Hebrew, we had no idea. Anyway, check it out   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosher_animals#Birds

It is a very interesting article and will take some digging to discover some more insight into these birds and how they are named. If you have been following this blog, you know that it has been curious to me how the different versions of the Bible have given different names for the birds. Maybe we can solve some of those mysteries. It won’t be done in one article. That is for sure.

First let’s look at some highlights from the Wikipedia article (with editing).

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Great Horned Owl - Lowry Pk Zoo by Lee

Great Horned Owl – Lowry Pk Zoo by Lee

Birds

In regard to birds, no general rule is given, and instead Leviticus 11:13-19 and Deuteronomy 14:11-18 explicitly list the prohibited birds: The masoretic text lists the birds as:

  • nesher
  • peres (bone breaker)
  • ozniyah (feminine form of oz, meaning strong)
  • ra’ah ([that which] darts, in the sense of rapid)
  • ayyah
  • oreb
  • bat yaanah (daughter of howling)
  • tahmas ([one who] scratches the face)
  • shahaf ([one which] atrophies)
  • netz
  • kos (cup)
  • shalak (plunger)
  • yanshuf (twilight)
  • tinshemet (blower/breather)
  • qa’at (vomiting)
  • racham (tenderness/affection)
  • hasidah (devoted)
  • anafah ([one which] sniffs sharply, in the sense of anger)
  • dukifat
  • atalef

The list in Deuteronomy has an additional bird, the dayyah, which seems to be a combination of da’ah and ayyah, and may be a scribal error; the Talmud regards it as a duplication of ayyah. This, and the other terms are vague and difficult to translate, but there are a few further descriptions, of some of these birds, elsewhere in the Bible:

  • The ayyah is mentioned again in the Book of Job, where it is used to describe a bird distinguished by its particularly good sight.
  • The bat yaanah is described by the Book of Isaiah as living in desolate places, and the Book of Micah states that it emits a mournful cry
  • The qa’at appears in the Book of Zephaniah, where it is portrayed as nesting on the columns of a ruined city; the Book of Isaiah identifies it as possessing a marshy and desolate kingdom.
  • The septuagint versions of the lists are more helpful, as in almost all cases the bird is clearly identifiable:
Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo (Coccyzus pluvialis) ©WikiC

Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo (Coccyzus pluvialis) ©WikiC

  • aeton (eagle)
  • grypa (ossifrage)
  • haliaetos (sea-eagle)
  • gyps (vulture)
  • ictinia (kite)
  • corax (raven)
  • stouthios (ostrich)
  • glaux (owl)
  • laros (gull)
  • hierax (hawk)
  • nycticorax (night raven)
  • cataractes (cormorant)
  • porphyrion (“purple [thing]“)
  • cycnos (swan)
  • ibis
  • pelican
  • charadrios (plover)
  • herodios (heron)
  • epops (hoopoe)
  • nycturia (bat)
  • meleagris (guineafowl)

Although the first ten of the birds identified by the Septuagint seem to fit the descriptions of the masoretic text, the ossifrage (Latin for bone breaker) being a good example, the correspondence is less clear for most of the remaining birds; it is also obvious that the list in Leviticus, or the list in Deuteronomy, or both, are in a different order in the Septuagint, compared to the masoretic text. Attempting to determine the correspondence is problematic; for example, the pelican may correspond to qa’at (vomiting), in reference to the pelican’s characteristic behaviour, but it may also correspond to kos (cup), as a reference to the pelican’s jaw pouch. An additional complexity arises from the fact that the porphyrion has not yet been identified, and classical Greek literature merely identifies a number of species that are not the porphyrion, including the peacock, grouse, and robin, and implies that the porphyrion is the cousin of the kingfisher; from these meagre clarifications, the porphyrion can only be identified as anything from the Lilac-breasted Roller, Indian Roller, or Northern Carmine Bee-eater, to the flamingo.

During the Middle Ages, classical descriptions of the hoopoe were mistaken for descriptions of the lapwing, on account of the lapwing’s prominent crest, and the hoopoe’s rarity in England, resulting in lapwing being listed in certain bible translations instead of hoopoe; similarly the sea eagle has historically been confused with the osprey, and translations have often used the latter bird in place of the former. Because strouthos (ostrich) was also used in Greek for the sparrow, a few translations have placed the sparrow among the list. In Arabic, the Egyptian Vulture is often referred to as rachami, and therefore a number of translations render racham as gier eagle, the old name for the Egyptian Vulture.

Variations arise when translations follow other ancient versions of the Bible, rather than the Septuagint, where they differ. Rather than vulture (gyps), the Vulgate has milvus, meaning Red Kite, which historically has been called the glede, on account of its gliding flight; similarly, the Syriac Peshitta has owl rather than ibis. Other variations arise from attempting to base translations primarily on the masoretic text; these translations generally interpret some of the more ambiguous birds as being various different kinds of vulture and owl. All of these variations mean that most translations arrive at a list of 20 birds from among the following (links are to articles already written here):

Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) by Bob-Nan

Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) by Bob-Nan

The fruit bat, a frugivorous vegetarian species of bat, eating some fruit

Despite being listed among the birds by the bible, bats are not birds, and are in fact mammals. Most of the remaining animals on the list are either birds of prey or birds living on water, and the majority of the latter in the list also eat fish or other seafood. The Septuagint’s version of the list comprehensively lists most of the birds of Canaan that fall into these categories. The conclusion of modern scholars is that, generally, ritually unclean birds were those clearly observed to eat other animals.

Although it does regard all birds of prey as being forbidden, the Talmud is uncertain of there being a general rule, and instead gives detailed descriptions of the features that distinguish a bird as being ritually clean. The Talmud argues that clean birds would have craws, an easily separated double-skin, and would eat food by placing it on the ground (rather than holding it on the ground) and tearing it with their bills before eating it; however, the Talmud also argues that only the birds in the biblical list are actually forbidden – these distinguishing features were only for cases when there was any uncertainty in the bird’s identity

Origin

The earliest rationalistic explanations of the laws against eating certain birds focused on symbolic interpretations; the first indication of this view can be found in the 1st century BC Letter of Aristeas, which argues that this prohibition is a lesson to teach justice, and is also about not injuring others. Such allegorical explanations were abandoned by most Jewish and Christian theologians after a few centuries, and later writers instead sought to find medical explanations for the rules; Nachmanides, for example, claimed that the black and thickened blood of birds of prey would cause psychological damage, making people much more inclined to cruelty.

However, other cultures treated the meat of certain carnivorous birds as having medical benefits, the Romans viewing Owl meat as being able to ease the pain of insect bites, for example; conversely, modern scientific studies have discovered very toxic birds such as the Pitohui, which are neither birds of prey nor water birds, and therefore the biblical regulations allow them to be eaten. Laws against eating any carnivorous birds also existed in Vedic India and Harran, and the Egyptian priests also refused to eat carnivorous birds.

Modern practical considerations

Due to the difficulty of identification, religious authorities have restricted consumption to specific birds for which Jews have passed down a tradition or permissibility from generation to generation. Birds for whom there has been a tradition of their being kosher include: the sparrow, pigeon, turtle dove, quail, the European and Middle Eastern partridges, the pheasant, ducks, geese, chickens, guineafowl among others. As a general principle, scavenging birds such as vultures and birds of prey such as hawks and eagles (which eat carrion when they find it) are not kosher. Turkey does not have a tradition, but because so many Orthodox Jews have come to eat it and it possesses the simanim (signs) required to render it a kosher bird, an exception is made, but with all other birds a Mesorah (tradition) is required.

Birds such as songbirds, which are consumed as delicacies in many societies, may be kosher in theory, but are not eaten in kosher homes as there is no tradition of them being eaten as such. Pigeons and doves are known to be kosher based on their permissible status as sacrificial offerings in the Temple. Likewise, though swans are kosher in theory if kosher-slaughtered, there is no Jewish tradition of eating them. (from Wikipedia)

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Second,  Study is not necessarily a weariness as Ecclesiastes 12:12 says,

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (KJV)

but we should study and even enjoy digging into God’s Word.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

I am going to use my e-Sword program. If you have not used it, it is free and very useful. It has the KJV+ as part of it and it list the Greek and Hebrew words with their definitions. Will you join me in studying about the bird names in the languages of the Bible. Join me as we look at these words and compare them to the birds. Don’t let those weird-looking words scare you. You might find that learning to study about birds, might help you carry the method into studying more of God Word.

Look for future articles in this series.

P.S. A Lilac-breasted Roller is new to me. I can’t wait to find out the connection there.
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Birds of the Bible

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Introduction to Birds of the Bible For Kids

American Yellow Warbler (Dendroica aestiva) singing by J Fenton

American Yellow Warbler (Dendroica aestiva) singing by J Fenton

We just opened this site up today. It is in the beginning and we will be adding many things about the birds in the Bible and other birds that are not named in the Bible, but the Lord made all the birds.

On Day Five (5) of creation, the birds were created. They didn’t just happen. They were designed by God and each one is different. Each one was given just what it needs to live, eat, and make more birds.

Genesis 1:20-23 NKJV
(20) Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”
(21) So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
(22) And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
(23) So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

I know there are some big words in those verses, but the bold letters help find important words.

Did you see the “let birds multiply”? That doesn’t mean they do math. It means that they were to have baby birds, then the baby could grow up and have more baby birds. Then there would be lots of birds.

We will be telling you more soon. Come back and find out about the many birds in the bible.

See:

Bible Birds

Wordless Birds

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What you just read is the first Bible Birds article for the Birds of the Bible For Kids blog that I just released just a few minutes ago. I have wanted to have a “Kids” blog since day one of this one, but it just didn’t happen. I even reserved the site for it four years ago when Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus was started here on WordPress. (It is now in the Kid’s Section of the main blog)

As the idea to add the Bible Birds articles grew. I even placed a page there for it, but then pulled it back. The children, kids, or young people need their own site with links for them.

After talking to many of our Sunday School teachers, school teachers, and kids workers (young and retired), I launched this new website. Some of those people have offered suggestions and some are actually going to write some articles for it. Mr. Baron (aka Golden Eagle) has agreed to help. He is a Christian school teacher and teaches the Bible and science. Enjoys teaching about creation and is a enthusiastic beginning birdwatcher. I will introduce more as they write their articles and stories.

All of this has been said so that you will know that the new site will have the same standard as this one does. It is Birdwatching From A Christian Perspective. We trust you will let your children and young people enjoy the new site knowing that we will not present anything contrary to Scripture. We believe God’s Word is the Final Authority in our lives and about our lives. Also, as parents or grand-parents, that you will stop by to find something to share with your “kids” or “grand-kids.”

Thank you to all who have been coming to this site. Your visits are appreciated and hope that we are giving you articles worth your time reading and thinking about. May you enjoy learning about and seeing many of the fantastically created birds that the Lord made.

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31 KJV)

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(Updated – 10-5-14)

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Introduction

Red-capped Robin

Red-capped Robin by Birdway

Ian Montgomery of Birdway’s Birds of the World Website, who has been one of the photographers used throughout this blog, has given me permission for a new series of articles. Ian lives in Australia and is a fantastic photographer. On his website he “invites you to enjoy the beauty and fascination of wild birds with his photos of more than 1,200 species from Australia and around the World.” As of a few days ago, the “site contains more than 4,600 photos of 1,218 bird species in the wild; 581 of these are on the main Australian list of Christidis & Boles, 2008.” There is much to discover on the Birdway Website.

Every week Birdway sends out a newsletter with a Bird of the Week. The newsletters have interesting information about the bird being featured and several photos of that bird. With his permission, the Bird of the Week will be featured here, with some additions of my own at the bottom. We trust you will enjoy learning about and seeing some birds that many of us here in America do not have the privilege to see.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. (Job 12:7 NASB)

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo by Ian

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo by Ian

That is one of my favorite “bird verses.” I enjoy learning about the wonderful birds and critters that have been created. When I see their beauty and behavior, and their bad sides also, there are lessons to learn. Let’s see what we can learn through observing the different “Birds of the Week.”

I can’t say that I will only do one a week, because he has been producing the newsletter for some time. I will have a hard time picking from the past ones. I just may have to double-up.

Please visit his website – Birdway’s Birds of the World
Also, to sign up for his newsletter – CLICK HERE

Thanks you, Ian, for this privilege.

See the first Bird of the Week – White-browed Babbler