Busy Hummingbirds, Oblivious to Spectators

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) by Michael Woodruff

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) by Michael Woodruff

Busy Hummingbirds, Oblivious to Spectators

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

As the cooling days of September fall from the calendar, like the abscission of colorful autumn leaves, the shelf-life of flower nectar nears its expiry date.  For just a few more days, the nectar pantries of bright-hued flowers are “open for business”, ready to feed the voracious appetites of neighborhood hummingbirds  —  those petite, iridescence-sparkled, blurry-winged wonders with super-sized metabolic fuel needs.  Floral nectar is a sweet resource!  Yet, as winter approaches, such fly-by “fast-food” opportunities cannot be taken for granted, especially if one is an energy-craving hummingbird.

 

Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei) by Reinier Munguia

Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei) by Reinier Munguia

Hummingbirds are famous for their (males’) jewel-like throats, their hovering and multi-directional flying, and their ability to change directions   —  stop, go, up, down, left, right, backward, forward, — using high-speed wings that whip figure-eight patterns faster than human eyes can follow, producing a humming sound (that explains their name) that almost sounds like a contented cat purring.   Hummingbirds, due to their speedy, darting movements, and their iridescent green colors, attract the eye.  So you see them  –  zip!  –  then you don’t.  Zip!  –  then you see them again.   The summer range of hummingbirds (such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris) is broad enough that most of us have seen hummingbirds, though it is unlikely that we ever see one relaxing!  No time to relax  —  their needle-like bills must sip up nectar where and when it is available!

Volcano Hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula) by Ian

Volcano Hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula) by Ian

The business of a hummingbird’s life is so intense, so metabolically demanding, that slurping up available nectar is a lifestyle priority, requiring dietary focus and persistence:  “Get nectar, get more nectar, get even more nectar!  Hurry, hurry, hurry!”  Sugar substitutes are unacceptable for hummingbirds – they must have real sugar to thrive.  See Elizabeth Mitchell, Our Creator’s Sweet Design for Hummingbird Taste, with a link (in its Footnote #1) to video footage of hummingbird sugar consumption.  (Obviously hummingbirds are a living exhibit that refutes “natural selection” mythology  —  see Frank Sherwin, Hummingbirds at ICR”, Acts & Facts, 35(9), September 2006 issue.

What an enormous appetite for such a miniature bird!  The calories consumed and burned by hummingbirds, on a boy weight ratio, are comparable to a human eating more than a 1000 hamburgers every day, as body fuel needed for a day’s normal activities!  (See Denis Dreves, The Hummingbird:  God’s Tiny Miracle, subtitled “If you operated at this bird’s energy level, you would burst into flames!”.

It is no surprise, therefore, that a hungry hummingbird hovered by brilliant vermillion flowers, in a garden spot I casually visited, as he (or she) slurped up nectar from one flower, then another flower, then another, — without any (apparent) concern for my physical presence or proximity, only a few steps from him (or her).  Why was the buzzing hummer oblivious of me, the birdwatcher so close by?

The hungry hummer was too preoccupied with the pressing business of life, to notice me, a quiet spectator.  What a privilege it was, to watch – for a long time, actually – this sparkling-in-the-sunlight hummingbird, darting among the bright flowers.

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Yet are not our own lives, at least somewhat, like that busy hummingbird?  Are we not – day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, moment by moment – preoccupied with the ever-pressing business of life, darting here-and-there, from this task to the next one, such that we often ignore the spectators, those watching eyes who observe and appreciate our lives – those who (hopefully) see God’s beauty and wisdom imaged in our own attitudes and actions?

Yes, we have audiences we should not be oblivious of.  As we live the moments of our fast-paced lives we should not forget three audiences, who watch us much more than we consciously realize.

First, there are many curious humans who watch our busy lives, especially those who are younger than us.  What kind of role-models are we?  Hopefully our Christian lives are like the Thessalonian believers whom Paul commended as examples to all of the believers in Macedonia and Greece (1st Thessalonians 1:7).  Who is watching us? Who is listening?  Who is evaluating the message(s) of our lives, comparing our “walk” to our “talk”?  Do our lives “shine” as God’s testifying “lights” (Matthew 5:16), such that our good deeds prompt spectators to glorify God our Heavenly Father?

Black-chinnedHummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) by S Slayton

Black-chinnedHummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) by S Slayton

Second, there are non-human spectators watching our lives:  angels!   Angels learn from watching the “spectacle” of human lives (1st Corinthians 4:9 & 11:10).  Indeed, the effect of God’s gospel of grace, in the earthly lives of redeemed humans, is something that angels can only learn about as spectators (1st Peter 1:12, since redemption is never experienced by angels.

Yet the most important audience we have, always, is the Lord Himself  (Jehovah-jireh, the God Who is and sees).  Our primary audience, always, is our omniscient and omnipresent Creator-God.  It is our wonderful Maker Who watches every sparrow’s avian lifespan, and we are of much greater value to God than the lives of many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 12:7).  As the Lord Jesus Christ’s vicarious death and resurrection has peremptorily proved, for all time and eternity, we are God’s favorite creatures.  God is caringly concerned with every detail of our busy lives (from creation to ultimate redemption), so let us not be oblivious to our most important Audience.  Do we live our earthly lives as ingrates, ignoring Him and His Word?  Or do we live life appreciative of Him and His Word, grateful that He created us and provided us with redemption in Christ?

Accordingly, with these three audiences in mind, as spectators of our busy lives, let us consider the prophet Ezekiel’s serious question (Ezekiel 33:10):  “how should we then live?”

By James J. S. Johnson

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More Orni-Theology

Changed From the Inside Out

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Sunday Inspiration – Crown Birds

White-crowned Sparrow ©WikiC

White-crowned Sparrow ©WikiC

but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31 NKJV)

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV)

And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. (1 John 3:23 NKJV)

Trust you will enjoy many of the Lord’s Birds that have crowns. Many more could have been added, but this is a fair sampling.

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“All Hail The Power of Jesus Name” – Faith Baptist Orchestra

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More Sunday Inspirations

Faith Baptist Church

Gospel Presentation

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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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Birds of the Bible – Mighty Hand of God

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan at Zoo Miami

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan at Zoo Miami

O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? (Deuteronomy 3:24 NKJV)

What a beautiful duck. When we look around us, the Lord’s Hand is at work everywhere. Be thankful today for the Lord’s Blessing.

Brown-headed Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica) by Nikhil Devasar

Hang in there, today!

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalms 34:8 KJV)

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Birds of the Bible

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Sunday Inspiration – Easter

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Alleluia!

HE IS RISEN!

1 Corinthians 15:12-22 KJV

(12) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(13) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
(14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
(15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
(16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
(17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
(18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
(19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
(20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
(21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
(22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Christmas and Easter are the most important times of remembrance for those of us who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. I made that decision 54 years ago and it has changed my life.

At Christmas we are reminded that the Creator of all these birds we write about, gave up His seat beside the Father and came to earth to take on human flesh. Perfect sinless human flesh.

Now Today, Easter, we remember and celebrate. We remember that He gave His life to die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We know the story of Him hanging on the cross, and crying out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
(Matthew 27:46 NKJV)

It is better to call today Resurrection Sunday. The Lord Jesus Christ did not stay dead in the tomb, but He AROSE! If He can create this world and all that is in it, does He not have the power to Come Forth From The Grave.

Do you know Him? Have you ever repented and accepted Him as your Savior?

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. (John 3:16 KJV)

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Music by Sean Fielder

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Faith Baptist Orchestra playing at the Easter Service in 2012

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More Sunday Inspiration

Gospel Presentation (narrated by our Pastor Osborne and music by Sean Fielder)

Gideon

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Golden Eagle – Eagle’s Eyesight

Bald Eagle (close up) LP Zoo by Dan

Bald Eagle (close up) LP Zoo by Dan

Hello boys and girls again! This is the Golden Eagle!

Did you know that eagles have very keen (excellent) eyesight ? We can see prey at great distances! I would say that we are one of the TOP birds!

Listen to this Bible verse:

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. (Revelation 4:7)

Golden Eagle ©PD

Golden Eagle ©PD

The word “beast” comes from a Greek word, zoon, and it means living creatures.

You are familiar with the word zoo, zoology-the study of animals.

  • The lion is the king of the beast! Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah! The lion represents the beasts of the earth.
  • The calf or ox represents the cattle!
  • The eagle represents the fowl or birds of the air!
  • And man is God’s greatest creation created on day number six of creation week!

The Bible is full of amazing truths! These living creatures are part of the angelic creation! They live in the very presence of God and they are full of life!

In fact, God through His Son Jesus Christ has given us everything necessary for life. Life does not end at death. Even science teaches us today that matter and energy go through changes, but they do not disappear!

Well, your soul and spirit are eternal, you will live forever somewhere! The very best place to go is God’s Heaven! Make sure that you are saved! If you do not understand what salvation is all about, begin to read the Gospel of John in the New Testament! It was written so that you would believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and in so doing that you would trust Jesus to save your soul!

God created this vast, material Universe and He has a plan for ALL of it, even the material stuff! One day we will fly higher than any eagle has ever flown! I hope that you enjoy being alive! If you are having a difficult time with life contact us and we will try to help and encourage you by sharing God’s Word with you and pointing you to the Lord Jesus Christ!

By for now!

The Golden Eagle

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Golden Eagle

Wordless Book

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Hidden-in-Plain-View Lesson from a Motmot: by James J. S. Johnson

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) perching from JJSJ

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) perching from JJSJ

Hidden-in-Plain-View Lesson from a Motmot: 

God’s Beauty Outshines Human Ugliness

by James J. S. Johnson

The turquoise-browed motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) is an amazingly beautiful bird that few will see in the wild.  That kingfisher-like bird is a living testimony of God’s beauty and care.  Yet what a contrast that bird is to some of the ugliness sinful mankind has soiled this weary world with.  Consider the following as an illustration of this bittersweet contrast.

Consider the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. At the top of the Temple of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza, human sacrifices took place. A stone knife was used to slice open the victim’s chest cavity, the heart was pulled out, held up as a sacrifice to the sun god while it was still beating, the head was severed, and the body tumbled down the stairs. Once the bloody bodies reached the bottom of the stairs, they were often eaten. Is it any wonder that the Mayas had problems with plagues, dying of diseases by the thousands?  (Providentially, God used Spanish conquistadors, such as Hernando Cortez, to abolish this genocidal holocaust.)

Also, there is a sinkhole located north of the Mayan Temple of Kukulcan, which is called the Sacred Cenote, or “Well of Sacrifice,” where they would toss people in to die by drowning in the murky water, and then the spectators would drink the water.  Some of the walls, not far from the temple and the cenote, exhibit rows upon rows (comparable to courses of bricks laid by bricklayers) of skull carvings (called “tzompantli”). The facial shape and expression of each skull carving is different—not just one generic skull model. Perhaps the sculptors were probably looking at different skulls when they carved them. Hundreds, even thousands of humans were sacrificed by the Mayas of the Yucatan and their neighbors. Similar holocausts were committed by the Aztecs of Central Mexico, where human sacrifices were processed in the Nahuatl language.

Fallen humanity, if unrestrained by the gospel and redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a very ugly and cruel thing to see. Instead of seeing God’s traits of kindness, goodness, intelligence, the exact opposite is seen. In this Chichen Itza is no different than many other cultures, including the humanistic (human-preoccupied) cultures of our modern world. Humans have ignored God’s prior judgments and will continue to do so. God provides a witness; He provides an opportunity of deliverance through His grace, but many reject it.

But there is a brighter side to all of this:  God never leaves Himself without a witness (or a remnant).

Ironically, Chichen Itza displays not only God’s wrath (which is displayed by how God historically gave the bloodthirsty Mayas over to their own sinfulness), but also, if you look carefully, there is an avian exhibit of God’s love of beauty, even there: the turquoise-browed motmot which inhabits this region of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)-closeup from JJSJ

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa)-closeup from JJSJ

Specifically, if you walk northward from Kukulcan’s temple to the cenote (sacrifice sink-hole), there is a forest edge on the west side of the pathway, just before you arrive at the cenote, and in the large tree there (at that forest edge), creation scientists (Dr. Jan Mercer and this author) have observed turquoise-browed motmots perched in plain sight of those who walk by.  Here you can see two “pipe-cleaner” extensions of the tail, both with a colorful “brush” or “fan” on the end of those long tail feathers. What a beautiful bird!—a witness of God’s beauty in a place that was loaded with cruelty.

Unlike the colorful racquet-tailed turquoise-browed motmot, the Mayan handiwork at Chichen Itza was mostly a glorification of vile death, wretched idolatry, and ugly cruelty.  Tragically, for many generations, there, God’s truth was rejected, and idolatry prevailed.  The result is they “changed the truth of God into a lie” (Romans 1:25). What does God do with those who reject His Creatorship, according to Romans chapter one?  God punishes them with a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28), something like spiritual insanity. The “reprobate mind” judgment does not wait until the next life; it is imposed in this earthly life! One of the severest punishments that God ever imposes, unto those who reject the witness of His Creatorship and His glory, is that He gives people over to their love-of-the-lie wickedness.  (Romans 1:24).

Interestingly, the verb (in Romans 1:24) is an aorist verb, meaning the action is viewed as an event, as if it happened in a moment. It doesn’t mean it literally happened in just a split second, but it means it is being viewed as one action or one unit. There was a specific time when someone had rejected so much God-provided truth, inexcusably, that God said, “That’s it. I’m giving you over.” It’s a scary thing when God pulls back His restraints and mankind is allowed to just live out the selfish ugliness that is in the human heart.

When we reflect upon the season of Christmas, which we should do (suspending our distractions long enough to recall the Reason for this season), we should appreciate that God sent Christ to save a race of helplessly wretched sinners, Adam’s fallen race,   —  us  —  from the ugliness of self-proud and self-deluded ungodliness.  Yes, we all desperately need a Savior, Jesus Christ the righteous.  It is our Lord Jesus Christ – the Reason for the (CHRISTmas) season  —  Who is the author and finisher of everything that is truly beautiful in our lives.  God loves beauty, but our ungodliness is ugly.  So only God can (and does, if we avail ourselves to Him) salvage and remediate us from ugliness, both here and hereafter.  What a generous and gracious Kinsman-Redeemer Jesus is!

So even at Chichen Itza, a monument to human ugliness, we have the turquoise-browed motmot! —a wonderful witness of God’s shining beauty and love of life.   ><> JJSJ

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) ©WikiC

Turquoise-browed Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) ©WikiC

(Adapted from James J. S. Johnson, “Turquoise-browed Motmot at Chichen Itza: Contrasting God’s Beauty with Mayan Ugliness”, Norfolk Heritage Review, June 1999; © AD1999 James J. S. Johnson)

See:

Other articles by James J. S. Johnson

Motmot Family – Momotidae – Motmots

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New Testament Thanksgiving – 2013

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) by Dario Sanches

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) by Dario Sanches

New Testament

And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. (Matthew 15:36 KJV)

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Phil Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Phil Kwong

And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. (John 6:11 KJV)

Great Blue Heron with Catfish at Circle B by Lee - cropped

Great Blue Heron with Catfish at Circle B by Lee – cropped

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (Romans 14:6 KJV)

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV)

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii) ©WikiC

Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii) ©WikiC

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

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17 KJV)

Crested Coua (Coua cristata) by Lee LPZ

Crested Coua (Coua cristata) by Lee LPZ

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by Margaret Sloan

Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) by Margaret Sloan

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15 KJV)

Crested Berrypecker (Paramythia montium) ©WikiC

Crested Berrypecker (Paramythia montium) ©WikiC

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Birdwatching – Anting

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) Anting ©WikiC

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) Anting ©WikiC

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? (Luk 12:24 NKJV)

“For animals in the wild, the medicine cabinet seems at first glance to be pretty bare, and you might think they’re just left out in the cold when it comes to finding remedies. But even with the fallen nature of our world, the Creator hasn’t left untamed creatures, like the ravens that neither sow nor reap (Luke 12:24), defenseless against all the things that ail them. In fact, He’s stocked their “closets” with a cornucopia of cures.” (From Jungle Doctors)

One of those cures is the birds “Anting” behaviour.

Anting (Excerpts from The Birder’s Handbook, p.487)

“Many different songbird species have been observed picking up single ants or small groups and rubbing them on their feathers. Less commonly, other songbirds “ant” by spreading their wings and lying on an anthill, and squirming or otherwise stimulating the ants to swarm up among their feathers.

Because the seasonal timing of anting and molting (spring and summer) often correspond, some have suggested that anting may soothe the skin during feather replacement. It seems more likely that the seasonal relationship simply reflects the greater activity of ants during those periods.”

Anting (Excerpts from Wikipedia)

In the behavior called anting, birds rub insects on their feathers, usually ants, which secrete liquids containing chemicals such as formic acid, that can act as an insecticide, miticide, fungicide, bactericide, or to make them edible by removing the distasteful acid. It possibly also supplements the bird’s own preen oil. Instead of ants, birds can also use millipedes. Over 250 species of bird have been known to ant. Most of those are Passerines.

Many theories exits as to why the birds “ant.”

It has been suggested that anting acts as way of reducing feather parasites such as mites or in controlling fungi or bacteria, although there has been little convincing support for any of the theories. It is possible that the use of certain kinds of ants indicates the importance of the chemicals they release. Some cases of anting involved the use of millipedes or caterpillars, and these too are known to release powerful defensive chemicals.

Another suggested function, based on observation of Blue Jays, is that the bird makes the insects edible, by discharging the harmful acid onto their feathers. The birds were found to show anting behaviour only if the ants had a full acid sac, and with subjects whose acid sacs had been experimentally removed, the behaviour was absent.

Finally, it has also been suggested that anting is related to feather moulting. However, the correlation may also be attributed to the greater activity of ants in summer.

Dusting with soil from ant-hills has been considered by some as equivalent to anting.

Some birds like Antbirds and Flickers not only ant, but also consume the ants as an important part of their diet. Other opportunist ant-eating birds include Sparrows, Wrens, Grouse and Starlings.

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Anting (Excerpts from Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, pps 19-20)

“John James Audubon published the first known reference to this habit in his Ornithological Biography (1831), in which he wrote of watching wild turkeys roll in ants’ nests ‘to clear their growing feathers of loose scales, and prevent ticks and other vermin from attacking them, these insects being unable to bear the odor of the earth in which ants have been.’ “

Here are some of the birds listed in this section:

The turkeys mentioned, plus “crows; starlings and Indian mynas, magpie lark, gray thrush, Pekin robin, house sparrow, manakin and apostlebird in Australia; a Magpie in Britain; Grackles, Blue Jay, pekin robin, gray catbird, American robin, wood thrush, hermit thrush, veery, cedar waxwing, bobolink, Baltimore oriole, cardinal, rose-breasted grosbeak, black-headed grosbeak, indigo bunting, dark-eyed junco, Harris’ sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, fox sparrow, and song sparrow in America”;

“Others seen in the wild anting are: scarlet tanagers, summer tanagers, towhees…, others.” (Lack off capitalization is from the book)

Lee’s Additon:

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

It appears that the birds were given instincts or knowledge, by their Creator, to protect themselves from pests and irritation. That would be a possible answer they might give us, if we were to question them. If these birds evolved, then it appears that they had to develop this habit in each country and area where the birds “ant.” Huh? As for me, I opt for a Creator giving them that knowledge rather than a chance behaviour happening in so many places.

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See:

Anting – Wikipedia

Jungle Doctors (Scroll down to “Rubbing It In”) – Answers in Genesis

Birdwatching

Birds of the Bible

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Birds Of The Bible – Clinging Birds

Pileated Woodpecker by Lee

Pileated Woodpecker at Circle B by Lee

But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. (Joshua 23:8 NASB)

While finishing the last two chapters of Joshua, I came across the verse above. I immediately pictured a Woodpecker “clinging” to a tree. Then the following picture also came to mind. What can we learn about our “clinging birds” and us “clinging to the Lord”?

Brown-headed Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica) by Nikhil Devasar

Brown-headed Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica) by Nikhil Devasar

Woodpeckers were created with an ability to cling to trees with the help of the way the toes are arranged on their feet. They also use their stiffened tail feathers to keep them on the tree.”Woodpeckers, piculets and wrynecks all possess zygodactyl feet. Zygodactyl feet consist of four toes, the first (hallux) and the fourth facing backward and the second and third facing forward. This foot arrangement is good for grasping the limbs and trunks of trees. Members of this family can walk vertically up a tree trunk, which is beneficial for activities such as foraging for food or nest excavation. In addition to the strong claws and feet, woodpeckers have short strong legs. This is typical of birds that regularly forage on trunks. The tails of all woodpeckers except the piculets and wrynecks are stiffened, and when the bird perches on vertical surfaces, the tail and feet work together to support it.” (Wikipedia)

Bird Feet ©WikiC

Bird Feet ©WikiC

The following video from explorationfilm has information about the feet and tail of Woodpeckers at the beginning. The rest of the video is very interesting also.

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Other birds also, like the Barbets can do some clinging also. “Nine families of largely arboreal birds make up the order Piciformes, the best-known of them being the Picidae, which includes the woodpeckers and close relatives. The Piciformes contain about 67 living genera with a little over 400 species, of which the Picidae (woodpeckers and relatives) make up about half.

In general, the Piciformes are insectivorous, although the barbets and toucans mostly eat fruit and the honeyguides are unique among birds in being able to digest beeswax (although insects make up the bulk of their diet). Nearly all Piciformes have parrot-like zygodactyl feet—two toes forward and two back, an arrangement that has obvious advantages for birds that spend much of their time on tree trunks. An exception are a few species of three-toed woodpeckers. The jacamars aside, Piciformes do not have down feathers at any age, only true feathers. They range in size from the Rufous Piculet at 8 centimetres in length, and weighing 7 grams, to the Toco Toucan, at 63 centimetres long, and weighing 680 grams. All nest in cavities and have altricial young.” (Wikipedia)

Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla) ©WikiC

Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla) ©WikiC

Another group of birds that “cling” are the Tree Creepers. Treecreepers measure from 12 to 18 centimetres in length. Their bills are gently down-curved and rather long, used for probing bark for insects and spiders. They often climb up tree trunks in a helical path, hopping with their feet together; their toes are long and tipped with strongly curved claws for gripping. The longer tails of the Certhia treecreepers are stiffened to use as a prop while climbing, but those of the Spotted Creeper are shorter and not stiffened. Their songs and calls are thin and high-pitched.

Most species of treecreeper occur in the Palearctic and Indomalaya ecozones, from Western Europe to Japan and India. One species occurs in North America from Alaska to Nicaragua and another has a discontinuous distribution in sub-Saharan Africa and India. All species of treecreeper are found in forest and woodland habitats. The more northerly species are partly migratory, and those found in warmer climates are thought to be resident, although information is lacking for many species.

Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) ©WikiC

Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) ©WikiC

One more well-known bird that clings to trees is the Nuthatch. Not only does he cling, but goes up and down the trees head first. Nuthatches are compact birds with short legs, compressed wings, and square 12-feathered tails. They have long, sturdy, pointed bills and strong toes with long claws.

We know birds can cling, how about us? When I searched the KJV on my e-Sword, the word “cling” did not show up in any verses. Switching to the NASB, which I had been reading, “cling” was found in fourteen (14) verses. Here are some of them:

You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. “He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. (Deuteronomy 10:20-21 NASB)

Blond-crested Woodpecker (Celeus flavescens) ©WikiC

Blond-crested Woodpecker (Celeus flavescens) ©WikiC

You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. (Deuteronomy 13:4 NASB)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) Red-shafted ©WikiC

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) Red-shafted ©WikiC

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart. (Psalms 119:30-32 NASB)

White-barred Piculet (Picumnus cirratus) ©©LeeKip

White-barred Piculet (Picumnus cirratus) ©©LeeKip

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
(Romans 12:9-10 NASB)

These are all great ways we can CLING to the Lord.

The word cling is translated several ways in our original verse:

But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. (Joshua 23:8 NASB)

KJV – But cleave unto the LORD your God
AKJV – But hold to the LORD your God
BBE – But be true to the Lord your God
Bishops – But sticke fast vnto the Lorde your God,
CEV – Be as faithful to the LORD
ERV – You must continue to follow the LORD your God
GW – But you must be loyal to the LORD your God
MSG – Hold tight to GOD, your God
NET – But you must be loyal to the LORD your God

KJV+ – But cleave H1692
H1692
דּבק
dâbaq
daw-bak’
A primitive root; properly to impinge, that is, cling or adhere; figuratively to catch by pursuit: – abide, fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard, after), be joined (together), keep (fast), overtake, pursue hard, stick, take.

They are all good words and may we learn to “cling” to our Lord, just as the birds “cling” to the trees.

“But ask the animals — they will teach you — and the birds in the air — they will tell you; (Job 12:7 CJB)

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalms 34:8 KJV)

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See also:

Birds of the Bible

PICIFORMES – Woodpeckers and Allies

Picidae (woodpeckers and relatives)

Certhiidae – Treecreepers

Sittidae – Nuthatches

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Our 50th Anniversary Today

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) and Dan

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) and Dan

Today, Dan and I are celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary or our Golden Anniversary. It is hard to believe that is was 50 years ago that we began our journey through life together. On July 26, 1963 we said our “I do”s and now here we are on July 26, 2013 enjoying this day together. Praise the Lord for His grace and guidance over the years.

Our pastor asked Dan yesterday how it feels to be married fifty years? Dan told him, “My grandfather told me while going through the reception line at our wedding, ‘Son, your first 50 years will be the hardest. The rest is easy’.”

We were both Christians when we got married and have tried to keep the Lord at the head over the years. He has blessed us beyond measure even though at times He slipped from the Number One position because of our attitudes. If you were to ask how do you stay married and in love for these many years, then the Lord is the answer.

On our 25th Anniversary, my sister sent a poem to us, that I would like to share:

Marriage Takes 3

I once

thought marriage 

took just two to make a

go but now I am convinced

it takes the Lord also. And

not one marriage fails where

Christ is asked to enter as

lovers come together with Jesus

at the center. But marriage seldom thrives

and homes are incomplete till He

is welcomed there to help avoid

defeat. In homes where God

is first it’s obvious to see

those unions really work

For marriage still

takes three.

(Perry Tanksley)

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And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6 KJV)

We have always had many common interest. Number one, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our current other interest is our birdwatching activities which readers of this blog are familiar with. Dan is the photographer, who takes the good pictures, and I attempt to write about our adventures.

Lee - Taken by Dan

Lee – Taken 6/27/13

Praise the Lord for 50 years with my two best friends, the Lord and Dan.

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Gospel Message

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Birds of the Bible – Remembering

Bleeding-Heart Pigeon ©WikiC

Bleeding-Heart Pigeon ©WikiC

And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; (Genesis 8:1 KJV)

Today, here in the United States, is Memorial Day. A day when we remember those who have given their all in the service of our country. We honor those who we can no longer thank. As this is being written, they are laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Arlington National Cemetary.

My father was one of those who passed away as a result of his being in the trenches in WW I. He suffered for several years from the effects of the “mustard gas” that was sprayed on them. It is good for us to remember things and honor events.

Yesterday, in the morning service, the event of the 12 stones being taken for the Jordon River by the Israelites for a memorial was taught. That was a memorial to remind them of the way the LORD protected them and made a way for them to cross over the Jordon. It is good to remember things and honor events.

And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. (Joshua 4:5-7 KJV)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Quy Tran

Our Scripture above is where the God remembered those He was protecting from the flood that were aboard the ark. He did not forget them. In time, the waters went down and they were able to leave the ark.

And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried. Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 8:13-17 NKJV)

It does us good to remember what the God has done through His creation and protection during the flood. Just as He provided salvation for them from the flood, and only those in the ark were saved. Today, we have a Savior who said:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV)

Bald Eagle Brings Nesting Material by Aesthetic Photos

Bald Eagle Brings Nesting Material by Aesthetic Photos

Happy Memorial Day! Lord Bless your day as you remember.

See:

Gospel Message

Birds of the Bible

Bible Birds

P.S. Check out this article:

‘Sarge, Will You Tell Us About God?’ – The Story of God’s Miraculous Protection of an Entire U. S. Marine Unit, From A Walk In The Word

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