Tickle Me Tuesday – Birds and Ice

Geese on Ice ©Pixabay

Geese on Ice ©Pixabay

He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? (Psalms 147:17KJV)”From the breath of God ice is made, And the expanse of the waters is frozen. (Job 37:10 NASB)

Still laughing as I am typing this blog. Remembered a video several years back of birds landing on ice. I found it and two more. Trust you enjoy them and get a good chuckle for the day.

Landing on Ice

Penguin slips and falls – makes a funny sound

Penguins on an iceberg (funny)

 

On a more serious note, I found this article about how birds can die from the ice. It can trap them or cause them to not be able to take off.

Not Spring-like Yet – Ducks and the Ice, Oh My!

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More Tickle Me Tuesdays:

Tickle Me Tuesday – For the Birds

Tickle Me Tuesday – Bird of Paradise

Tickle Me Tuesday – Top Funny Bird Video

Tickle Me Tuesday,” Challenge by Sandra Connor

Wordless Birds

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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida II

Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida,

from Chaplain Bob’s Backyard: Part 2

 by James J. S. Johnson

Moscovy Duck

Muscovy ducklings in the rain   (photo credit: J Pat Carter / AP)

For He [i.e., God] maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof, which the clouds do drop and distil [literally, pour down and drop down] upon man abundantly.  (Job 36:27-28)

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

[photo above: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02298/ducklings_2298053k.jpg ]

A pond is not a pond unless it has standing [“lentic”] water, — yet a pond will eventually dry up (and thus cease to be a “pond”) if cloud-dumped rains fail to refill its standing waters!  (The same is true of running [“lotic”] waters – see 1st Kings 17:7.)  Why?  Because rain-provided water is always escaping ponds by evaporation.  (That’s why swimming pool owners must continually add more water to their pools.)

Accordingly, every pond needs rain (or snow that melts into rain-like liquid water), sooner or later, to be a pond!  Obviously, steady rainfall impedes birdwatching, so ideal birdwatching is done when it is not raining.  Even so, all bird-watchers should appreciate the rains that God sends, from time to time!  In fact, rain is a major part of God’s program for how our world and its diverse lifeforms function:  birds need rain, other animals need rain, people need rain, plants need rain, even microörganisms needs rain, — and all of that water is continually recycled throughout the earth!  In fact, Earth itself is mostly water!

As the prophet Isaiah noted [above]—and as every Gideon knows — God’s providentially sustained hydrologic cycle is comparable to how, all over the world, God carefully manages and orchestrates the specific influence and productivity of His written Word.  For more Scriptures relevant to Earth’s water cycle, see also Deuteronomy 8:7 & 32:2; Job 26:8; Ecclesiastes 1:7 & 11:3; Amos 5:8 & 9:6; Psalm 19:1-2 (noting that solar heat affects the sky) & 65:9-10 & 72:6 & 104:10-18 & 135:7; Isaiah 30:23; Jeremiah 10:13 & 14:22 & 51:16; Zechariah 10:1; — and especially Luke 12:54.

This birding report follows “Part 1” of this mini-series.   As noted in Part 1, I happily observed the busy birds at the pond that borders the backyard of Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel (of St. Petersburg, Florida) on the morning of February 9th (AD2015), a Monday, when we saw 14 birds and heard (but did not see) a mourning dove.  As noted before, those birds were busy  —  quacking, splashing, swimming, perching on shoreline tree branches, dabbling, diving, and with several of them sporadically flying here and there.

Already, 5 of those lacustrine birds were described in Part 1 (Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, Mallard, Double-Crested Cormorant, and Black Vulture).  This Part 2 will feature 5 more:  Wood Stork, Lesser Scaup, Osprey, Snowy Egret, and Common Moorhen.  (Hopefully, the remaining 5 birds will be mentioned in an anticipated “Part 3” of this series.)

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) By Dan'sPix

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) By Dan’sPix

WOOD STORK   (Mycteria americana).

The Wood Stork (in some places nicknamed “Flinthead”, and f/k/a “wood ibis”) is a huge, long-legged wading bird, built somewhat like a large egret, heron, ibis, or spoonbill.  This bird is tall!  — with adults growing from 3 to almost 4 feet high!  The Wood Stork sports a long, flexible, blackish-grey, featherless neck.  Its ibis-like head is likewise featherless and not likely to be called beautiful (except by its mother).  Its powerful and prodigious bill is stout and slightly curved, well-fitted for probing in mud or muddy water, and for gobbling up fish, frogs, snakes, bugs, and worms located in wetland mud.  Storks sometimes eat small birds, small mammals, and even baby alligators!  The feathers of the Wood Stork are mostly white, except for the tail-feathers and black edge of its wings, which trail behind when the stork is flying.  Its feet are noticeably reddish in color.

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) sitting by Dan

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) sitting by Dan

The Wood Stork is typically mute (i.e., no vocal calls), communicating in other ways, such as by “bill-clattering”.  Being very large – and therefore heavy — birds, Wood Storks try to conserve their food-provided energy when flying.  Like other heavy birds (e.g., eagles, vultures, hawks), storks locate and “ride” thermal air currents, soaring and gliding when they can.  A true wetland bird, the Wood Stork is comfortable in a variety of wet habitats (such as ponds, marshy pastures, and swampy woodlands).  Storks construct huge nests for their families, typically as part of a stork colony (which may include literally thousands of stork pairs), often adding size to them year after year – some being built to about 6 feet in diameter and about 10 feet in depth!  Usually storks are monogamous (i.e., a male and female stay paired till one dies) although, for reasons not understood, sometimes pairs can get separated during a migration.  The dependability of the stork, in its migratory movements, is reflected in its Hebrew name (chasidah) which means “faithful” — see Jeremiah 8:7, explained in “A Lesson from the Stork” (posted at  http://www.icr.org/article/lesson-from-stork ).  Although they often migrate – spending summer in the southeastern states, these storks are known to reside in Florida (and parts of Georgia) year-round.  (See range map in Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [Little, Brown & Co., 1996], page 47, — as well as National Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Birds – Eastern Region [Alfred A, Knopf, 1994 revised edition], co-authored by John Bull & John Farrand, Jr., at page 379-380.)

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) by Ray

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) by Ray

LESSER  SCAUP   (a/k/a “LITTLE BLUEBILL”:  Aythya affinis).

The Lesser Scaup looks a lot like the Greater Scaup, but there are two ways to distinguish these look-almost-alike ducks:  (1) different shapes of their respective heads and bills; and (2) different winter ranges of territory where they live.  Donald and Lillian Stokes note the following traits:  “Head and bill shapes are most useful characteristics distinguishing [the Lesser Scaup] from the Greater Scaup … [on the] Lesser Scaup the head comes to a peak at the top or near the back [of the head]; [the Lesser Scaup] bill is slightly shorter and narrower [than that of the Greater Scaup].”  (Quoting Stokes & Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], page 75.)  Regarding the respective ranges of scaups, the typical winter range territories of the Lesser Scaup includes the East Coast, Gulf Coast, West Coast, and non-mountainous regions of states (including most of Texas) that include the greater Mississippi River Valley’s tributary drainage basin.

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) by Ray

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) by Ray

The Greater Scaup, however, has a winter range that usually includes only the northern portions of the West Coast and East Coast, plus regions near the Great Lakes.  (Compare the sparser ranges indicated in Stokes & Stokes, Eastern Region, at page 75, with the range maps in Roger Tory Peterson, A Field Guide to the Birds Eastern Birds:  A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America, abbreviated as “Eastern Birds” [Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin, 1980], at maps M43 & M444, with field notes at pages 58 & 72.)   In other words, if it’s a scaup on a Florida pond, it’s probably a Lesser Scaup!  The male of this duck has an easy-to recognize color pattern:  its bill is pale blue, its head, breast, and tail are dark-blackish; its flanks are white, and its back is mottled grey. In bright sunlight the male’s head has a purplish iridescence.   The female is mostly dark grey-brownish and black, with a noticeable white patch-like spots on both sides of her dark bill. (As with ducks generally, the easiest way to spot a female Lesser Scaup is to watch for a dark duck that pairs with a male Lesser Scaup!)   These ducks are divers – they dive into pond-water to catch and consume submergent plant seeds, insects, snails, and small crustaceans.  These duck are seen on ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshlands (including “prairie potholes” and estuarial saltmarshes).  Lesser Scaups, like ducks generally, are social creatures – sometimes they aggregate in hundreds or even thousands!  In many places, due to the availability of needed resources – which may be indicted by the size of a lake or pond, less than a hundred (maybe only a dozen) will group together.   Bird-books sometimes allege irresponsible and irrational opinions about how scaups supposedly “evolved” (e.g., Bull & Farrand, Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 403), without any forensic evidence for such science fiction. The real truth is that all Lesser Scaups (like all other ducks) ultimately descend from ducks that disembarked Noah’s Ark, about 4500 years ago, which Flood survivors were themselves s directly descended form ducks that God made on Day #5 of Creation Week (see Genesis 1:21).

Osprey at Circle B by Lee

Osprey at Circle B by Lee

OSPREY    (a/k/a “FISH HAWK”:  Pandion haiaetus).

The Osprey is rightly nicknamed the “fish hawk” – they love to catch and eat fish! And, to the delight of bird-watchers, ospreys are not afraid to display their fish-eating lifestyle to nearby humans. Donald and Lillian Stokes make this interesting observation about osprey behavior:  “Among our birds of prey the osprey is one of the most amenable to living near humans.  Its main requirements are open water [such as a Florida pond!] where it can hunt for fish and a platform or strong tree where it can build its nest.  Ospreys have occasionally built nests [or use habitual perching sites] right next to homes [such as a large tree in the Webels’ backyard, bordering the pond], in parking lots, and in public parks.  Although they do not prefer being near humans [especially busy humans who move around a lot, causing distraction], they do seem to tolerate human presence, an ability that is a big asset for the survival of any species.” (Quoting “Osprey”, by Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, in Bird Behavior, Volume III (Little, Brown & Co., 1989), page 159.]  The Osprey has a range that includes river systems in America’s Great West (e.g., Wyoming’s Snake River), a well as coastlines on the West Coast, Gulf Coast, and East Coast.  (See Stokes & Stokes, Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 94.)  This “fish hawk” is relatively slender, for a hawk, but obviously stouter than a falcon.

Osprey Catching Fish - Viera Wetlands

Osprey Catching Fish – Viera Wetlands by Dan

The Osprey is long-winged, white underneath (except the outer feathers of its wings, and its tail, which are brown), with a mottled brown pattern above; its head is mostly white, with a dark side-streak that passes “through” each eye and on the side of the hawk’s face.  The talons of this fish-grabber are opened for prey, when the Osprey dives into water, tightly clutching any fish it succeeds in seizing after it splashes into the water.  Sometimes a dead Osprey is seen hanging onto a riverine fish.  How did that happen?  Occasionally a strong fish flees when attacked by an Osprey, diving deeper with the Osprey still attached, as the desperate fish tries to avoid its avian pursuer.  If the Osprey’s talons are embedded in the diving fish’s flesh, the fish may cause the Osprey to die by drowning, if the Osprey cannot shake loose its talons in time to escape.   (Fishing always has its hazards, as any fisherman knows!) If the Osprey is successful, it quickly re-surfaces and flies off with its fish, adjusting its hold on the fish so that the fish’s face is pointed forward – for safe eating.  Ospreys are sloppy eaters.  If Ospreys eat chunks of their catch while perched in tree branches that spread over where you are sitting, watch out!  Fish scraps may fall on your head – or something worse (!) might drop onto your head.  Therefore, a wide beach umbrella (like one that Bob and Marcia Webel have, and use in their backyard, while bird-watching) is a good “shield” to have when Ospreys are eating above you.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Notice Yellow Feet by Lee at Circle B

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Notice Yellow Feet by Lee at Circle B

SNOWY  EGRET   (Egretta thula).

This beautiful white-feathered egret looks like a small version of the Great Egret (a/k/a Great White Egret), except it has its trademark “golden slippers” – i.e., its long skinny black legs end with feet that are conspicuously bright-yellow (unlike the black feet of a Great White Egret).  Also, the slender Snowy Egret has a thin black bill, in contrast to the thicker golden-yellow bill of the stouter  Great White Egret.   (See Roger Tory Peterson, Eastern Birds [noted above, in entry on the Lesser Scaup], pages 102-103 & map M93 & M444.)   Sometimes the Snowy Egret’s feathers, at the back of its head, “hang loose” (i.e., these feathers won’t lay down close to the bird’s head/neck), looking somewhat like a comb-over that won’t “sit down”).   Its feet stir up opportunities to find food:  “When feeding [it] rushes about, shuffling [its] feet to stir up food.”  (Quoting Peterson, Eastern Birds, at page 102.)

Snowy Egret Circle B 8-3-12 by Lee

Snowy Egret Circle B by Lee

Like other egrets, the Snowy Egret habituates the marshy edges of lakes and ponds, as well as other marshy areas, eating fish and almost anything else it can grab with its bill. The summer range of this elegant egret is broad – it can be found at and near many lakes, ponds, estuarial marshlands, and even wet pasturelands throughout America’s lower 48 states.  During winter it can be found all over Florida , as well as all along the Gulf Coast, along the East Coast as far north as North Carolina, plus parts of California (See Stokes & Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds –  Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 35.)  notwithstanding taxonomic “splitting”, this is basically the same bird that Europeans call the “Little Egret” (Egretta garzetta), which winters in northern Africa.  (See, accord, Chris Kightley, Steve Madge, & Dave Nurney, Pocket Guide to Birds of Britain and North-West Europe [British Trust for Ornithology/Yale University Press, 1998], page 19.)

CommonMoorhen (Gallinula chloropus) by Reinier Munguia

CommonMoorhen (Gallinula chloropus) by Reinier Munguia

Candy-Corn

Candy-Corn

FLORIDA  GALLINULE   (a/k/a “COMMON MOORHEN” & “COMMON GALLINULE”:   Gallinula chloropus).

This gallinule (i.e., chicken-sized marsh-fowl) is almost all black, with a characteristic and conspicuous yellow-tipped scarlet-red bill.  (Actually the scarlet part of the bill can fade to a less vibrant reddish hue during winter.)  Due to the specific color pattern and shape of this gallinule’s bill, ornithologist Lee Dusing aptly calls this the “candy corn” bird.  (Some of us remember “candy corn” as a trick-or-treat candy.)  This waterfowl makes a variety of noises, including chicken-like clucking noises (befitting its nickname “moorhen”).  The Florida Gallinule is quite similar to the American Coot (which, though a similarly shaped black gallinule, is distinguishable by its all-white bill) and the Purple Gallinule (which is distinguishable due to its male’s iridescent peacock-blue, indigo, and slightly purplish breast and neck feathers, and its glossy green back feathers).  The long “fingers” (i.e., toes) on their feet enable this gallinule to spread out their modest body weight so that they can “walk” on lily pads and similar vegetation that floats in marshy lentic waters.  This gallinule (or “moorhen”) habituates lakes, ponds, and marshy wet places, often near cattails, summering in states east of and within the Mississippi River Valley, plus a few coastal place on the West Coast.  (See Stokes & Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], page 139; Bull & Farrand, Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 459.)  Its diet includes marshy vegetation (especially seeds), snails, land bugs, and water bugs.  This rail-like bird is entertaining to watch, routinely bobs its head while swimming across a pond.  Like coots they confidently swim in open-water contexts where they are easily observable to appreciative bird-watchers (like me).

Wow!  That’s another 5 of the 15 birds that the Webels and I observed, that morning, from the Webels’ pond-side backyard.   Stay tuned!  God willing, the remaining 5 birds will be given their proper recognition, at this excellent bird-site!

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On the morning of February 9th, AD2015, from the pond-side backyard of Bob & Marcia Webel (while enjoying breakfast and Christian fellowship with the Webels), I saw 14 birds:  Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, Mallard, Double-Crested Cormorant, and Black Vulture  –  as reported previously – plus Wood Stork, Lesser Scaup, Osprey, Snowy Egret, White Ibis, Common Tern, and Florida Gallinule,   — as reported above  —  as well as Muscovy Duck, Great Egret, White Ibis, and Common Tern, plus the cooing of a nearby Mourning Dove was clearly recognizable.  It is hoped (God willing) that one more report will supplement this one, so the remaining 5 birds will be properly recognized for their lacustrine appearances on that Monday morning.

James J. S. Johnson loves duck ponds, having formerly taught Environmental Limnology and Water Quality Monitoring for Dallas Christian College, as well as other courses on ecology and ornithology.  The hydrologic cycle Scriptures (quoted at the beginning of this bird-watching report) are especially appreciated by Jim, as a Certified Water Quality Monitor, certified by and serving the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, providing reports on Furneaux Creek to the Trinity River Authority of Texas.  Like us all, birds need clean water!  Accordingly, backyard pond habitats are for bird-watching!

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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida I

Other Articles by James J. S. Johnson

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Sunday Inspiration – Give Thanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday Inspirations

Cotingidae – Cotingas Family

Pipridae – Manakins Family

Travel Diary

Good News

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Birds of the Bible – Gifts From Birds

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

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

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

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

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

Things brought by the crows

Things brought by the crows

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Things brought by the crows

Things brought by the crows

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

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

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

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

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

G2876

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

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

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

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

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:19-20 KJV)

Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus) ©WikiC

Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus) ©WikiC

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The girl who gets gifts from birds.

Corvidae – Crows, Jays, Ravens

Birds of the Bible – Ravens

Raven – Wikipedia

Corvidae – Wikipedia

Wordless Birds

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European Dipper, Norway’s National Bird

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) by Ian

European Dipper, Norway’s National Bird

by Dr. James J. S. Johnson

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

EUROPEAN DIPPER

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

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

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

White-throated Dipper aka European Dipper

White-throated Dipper aka European Dipper

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

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

Dipper under water by Getty Images

Dipper under water by Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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Orni-theology

James J S Johnson

Dippers – Cinclidae

Good News

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5 Day Black and White Photo Challenge #5 – Happy Bird

Inca Tern at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

Inca Tern at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. (Proverbs 3:13 KJV)

There are only two rules for this challenge:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

My fifth nomination is Talainsphotographybecause he has a variety of photos, most of them from nature. He “likes birds, bees, trees and flowers with sunsets, rainbows, and with rocky towers thrown in. But don’t be surprised if I throw in something else that is not nature oriented occasionally. If it catches my eye, I’ll put it in and try to give you some background on the photo’s subject matter!”

Again, I was nominated by Our Rumbling Ocean, and I nominated AussieBirderSukanya RamanujanThrough Open Lens, B is for Blessed and now Talainsphotography. Please check out all of these fine sites.

This is the fifth and final one in the 5-day challenge. I trust you have enjoyed them and checking out the sites of the ones nominated. There are many more of you that I could have nominated, but I could only choose five. Maybe another challenge will come along that interests me and I will pick you.

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My photos so far for this challenge:

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Good News

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Tickle Me Tuesday – For the Birds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tickle Me Tuesday – Bird of Paradise

Tickle Me Tuesday – Top Funny Bird Video

Tickle Me Tuesday,” Challenge by Sandra Connor

Wordless Birds

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5 Day Black and White Photo Challenge #4 – Shore Friends

Tern with Skimmer Friends at MacDill AFB Shore 2015 by Lee

And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. (Matthew 13:2 KJV)

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. (John 21:4 KJV)

There are only two rules for this challenge:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

My fourth nomination is B is for Blessed, “Receive God’s Grace Every Day,” because Lilkah is a Christian who likes to encourage others with her photos, verses and enjoyable stories.

Again, I was nominated by Our Rumbling Ocean, and I nominated AussieBirder and Sukanya RamanujanThrough Open Lens and now B is for Blessed. Please check out all of these fine sites.

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My photos so far for this challenge:

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Good News

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Pied Butcherbird

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

Newsletter ~ 2/22/14

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

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

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

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

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

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian

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

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian

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

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) by Ian

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

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

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

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

Greetings and sweet sounds,
Ian

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


Lee’s Addition:

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

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

Check out Ian’s Butcherbirds in his Artamidae Family

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Artamidae – Woodswallows, butcherbirds and allies Family

Wordless Birds

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5 Day Black and White Photo Challenge #3 – Galah

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) and Dan at Brevard Zoo BW

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; (1 Peter 4:12 NASB)

There are only two rules for this challenge:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

My third nomination is Through Open Lensbecause he is a great photographer and has some stunning photos. The articles are short, but informative. An all around variety of nature.

Again, I was nominated by Our Rumbling Ocean, and I nominated AussieBirder, Sukanya Ramanujan and now Through Open Lens. Please check out all of these fine sites.

(Couldn’t resist turning my favorite photo of Dan into Black and White)

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My photos so far for this challenge:

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Good News

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Sunday Inspiration – Flycatchers

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

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

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

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

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

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Click to listen:

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

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

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Sunday Inspirations
Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family
Good News

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5 Day Black and White Photo Challenge #2 – Woody

Wood Duck Brevard Zoo 120913 by Lee BW

Wood Duck Brevard Zoo 120913 by Lee BW

Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. (Matthew 5:36 KJV)

There are only two rules for this challenge:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

My second nomination is Sukanya Ramanujanbecause she accepted the challenge and she has great photos. She is from Chennai, India (Same town a j mithra was from) She is a “multi-lingual professional with varied interests such as reading, travelling, music and photography.” Also check out her photos.

Again, I was nominated by Our Rumbling Ocean, and I nominated AussieBirder and now Sukanya Rananujan. Please check out both of these fine sites.

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My photos so far for this challenge:

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Good News

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