Sunday Inspiration – Whistlers and Avian Friends

Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) ©WikiC

Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) ©WikiC

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5 KJV)

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3 KJV)

Mohoua is a small genus of three bird species endemic to New Zealand. Their taxonomic placement has presented problems: They have typically been placed in the Pachycephalidae family (whistlers), but in 2013 it was established that they are best placed in their own family, Mohouidae.

All three species display some degree of sexual dimorphism in terms of size, with the males being the larger of the two sexes. Mohoua are gregarious and usually forage in groups . They also forage in mixed species flocks at times, frequently forming the nucleus of such flocks. Social organization and behavior is well documented for all three Mohoua species; cooperative breeding has been observed in all three species and is common in the Whitehead and Yellowhead. The three species of this genus are the sole hosts for the Long-tailed Cuckoo which acts as a brood parasite upon them, pushing their eggs out of the nest and laying a single one of its own in their place so that they take no part in incubation of their eggs or in raising their young.

Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) Male by Ian

Varied Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) Male by Ian

The three Sittellas are in the Neosittidae family. are small passerines which resemble nuthatches in appearance.[1] The wings are long and broad, and when spread have clearly fingered tips. The family has a generally weak flight, which may explain their inability to colonize suitable habitat on islands like Tasmania. The legs are short but they have long toes, but in spite of their lifestyle they show little adaptation towards climbing. They have short tails and are between 10–14 cm in length and 8–20 g in weight, with the black sittella tending to be slightly larger and heavier. The bill is dagger shaped in the case of the black sittella and slightly upturned in the varied sittella. The plumage of the black sittella is mostly black with a red face; that of the varied sittella is more complex, with the numerous subspecies having many variations on the theme. The calls of sittellas are generally simple and uncomplicated. The sittellas are social and generally restless birds of scrub, forests and woodlands. In Australia they generally avoid only the dense rainforest, whereas in New Guinea this is the only habitat they inhabit, avoiding only lowland forest.

Wattled Ploughbill (Eulacestoma nigropectus) ©Drawing WikiC

Wattled Ploughbill (Eulacestoma nigropectus) ©Drawing WikiC

The Wattled Ploughbill is a small, approximately 14 cm long, olive-brown songbird with a strong, thick, wedge-shaped black bill, used to plough into dead tree branches, bark and twigs in search for its insects diet. The sexes are different. The male has black underparts, black wings and a large circular pink wattle on the cheek. The female has olive-green plumage and pale olive below. Only the adult male has wattles.

The only member of the monotypic genus Eulacestoma and family Eulacestomidae, the wattled ploughbill is distributed and endemic to central mountain ranges of New Guinea. The diet consists mainly of insects.

Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) ©WikiC

Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) ©WikiC

Oreoicidae is a newly recognized family of small insectivorous songbirds, formerly placed in the Old World warbler “wastebin” family. It contains 3 species, all in different genera. Rufous-naped Whistler, Crested Pitohui and Crested Bellbird.

Australian Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) by Ian

Australian Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) by Ian

The Whistler family has 56 species. The family Pachycephalidae, collectively the whistlers, includes the whistlers, shrikethrushes, shriketits, pitohuis and crested bellbird, and is part of the ancient Australo-Papuan radiation of songbirds. Its members range from small to medium in size, and occupy most of Australasia. Australia and New Guinea are the centre of their diversity, and in the case of the whistlers, the South Pacific islands as far as Tonga and Samoa and parts of Asia as far as India. The exact delimitation of boundaries of the family are uncertain.

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For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:8-10 KJV)

Listen to Dr. Richard Gregory sing as you watch these five beautifully created families of birds:

“The Love of God” ~ Dr. Richard Gregory

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

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Gideon

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Atherton Scrubwren

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Atherton Scrubwren ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 05-18-15

I’ve just spent a few relaxing days camping with friends on the shores of Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns, so here is the eponymous Atherton Scrubwren a pair of which were foraging in the undergrowth on the edge of the rainforest behind the toilet block. You do of course take your camera with you everywhere, don’t you?
Lake Tinaroo by Ian

This is one of about a dozen bird species that are endemic to the Wet Tropics of Northeastern Queensland. Like several others, e.g. the Golden Bowerbird and the Mountain Thornbill, it is a bird of the highland rainforest, usually found about 600m/2000ft, occasionally down to 400m/1300ft. Lake Tinaroo is at an altitude of 670m/2200ft and be reached by the Gillies Highway from Gordonvale. This highway follows an extraordinary and interminably windy route up the escarpment from the coast, and is the only route on which I suffer from motion sickness even when I’m doing the driving. It is very scenic with spectacular views over the Goldsborough Valley, if you are feeling well enough to appreciate them.

Atherton Scrubwren (Sericornis keri) by Ian

The Atherton Scrubwren is probably the least distinctive of the Wet Tropics endemics, being small (13.5cm/5.3in long), brown and unobtrusive and very similar to the more widespread, slightly smaller Large-billed Scrubwren (third photo) found in rainforests along the east coast of Australia from Cooktown in NE Queensland almost to Melbourne. Their ranges overlap in the Wet Tropics below 750m/2500ft, the usual upper limit of the Large-billed, and the species differ in subtle differences in colour and facial pattern and foraging behaviour.

Atherton Scrubwren (Sericornis keri) by IanThe best field-marks are the difference in angle of the bill: straight in the Atherton (second photo) and bent slightly upwards in the Large-billed (third photo). The Atherton forages on or closes to the ground (the one in photos 1 and 2 was about 30cm/12in above the ground), while the Large-billed is arboreal and forages on the branches and in the foliage of trees. The Atherton has a buff eye-stripe which merges with the lower part of the face and throat, has dark flanks and under-tail coverts and a yellowish wash on the breast and underside. The Large-billed is supposed to have a beady eye, but that’s getting even more subtle.

Large-bill Scrubwren by IanDespite the similarities between these two species, genetic studies indicate that the Atherton Scrubwren is probably more closely related to the well-known – and easier to identify – White-browed Scrubwren which occurs in eastern, southern and western Australia and was also present near where we were camping.

Greetings
Ian

**************************************************
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Check the latest website updates:
http://www.birdway.com.au/#updates/


Lee’s Addition:

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Mat 13:31-32)

Ian has introduced us to some more of his Australian Scrubwrens, plus a tip to always carry your camera. They seem to be such tiny birds. Glad they posed for Ian at that beautiful lake.

Ian’s Whole Acanthizidae Family

Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers

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Sunday Inspiration – Cuckooshrikes

Black-faced Cuckooshrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)  by Ian

Black-faced Cuckooshrike (Coracina novaehollandiae) by Ian

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 NKJV)

The cuckooshrikes and allies in the Campephagidae family are small to medium-sized passerine bird species found in the subtropical and tropical Africa, Asia and Australasia. The roughly 92 species are found in eight (or nine) genera which comprise five distinct groups, the ‘true’ cuckooshrikes (Campephaga, Coracina, Lobotos, Pteropodocys and Campochaera) the trillers (Lalage), the minivets (Pericrocotus), the flycatcher-shrikes (Hemipus). The woodshrikes (Tephrodornis) were often considered to be in this family but are probably better placed in their own family, the Tephrodornithidae, along with the philentomas and the flycatcher-shrikes.

Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) ©WikiC

Pied Triller (Lalage nigra) ©WikiC

Overall the cuckooshrikes are medium to small arboreal birds, generally long and slender. The smallest species is the small minivet at 16 cm (6.3 in) and 6-12 grams (0.2-0.4 oz), while the largest is the south Melanesian cuckooshrike at 35 cm (14 in) and 180 grams (6 oz). They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although the minivets are brightly coloured in red, yellow and black, and the blue cuckooshrike of central Africa is all-over glossy blue. The four cuckooshrikes in the genus Campephaga exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males that have glossy black plumage and bright red or yellow wattles, the females having more subdued olive-green plumage. The genus Coracina is not monophyletic.

New Caledonian Cuckooshrike (Coracina analis) ©WikiC

New Caledonian Cuckooshrike (Coracina analis) ©WikiC

The majority of cuckooshrike are forest birds. Some species are restricted to primary forest, like the New Caledonian cuckooshrike, others are able to use more disturbed forest. Around eleven species use much more open habitat, one Australian species, the ground cuckooshrike being found in open plains and scrubland with few trees.

The ‘true’ cuckooshrikes are usually found singly, in pairs, and in small family groups, whereas the minivets, flycatcher-shrikes and wood-shrikes more frequently form small flocks. There is a considerable amount of variation within the family as a whole with regards to calls, some call very infrequently and some, principally the minivets, are extremely vocal.

(Info from Wikipedia with editing)

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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 1:20 KJV)

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. (John 10:25 NKJV)

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

Listen to the Hyssongs as you watch the interesting Cuckooshrike family whom the Lord created:

“There’s Something About That Name” © The Hyssongs

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More Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

Cuckooshrike – Wikipedia

Cuckoo-shrike – IBC

Cuckooshrikes – Birds of the World

Falling Plates

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Birds at the Mississippi Welcome Center

Mississippi Welcome Ctr (2)

Birds at the Mississippi Welcome Center were a welcome sight. While on our most recent vacation, we saw these trees with birds carved on the end of each limb.

Welcome Center at Moss Point, Mississippi

Welcome Center at Moss Point, Mississippi

The center is at Moss Point, MS (the eastern center on I-10 headed west) and were carved by Martin Miller with a chain saw. Mr. Miller uses trees that were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

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Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mat 6:26)

Mr. Miller’s bird creations are copied from fantastic creations of their Creator.

Martin Miller

Heron Bird Carvings

Wordless Birds

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The Purple Thief – (Re-post)

THE PURPLE THIEF

Creation Moments

  “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.” (Psalm 111:4)

Birds and insects that take nectar from a flower without picking up any pollen are known as nectar robbers. Now, you’d probably think that nectar robbers would be harmful to plants and trees, but the desert teak tree couldn’t survive without a nectar robber – the purple sunbird.

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) ©J M Garg

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) ©J M Garg

In order to reproduce, this tree needs birds to pollinate its flowers. But since a tree cannot reproduce with its own pollen, it needs birds to fly from flower to flower and from one tree to another. Anything that encourages the pollinating birds to fly farther away helps out the teak trees.

That’s where the purple thief comes in. Researchers at the University of Delhi discovered that the sunbird visits the flowers one hour before the pollinating birds arrive. The purple sunbird has a long, sharp beak that pierces the base of the flower to feed, so it doesn’t pick up any pollen. It does, however, empty the flower of about 60 percent of its nectar, leaving relatively little for the pollinators. This means that the pollinators will have to travel to more flowers and trees to get enough food, spreading pollen wherever they stop for a meal.

The researchers noted that “the robber plays a constructive and crucial role in the reproductive performance of [a] threatened tree species.” How right they are. And this unusual but crucial dining arrangement shows once again what an ingenious God we serve!

Prayer:

Lord, only You could come up with such an ingenious way to help the desert teak tree to reproduce! Surely such an arrangement could not have come about through blind chance! Amen.

Notes:

“These trees don’t mind getting robbed”, Science News, 7­-25­-14. Photo: Purple sunbird. Courtesy of J.M.Garg. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution­Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


Lee’s Addition:

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) by TAJA

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) by TAJA

Sunbirds belong to the Nectariniidae – Sunbirds Family which currently has 143 species. They are amazing colored by their Creator and well designed for the plants they pull the nectar from.

From Sunday Inspiration – Sunbirds, “These are very small passerine birds. Most sunbirds feed largely on nectar, but also take insects and spiders, especially when feeding young. Flower tubes that bar access to nectar because of their shape, are simply punctured at the base near the nectaries. Fruit is also part of the diet of some species. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings.

The family is distributed throughout Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and just reaches northern Australia.

See:

Nectariniidae – Sunbirds Family

Sunday Inspiration – Sunbirds

Sunbird – Wikipedia

Who Paints the Leaves

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Sunday Inspiration – Vangas and Friends

White-headed Vanga (Artamella viridis) ©WikiC

White-headed Vanga (Artamella viridis) ©WikiC

For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. (Psalms 50:10-11 ESV)

The Vangas (from vanga, Malagasy for the hook-billed vanga, Vanga curvirostris) are a group of little-known small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to Madagascar and the Comoros. They are usually classified as the family Vangidae. There are about 21 or 22 species, depending on taxonomy. Most species are shrike-like, arboreal forest birds, feeding on reptiles, frogs and insects. Several other Madagascan birds more similar to Old World warblers, Old World babblers or Old World flycatchers are now often placed in this family. Vangas differ greatly in bill shape and have a variety of foraging methods. Their stick nests are built in trees. They do not migrate.

Mounted Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala), at the Muséum d'Histoire naturelle de Genève. ©WikiC

Mounted Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala), at the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Genève. ©WikiC

The Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala), also variously known as the bristled shrike, bald-headed crow or the bald-headed wood-shrike, is the only member of the passerine family Pityriaseidae and genus Pityriasis. It is an enigmatic and uncommon species of the rainforest canopy of the island of Borneo, to which it is endemic.

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus amydrus) by Lee Zoo Miami

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

Woodswallows are soft-plumaged, somber-coloured passerine birds. There are 24 a single genus, Artamus, The woodswallows are either treated as a subfamily, Artaminae in an expanded family Artamidae, which includes the butcherbirds and Australian Magpie, or as the only genus in that family. The generic name, which in turn gives rise to the family name, is derived from the Ancient Greek artamos, meaning butcher or murder. The name was given due to their perceived similarity to shrikes, indeed a former common name for the group was “swallow-starlings”

Woodswallows are smooth, agile flyers with moderately large, semi-triangular wings. They are among the very few passerines birds that soar, and can often be seen feeding just above the treetops. One sedentary species aside, they are nomads, following the best conditions for flying insects, and often roosting in large flocks.
Although woodswallows have a brush-tipped tongue they seldom use it for gathering nectar.

Mottled Whistler (Rhagologus leucostigma) ©©Katerina Tvardikova

Mottled Whistler (Rhagologus leucostigma) ©©Katerina Tvardikova

The Mottled Whistler (Rhagologus leucostigma) is a species of bird whose relationships are unclear but most likely related to the woodswallows, boatbills and butcherbirds. It is monotypic within the genus Rhagologus and family Rhagologidae. It is found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, where its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

The Ioras (Aegithinidae) are a small family of four passerine bird species found in India and southeast Asia. The Ioras are small to medium small sized passerines, ranging from 11.5 to 15.5 cm (4.5–6.1 in) in length. Overall the males are larger than the females. These are reminiscent of the bulbuls, but whereas that group tends to be drab in colouration, the ioras are more brightly colored. The group exhibits sexual dimorphism in its plumage, with the males being brightly plumaged in yellows and greens. Unlike the leafbirds, ioras have thin legs, and their bills are proportionately longer. Calls are strident whistles; songs are musical to human ears.

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Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23 KJV)

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:67-69 KJV)

Listen to the Hyssongs as you watch these five different families the Lord has created for us to enjoy.

“I Still Believe” – ©The Hyssongs

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

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Gospel Presentation

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Latest Visitors to Yard

A few days ago while I was filling up my feeders, I looked up and here came Mom and Pop Sandhill Crane with their two latest youngsters. (The 2015 family) Needless to say I stopped and watched them for a while and then remembered to go get my camera. Here are some of those images. I shared a little seed with them. Not suppose to feed cranes, but even if I put seed in that hanging tray for the other birds, they have been known to eat from it. ( I felt sorry for the little ones. :) )

It looks like the little Sandhills need to grow into their knees.

Leaving

Leaving

I always enjoy when the Sandhill Crane parents bring their little ones by to check them out. When you get to watch the Lord’s created critters up close and see how really look and act is enjoyable. The Cranes are mentioned in Scripture and so they are some of our Birds of the Bible.

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)

The parents made some chatter when I got too close to the little ones, but didn’t get it on video. Here is video of them in the yard (The noise is Dan edging the driveway):

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You can tell by how many articles that I’ve written about that the cranes, that I like them and they visit often:

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Sunday Inspiration – Bushshrikes and Boatbills

Rosy-patched Bushshrike (Telophorus cruentus) ©WikiC

Rosy-patched Bushshrike (Telophorus cruentus) ©WikiC

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. (Exodus 3:2-3 KJV)

This Sunday you get to meet two more families from the Song Birds (Passerines), the Malaconotidae – Bushshrikes Family with 50 members and the Machaerirhynchidae – Boatbills Family with only 2 species.

Orange-breasted Bushshrike (Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus) ©WikiC

Orange-breasted Bushshrike (Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus) ©WikiC

The Bushshrikes are smallish passerine bird species. They were formerly classed with the true shrikes in the family Laniidae, but are now considered sufficiently distinctive to be separated from that group as the family Malaconotidae.

This is an African group of species which are found in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colorful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive.

Some bushshrikes have flamboyant displays. The male puffbacks puff out the loose feathers on their rump and lower back, to look almost ball-like.
These are mainly insectivorous forest or scrub birds. Up to four eggs are laid in a cup nest in a tree.

Yellow-breasted Boatbill (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer) by Ian

Yellow-breasted Boatbill (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer) by Ian

Boatbills or the Machaerirhynchus is a genus of passerine birds with affinities to woodswallows and butcherbirds. The two species are known as boatbills. The genus is distributed across New Guinea and northern Queensland. (Info from Wikipedia)

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Listen to a quartet sing as you watch these two beautifully created families of birds:

“We Shall See Jesus” ~ Margaret Hiebert, Pastor and Jill Osborne and Pastor Jerry Smith

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

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Gospel Message

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Little Gray Feather

01:33. As the Robin flies away, the Grackle cries, “More!”

01:33. As the Robin flies away, the Grackle cries, “More!”

Little Gray Feather,
the Adopted Common Grackle Chick

One of the most bizarre anomalies in the world of ornithology I have ever witnessed was in May 2009.

It was in that month when my wife happened to look out a second floor bedroom window of our condo townhome in Aurora, Colorado and see two little boys carrying bird nests, prompting her to investigate. As it turns out, the two boys were innocently engaged in the exploration of birds’ nests they had discovered—apparently having observed adult birds flying to and from the nests. My wife lovingly explained to them that it wasn’t a good idea to move nests with eggs or chicks and suggested they return the nests to where they had found them.

However, by then the boys had already relocated at least two nests to a not-so-tall conifer at the southeast corner of the townhome complex. Apparently, they figured that by relocating the nests to lower, shorter branches, they could keep a better eye on things. The relatively short evergreen presently had a total three nests and a number of chicks had fallen to the ground. Not knowing what type of birds she was dealing with or what nests the chicks on the ground had fallen out of, my wife donned a pair of gloves and placed the fallen chicks back into two of the nests. When I returned home from work, she requested I examine the situation. Upon doing so, I found that she had mistakenly placed Common Grackle chicks with American Robin chicks and a few chicks had again fallen out of their nests—one to the ground, a couple of others onto branches. It was a problematic scenario for all parties involved, especially the chicks.

01:09. Oh, what joy as the Robin emerges on the west side of the nest with something substantial in its mouth.

Appearances suggested we were dealing with two broods of Robins and one of Grackles, both types of birds being common to the complex. Presuming the highest nest in the tree to be that of a Grackle, I placed the Grackle chicks in that one and divided the Robins evenly between the other two lower nests, holding out little hope for a positive outcome.

In less than two days all chicks died except for one: a Grackle. And soon, the nest had become tipped. I adjusted it so the sole survivor wouldn’t fall out.

Now, one would think an adult Robin would know the difference between one of its own and a stranger. Yet, to our amazement, a pair of mating Robins quickly adopted the baby Grackle and took to raising it as their own. This caused me to think that the nest had actually been built by the mother Robin. We named the chick Little Gray Feather and observed its development into June until it left the nest and was capable of very short flights while still being tended to by its adoptive parents.

Using a Panasonic Lumix-DMC FZ8 digital camera, on May 29, 2009, I took a video of the Grackle in the nest and one of its adoptive Robin parents feeding it and cleaning up after it. Following are photos captured from the video, arranged in chronological order from left to right:

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Little Gray Feather
Copyright ©2015 Dan Vaisanen


Lee’s Addition:

What an amazing story and the photos and video to go along with it. Thanks Dan for sharing this with us. Dan Vaisanen is an acquaintance of James J. S. Johnson.

Other birds have fed babies that are not their own, but this was all done by accident. It is interesting that one species, the Robins, were willing to feed another species’ baby, but that the Grackles would not do the same for the Robin babies. Must be a truth there somewhere.

“So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 AMP)

Deceit:

Good Behavior:

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – White-necked Heron

White-faced Heron (Ardea Pacifica) by IanIan’s Bird of the Week – White-necked Heron ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 5/29/15

Continuing last week’s theme (White-faced Heron) of common – but in these pages neglected – Australian herons here is the other very widespread species, the White-necked or Pacific. It’s not as abundant or as well-known as the White-faced, but much bigger and a striking bird with its white head and neck and slate-grey back and wings. In length it varies from 76-106cm/30-42in with wingspan to 160cm/63in.

In breeding plumage, it develops plum-coloured plumes on the back (first photo at sunrise) and shoulders (second photo at sunset). It’s predominantly a bird of freshwater and is only rarely seen in estuaries. It’s quite partial to small shallow ponds and is widespread in inland Australia when water is available, moving to more coastal areas in dry seasons. So it can turn up almost anywhere in the country. In southern Australia it breeds in Spring and Summer; in northern Australia it can breed at any time of the year depending on rainfall – the one in the second photo was photographed in mid-winter in Townsville, but the first half of 2008 was very wet in northern Australia.

White-faced Heron (Ardea Pacifica) by IanAccording to the field guides, non-breeding birds have rows of grey spots on the front of the neck, like the one in the third photo. The neck is supposedly completely white in breeding plumage, but it is not unusual to see birds with both purple plumes and grey neck spots. Both the second and third photos show the white patches on the leading edge of the wing. These are obvious (and diagnostic) in flight when they look like the landing lights of a passenger aircraft.

White-faced Heron (Ardea Pacifica) by IanThe bird in the fourth photo was in Boulia, in far western Queensland north of Birdsville. The field guides and HBW (Handbook of Birds of the World) are vague about juvenile plumage but are supposed to have more spots on the neck than non-breeding adults and may have greyish head and neck. the one in the Boulia bird has a white head and neck with grey spots on the sides of the neck, while the bird in the fifth photo has a grey head and neck.

White-faced Heron (Ardea Pacifica) by IanI assume that both of these are juveniles. Both have pale spots on the wings, but I can’t find are reference to that in the field guides. I haven’t got HANZAB (Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds) so if anyone reading this does, I’d be grateful for any illuminating feedback on juvenile plumage.

White-faced Heron (Ardea Pacifica) by IanThe White-necked Heron breeds only on mainland Australia. It does, however, turn up regularly in Tasmania and southern New Guinea and has been recorded as a vagrant on Norfolk Island and in New Zealand.

Greetings
Ian

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


Lee’s Addition:

the stork, the heron of any kind; the hoopoe and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 ESV)

Thanks again, Ian. I really like that reflection in that fourth photo. Also, those spots on the non-breeding heron are very noticeable. We don’t have those here in the US of course, since they are native to your area. They sort of look like our Great Egret on the top part and our Great Blue Heron on the body part.

What you might consider common, we would consider it a delight to see and the other way around. Our common birds would by your delight to see.

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Ian’s Birds of the Week

Ian’s Heron Family

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns

Ian’s Home Page

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“Flag Those Birds!” (Part 4)

“Flag Those Birds!”  (Part 4)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; unto him who overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.   (Revelation 2:7)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

The time will eventually come when the words “tree” and “paradise” coincide, in a truly heavenly way.  But until then, we do have a bird of “paradise” that is known for habituating trees, especially the tropical trees of Papua New Guinea.  Various birds, each known as a Bird of paradise, are known for their flamboyant color and beauty, especially long, thin, streamer-like tail feathers that show off the bird’s fancy status as a flying exhibit of heavenly design and construction.

The first of today’s featured creatures, the Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana), is a tropical rainforest bird with feathery flamboyance.  Indeed, extravagant feathers are commonplace for birds-of-paradise, and this variety sports scarlet red, bright green, lemon yellow, black, combined to maroonish-mauve/rusty-brown, comprising a challenge for any wildlife painter!

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

However, as beautiful as Bird-of-Paradise feathers may be, be cautious about buying their feathers from any foreign vendors, because commercial exporting transactions involving these birds are regulated according to Appendix II of a wildlife protection treaty called “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” (a/k/a the “Washington Convention”, usually abbreviated as “CITES” – opened for signature AD1973, adopted by USA  in AD1975).  The USA vigorously enforces CITES protections , internationally, by investigating, arresting, and prosecuting poachers who violate the endangered species provisions of the CITES treaty.

In Flag Those Birds! (Part 1)”,  we considered 4 “banner birds”  –  besides eagles  –  that appear on national flags:  Belgium’s Wallonian Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus); Portugal’s Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis); Burma’s Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus); and Dominica’s Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis).  In Flag Those Birds! (Part 2)”,  we reviewed 2 more “banner birds”:  the British Antarctic Territory’s Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), and the Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a Saint Helena’s skinny-legged “Wirebird” (Charadrius sanctaehelenae).  In Flag That Bird! (Part 3)”,  we showcased 1 more “banner bird”:  Kiribati’s Great Frigatebird Emperor Penguin (Fregata minor), as well as the importance and popularity of Mother’s Day.

In this posting, we have two more “banner birds”:  Papua New Guinea’s bird of paradise, featured on the flag of Papua New Guinea, and the ubiquitous dove, featured on Fiji’s flag (as well as on the royal standard of Tonga).  God willing, we will subsequently review the black swan of Western Australia, the white piping shrike of South Australia, the condor of Bolivia; and Uganda’s crested crane.

So for now, let us resume our series with Papua New Guinea’s Raggiana Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana).

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana, f/k/a Gerrus paradisaea).

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

Birds-of-paradise routinely eat a diet of fruits and bugs, which are plentiful in New Guinea jungles, so no one should expect birds-of-paradise to miss a meal, much less to starve in their tropical habitats!  Birds-of-paradise are known to hybridise, in the wild, wreaking havoc on taxonomy charts.  [See David Chandler & Dominic Couzens, 100 Birds to See Before You Die:  The Ultimate Wish List for Birders Everywhere (San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2008), page 207.]

Raggiana birds-of-paradise especially appreciate tropical fruit, including nutmeg.  After eating jungle fruits the birds-of-paradise serve fruit-trees by dispersing the seeds, post-digestion, with natural “fertilizer”, and thereby promote the planting of the next generation of fruit trees, which eventually germinate and fruit somewhere within the range of the tree-planting bird-of-paradise.

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) by Dan

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) Lowry Park Zoo by Dan

The Raggiana Bird of Paradise (a/k/a “Count Raggi’s bird-of-paradise”, being named for Marquis Francis Raggi of Genoa, Italy) is the national bird of Papua New Guinea, since AD1971, when it was included on that nation’s national flag and coat-of-arms.

Flag of Papua New Guinea ©PD

Flag of Papua New Guinea ©PD

The next “banner bird” is a dove (which is really a family of similar birds), the most common species of which is the ubiquitous Rock Dove (Columbia livia), a species that includes within it a domesticated subspecies (i.e., breeder’s variety) called the homing pigeon (Columbia livia domestica  –  a/k/a “carrier pigeons” when they carry messages), many of which are completely white.

Of course the world is home to many other common doves and pigeons (e.g., Mourning Dove, Key West Quail-Dove, Inca Dove, White-winged Dove, various Turtle Doves, etc.), but earlier comments about doves and pigeons are now cited, rather than being repeated here,  [See, for examples, Lee’s Birdwatching dove articles at Birds of the Bible – Dove and Turtle Dove,  Birds of the Bible – Descending Like A Dove, and Birds of the Bible – Dove and Pigeon Distribution  —  as well as brief comments on the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), while recalling a wonderful morning of bird-watching (with Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel) in Pond-side Birdwatching In Florida III.]

Flag of Fiji ©PD

Flag of Fiji ©PD

A completely white “dove of peace” appears on the flag of Fiji.  But what variety of “dove” is it?  (Well, it looks like it could be a white homing pigeon, but is that what the Fiji flag designers had in mind?)

Fiji is a tropical archipelago (i.e., cluster of islands) in the South Pacific Ocean.  Ironically, the special habitat of the Fiji archipelago is the only “home” for 3 endemic varieties of fruit-eating doves (a/k/a “fruit doves” or “fruit pigeons”): the Orange Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus victor, a/k/a Flame Dove), Golden Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus luteovirens, a/k/a Lemon Dove or Yellow Dove), and Whistling Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus layardi, a/k/a Velvet Dove or Yellow-headed Dove), —  yet none of those doves are completely white.

So the Fiji flag’s white dove, which derives from the coat-of-arms of the Kingdom of Fiji (AD1871-AD1874), does not match any particular variety of dove that is endemic to the Fiji islands.

White Dove With Olive Branch - Stained Glass ©WikiC

White Dove With Olive Branch – Stained Glass ©WikiC

[ image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doves_as_symbols ]

The olive leaf branch in the white dove’s beak suggests that the dove portrayed (in the flag of Fiji) is the olive-bearing dove that Noah released, received, and released again (see Genesis 8:8-12), which Ark-borne dove many have guessed was all white (although the Bible says nothing about that dove’s color).  Likewise, the royal standard of Tonga depicts a similar all-white dove, bearing a green olive leaf.

Royal Standard of Tonga

Royal Standard of Tonga

There are, of course, some doves that are completely white.  As noted above, one example of a pure-white dove is the white homing pigeon. That is as good a guess as many.  After all, homing pigeons are famous for returning “home”, and the olive-bearing dove returned home (to its “house-boat”) after the Flood, — so maybe Noah’s famous dove was a homing pigeon!

White Homing Pigeon © WikiC

White Homing Pigeon © WikiC

But we probably need to wait — until we have a chance to speak with Noah, himself, because Noah was the bird-handling one (of only 8 humans) who personally knows which variety of “dove” brought back that famous olive leaf unto him, after the year-long global Flood.  (What a voyage those 8 had!)  And the world’s people-groups, to this day, have multifarious records (usually literary, but not always) of remembering the unique ocean voyage that those 8 survivors took, some 4½ thousand years ago  —  as is briefly illustrated in “Genesis in Chinese Pictographs” (posted at www.icr.org/article/8643 ).  For a thoroughly researched and documented cornucopia of ancient flood accounts, see Dr. Bill Cooper’s THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS (Creation Science Movement, 2011 — available through http://www.csm.org.uk ), 424 pages.

Noah with a Dove ©Drawing WikiC

Noah with a Dove ©Drawing WikiC

And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.  And he [i.e., Noah] stayed yet other 7 days; and sent forth the dove, which returned not again unto him anymore.  (Genesis 8:11-2)

With those short comments, as Noah did centuries ago (Genesis 8:12), we now “release” the dove into the wide wild world, where many of that tribe thrive, faithfully being fruitful, multiplying, and filling the earth (Genesis 1:22 & 9:8-12).

Another day, God willing, we shall consider the black swan of Western Australia,  the white piping shrike of South Australia,  the condor of Bolivia,  and Uganda’s crested crane.  So please stay tuned!

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“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 1)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 2)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 3)

More Articles by James J. S. Johnson

Orni-Theology

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Sunday Inspiration – Woodshrikes and Helmetshrikes

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus) ©WikiC

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus) ©WikiC

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:17 KJV)

The two families this week are the Woodshrikes from tropical Asia and the Helmetshrikes are birds of Africa. Both are from the PASSERIFORMES – Passerines Order, which are Songbirds. The Lord has given them all a song to sing. Trust you will enjoy seeing them and listening to our orchestra play about ‘Joy.”

Large woodshrike (Tephrodornis gularis) ©WikiC

Large woodshrike (Tephrodornis gularis) ©WikiC

Tephrodornithidae – Woodshrikes and allies – 8 Species – is a family of birds that includes the genera Hemipus, Tephrodornis and Philentoma. The family was proposed in 2006 on the basis of a molecular phylogenetic study by Moyle which showed a close relation between Hemipus and Tephrodornis. Some taxonomists argue for a broader treatment of the genera under the Vangidae

Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike (Prionops scopifrons) ©WikiC

Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike (Prionops scopifrons) ©WikiC

Prionopidae – Helmetshrikes – 8 Species –This is an African and south Asian group of species which are found in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in feeding habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush or tree. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be colourful species with the distinctive crests or other head ornaments, such as wattles, from which they get their name.

Helmetshrikes are noisy and sociable birds, some of which breed in loose colonies. They lay 2-4 eggs in neat, well-hidden nests.

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But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Galatians 5:22 KJV)

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalms 51:8 KJV)

Listen to the Faith Baptist Orchestra play as you watch these two beautifully created families of birds:

” I’ve Got Joy” ~ by the Faith Baptist Orchestra

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

Tephrodornithidae – Wikipedia

Tephrodornithidae – Le quide ornitho

Helmetshrike – Wikipedia

Helmetshrikes – Bird Families of the World

Wordless Birds

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