Raining Red-winged Blackbirds

Red-winged Blackbird at Bok Sanctuary

Red-winged Blackbird at Bok Sanctuary

Many have heard the news today about the many (4,000-5,000 at last count) Red-winged Blackbirds that they found in Arkansas. They fell from the sky on New Year’s Eve.

“The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Keith Stephens says the birds fell in an area about a mile long and a half-mile wide (1 1/2 kilometers long and 800 meters wide). The Commission said Saturday that it began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. the previous night.

The birds fell over a 1-mile (2-kilometer) area, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area. Laboratories in Arkansas, Georgia and Wisconsin will examine some carcasses starting Monday.” (Foxnews.com)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) female by Ian

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) female by Ian

The ornithologists are debating whether it was lightning or hail that hit the flock. At this time of the year they are in migration or gathered in flocks. I know here in Central Florida, the Red-winged Blackbirds have just begun coming back to my feeders after their summer in the north.

It is very sad and seems quite devastating to think about. I really enjoy watching them and especially have been challenged by trying to identify the female red-wing. One thing is for certain:

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31 KJV)

I know they were not sparrows, but those verses apply to all the birds.

Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) are in the Icteridae Family which includes Oropendolas, Orioles and Blackbirds. There are 108 members and they are perching birds (Passeriformes Order)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by Ray

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by Ray

The male Red-winged Blackbird has a red shoulder patch bordered by yellow or white and has black plumage. The female is brownish overall with heavy streaked underparts. The juveniles are similar to the female. They have sharply-pointed bills. They are about 8.75 inches (22 cm) long.

As I thought about them today, I imagined their summer up north with having the young and flying here and there gathering worms and insects to feed them. Then watched their young learn to fly and grow. Now, they may have been migrating down here to enjoy the winter. The Creator of them knew all about that and also knew this was going to happen.

Sad, yes, but what about us? Do we get busy with all of our activities, but forget that our lives are also in the Hands of the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ?

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NKJV)

Quoted in yesterday’s sermon at Faith Baptist ~ “It is curious that people who are filled with horrified indignation whenever a cat kills a sparrow can hear that story of the killing of God told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.” –Dorothy Sayers


One thought on “Raining Red-winged Blackbirds

  1. Thanks, Lee. I am very suspicious about not only these birds, but the mega thousands of dead fish in that area. People who do not live near earthquake faults do not understand that when the tectonic plates shift, if they’re near a gas line, deadly gases are emitted. I’m wondering if they all died from the deadly gases.


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