The Apostlebird – The ground dwellers… ~ by a j mithra
The Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea), also known as the Grey Jumper, is a quick-moving, gray or black bird about 13 inches (33 centimetres) long. It is a native to Australia where it roams woodlands, eating insects and seeds at, or near, ground level.
Apostlebirds often travel in groups of about 12; for this reason they were named after the Biblical apostles, the twelve chief followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, the species travel in family groups of between 6 and 20, which may coalesce with other family groups into large feeding flocks of over 40.
Their gregarious nature and harsh scolding/grating calls have led to a plethora of colloquial names. They can be known locally as Lousy Jacks (due to heavy louse infestations), Happy Jacks, happy Families and CWA Birds. The latter name is mildly derogatory, referring to the supposed resemblance of Apostlebird’s constant chatter, to a Country Women’s Association meeting.
Grey Jumper is an alternate name. The Apostlebird is highly gregarious and garrulous, occurring in small, sedentary, co-operatively breeding groups throughout the year. Apostlebirds sometimes occur in larger congregations during the non-breeding season at abundant sources of food; they are seldom seen singly or in twos. In winter, after the breeding season, these groups may combine in larger flocks of up to 50 or 100 birds.
- Jesus said that He will be there, where two or three have gathered in His name…
- We call ourselves as apostles of Christ Jesus, but, do we congregate in large numbers?
- Most families have more than three members, but do they congregate?
- How many families go to church together as a family?
- How many families have family prayer, where every member of the family is present?
These birds don’t go to church, but they are called Apostle birds..
Others call us as Christians, which means “Christ in us”, but, they seldom call us as apostles, why?
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
These birds seem to have read this verse from the Bible..
A family group will hold a territory of 15 to 30 hectares defending it against other groups. Family groups roost clustered closely together in a row on a branch.
Apostlebirds are usually active and conspicuous, seldom silent, and usually bold and tame..
These birds are bold and tame as well…
These birds seem to have taken this character from the Bible…
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
The groups often move quickly along the ground as the birds forage for seeds and insects picking up items from the ground and not probing and digging as other ground foragers do. Adopts a predominantly terrestrial lifestyle walking with long strides and often running or hopping. Group members maintain a stream of twittering and chatter among themselves while foraging.
Feeding on the word of God should be considered as having a grand feast with our family and not to be considered as a ritual…
- How often do we discuss about our worldly affairs over every meal on the dining table!
- How often do we meditate and discuss on the word of God as a family?
- We eat, but, never seem to exercise.. Isn’t it?
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. (Malachi 3:16)
The species spends most time on the ground, but when disturbed, birds fly low to cover, often giving noisy, harsh scolding calls, with wing-beats that are broken by short glides with upswept wing-tips.
They often leap from branch to branch with their tails cocked and partly spread, often making long glides (of up to 50 metres) from a perch to the ground, or from tree to tree.
When on the ground, Apostlebirds walk and run strongly, with a steady gait, walking quickly with the tail swaying from side to side, just above the ground, but with no forward jerking of head (unlike the White-winged Chough), and run in short, quick bursts; they sometimes also hop, with tails flicked upwards, and then slowly subsiding; hops can be as long as twice the length of the bird.
Foraging is almost always on the ground, where they mainly take insects and seeds, using their bill to scratch at the ground and among litter, though they also occasionally forage in trees and shrubs.
When Jesus was on this earth, His ministry was always on the ground level..
- He made sure that He brought people down to the ground level before dealing with them.
- Remember Zacchaeus had to come down from the sycamore tree before he had an encounter with God…
- Though Manna and Quails came from above, the Israelites had to gather them from the ground..
Jesus our manna too came from above so that we may meet Him on earth..
- Where are we right now?
- Are trying to meet God from our high position?
- Those who humble are the ones who win favour from God..
- God humbled Him to the ground level and expects the same from us…
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)
They are often seen preening each other.
- We loved to be preened in the radiance of public flattery as told in Mathew 23:7-17.
- But God’s expectations on preening among the church is quite different…
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Inhabits open, fairly dry country never far from water which they visit several times a day in warm weather.
- God is there to fill our cup when it is dry..
These birds have to frequent water bodies during warm weather, but, Our Lord is able fills us wherever we are..
- But, it depends on how much we thirst for the Living water…
Our God is faithful to fill us, well, are we willing to be drenched by THE LIVING WATER?
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: (Isaiah 44:3)
Groups are seen in open forest, woodland, river margins and roadside tree belts. Distributed through central Queensland, New South Wales and in south-east South Australia..
Their distinctive mud nests often indicate presence in an area. Apostlebirds build a medium-sized bowl-shaped mud nest.
- Our homes should act as an indicator of the presence of God for the people living around us..
- If Jesus becomes the door of our house, all those who enter our home would leave our home as a changed person..
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
Apostlebirds can sometimes tolerate high levels of habitat degradation, as groups have been recorded in highly degraded woodlands with a high proportion of exotic plants in the ground layer, heavy grazing pressure, no tree regeneration and no understorey; and they can persist in small patches of remnant vegetation of just a few hectares in extent, though these may need to be near other, larger patches of suitable habitat.
Breeding season is from August to December. The nest is a deep cup-shaped structure made of grasses held together with mud or sometimes manure in a tree fork up to seven or eight meters above the ground. Three to five pale blue-white eggs sparsely splotched with brown and lavender shades are laid measuring 22 mm x 29 mm. They are tapered oval in shape They build substantially larger nests, weighing up to five pounds, located as much as fifty feet above the ground. But even these scaled-up versions of the adobe cup with their inch-thick walls are manufactured with the same jiggled-mud strategy that seems to be universal among birds that build with wet earth. But then vibration is a key feature in the insertion of twigs and grasses into conventional nests, so this may be a bit of behavioral recycling.
Apostlebirds are a communal species with each family group generally containing only one breeding pair, the rest being their helper offspring. All family members help construct a mud nest, and share in incubation of the eggs. Once the eggs are hatched, all members of the family group also help feed the chicks and keep the nest clean.
- We have a God who has shed His precious blood to cleanse our nest…
- Well, we are not ordinary people; we are God’s nest…
- That is the reason God wants to dwell is us..
God has taught these bird to build their nest with mud high above on tree forks..
Jesus too chose to dwell in a nest made of mud that was the reason He chose you and me?
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Have a blessed day!
Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra
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Thanks, a j, for another interesting article and a thanks to Ian Montgomery, one of our great photographers for the permission to use his photos.
The Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) is in the Corcoracidae – Australian Mudnesters Family of the Passeriformes Order. There are two subspecies; the cinerea and dalyi. The other Mudnester is the White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanoramphos) which also has two subspecies.
Video links to Apostlebirds:
A group of birds foraging and calling.