Birds of the Bible – Singing in the Trees


Rockrunner (Achaetops pycnopygius) by Keith Blomerley

By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. (Psalms 104:12 KJV)

From the verses below, you will see that the birds will be either:

  • in the trees
  • among the branches or foliage
  • between or in the midst of the rocks

Now that we have them placed, lets see how they are producing sound:

  • sing or singing
  • giving out a sound
  • utter or give forth a voice
  • chirp a song
  • lift up their voices

Psalms 104:12

(ABP+) by them the winged creatures of the heaven shall encamp; from between the rocks they shall give out a sound;
(ASV) By them the birds of the heavens have their habitation; They sing among the branches.
(BBE) The birds of the air have their resting-places by them, and make their song among the branches.
(Brenton) By them shall the birds of the sky lodge: they shall utter a voice out of the midst of the rocks.
(CEV) Birds build their nests nearby and sing in the trees.
(Darby) The birds of heaven dwell by them; they give forth their voice from among the branches.
(DRB) Over them the birds of the air shall dwell: from the midst of the rocks they shall give forth their voices.
(ERV) Wild birds come to live by the pools; they sing in the branches of nearby trees.
(ESV) Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.
(GNB) In the trees near by, the birds make their nests and sing.
(GW) The birds live by the streams. They sing among the branches.
(ISV) Birds of the sky live beside them and chirp a song among the foliage.
(JPS) Beside them dwell the fowl of the heaven, from among the branches they sing.
(KJV) By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.
(KJV-1611) By them shall the foules of the heauen haue their habitation: which sing among the branches.
(LITV) over them the birds of the heavens dwell; they give voice from between the branches.
(MKJV) By them the birds of the heavens will have their place of rest; they sing among the branches.
(NAS77) Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; They lift up their voices among the branches.
(NASB) Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; They lift up their voices among the branches.
(NKJV) By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches.
(RV) By them the fowl of the heaven have their habitation, they sing among the branches.
(Webster) By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.
(YLT) By them the fowl of the heavens doth dwell, From between the branches They give forth the voice.

How do birds produce a song? Why are they singing?

“The distinction between songs and calls is based upon complexity, length, and context. Songs are longer and more complex and are associated with courtship and mating, while calls tend to serve such functions as alarms or keeping members of a flock in contact. Other authorities such as Howell and Webb (1995) make the distinction based on function, so that short vocalizations such as those of pigeons and even non-vocal sounds such as the drumming of woodpeckers and the “winnowing” of snipes’ wings in display flight are considered songs. Still others require song to have syllabic diversity and temporal regularity akin to the repetitive and transformative patterns which define music. It is generally agreed upon in birding and ornithology which sounds are songs and which are calls, and a good field guide will differentiate between the two.

Bird song is best developed in the order Passeriformes. Most song is emitted by male rather than female birds. Song is usually delivered from prominent perches although some species may sing when flying. Some groups are nearly voiceless, producing only percussive and rhythmic sounds, such as the storks, which clatter their bills. In some manakins (Pipridae), the males have several mechanisms for mechanical sound production, including mechanisms for stridulation not unlike those found in some insects.”

Anatomy – The avian vocal organ is called the syrinx; it is a bony structure at the bottom of the trachea (unlike the larynx at the top of the mammalian trachea). The syrinx and sometimes a surrounding air sac resonate to sound waves that are made by membranes past which the bird forces air. The bird controls the pitch by changing the tension on the membranes and controls both pitch and volume by changing the force of exhalation. It can control the two sides of the trachea independently, which is how some species can produce two notes at once.” (Wikipedia)

Why are they singing in the verse?

Psalm 104 is about blessing the Lord for all the things He has created and it describes different aspects of that creation. Light, water, clouds, foundations, the deep, mountains, springs, trees, grass, etc. The birds are singing after the springs are described in verse 10 and it gives drink to all. The trees are producing fruit, and the birds are making nest or resting in the trees. Then in verse 12 they are content and are singing. If your read the whole 104th Psalm, you just might find great cause to do your own singing and praising.

For more details see:

Bird Communication (Very detailed but good)

Bird vocalization (Wikipedia)

More Birds of the Bible articles – Click Here
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3 thoughts on “Birds of the Bible – Singing in the Trees

  1. Pingback: Festival of the Trees #63 – Slugyard University | Slugyard

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