Hummingbirds See Colors Over (Beyond) the Rainbow

Hummingbirds See Colors Over (Beyond) the Rainbow

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

HUMMINGBIRD acquiring nectar (Wikipedia photo credit)

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.  [ Proverbs 20:12 ]

God has equipped hummingbirds with a range of color vision that exceeds that of humans, so it’s fair to say that hummingbirds see over—or beyond—the rainbow.

This “beyond-the-rainbow” vision helps birds to see food, predators, nectar-producing plants, potential mates, and 3D objects within their physical environment. Recent research corroborates this amazing fact.(1),(2)

Humans have three types of color-sensitive cones in their eyes—attuned to red, green and blue light—but birds have a fourth type, sensitive to ultraviolet light. “Not only does having a fourth color cone type extend the range of bird-visible colors into the UV, it potentially allows birds to perceive combination colors like ultraviolet+green and ultraviolet+red—but this has been hard to test,” said [Dr. Mary Caswell] Stoddard. …  Stoddard and her colleagues designed a series of experiments to test whether hummingbirds can see these nonspectral colors. Their results appear June 15 [2020] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.(1)

[ see Princeton University citation below ]

Nonspectral colors are perceived when nonadjacent cone types (sensitive to widely separated parts of the light spectrum) are predominantly stimulated. For humans, purple (stimulation of blue- and red-sensitive cones) is a nonspectral color; birds’ fourth color cone type creates many more possibilities.(2)

[ see Stoddard , Eyster, et al. citation below ]

HUMMINGBIRDS at suspended feeder (Flickr photo credit)

For years, literally, Dr. Stoddard and her team tested and quantified how wild hummingbirds see colors beyond the spectrum of white light that humans see.

To investigate how birds perceive their colorful world, Stoddard and her research team established a new field system for exploring bird color vision in a natural setting. Working at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, Colorado, the researchers trained wild broad-tailed hummingbirds (Selasphorus platycercus) to participate in color vision experiments. … [using] a pair of custom “bird vision” LED tubes programmed to display a broad range of colors, including nonspectral colors like ultraviolet+green. Next they performed experiments in an alpine meadow frequently visited by local broad-tailed hummingbirds, which breed at the high-altitude site.(1)

[ see Princeton University citation below ]

The experiment was sweet, as one would expect with hummingbirds.(3)

Each morning, the researchers rose before dawn and set up two feeders: one containing sugar water and the other plain water. Beside each feeder, they placed an LED tube. The tube beside the sugar water emitted one color, while the one next to the plain water emitted a different color. The researchers periodically swapped the positions of the rewarding and unrewarding tubes, so the birds could not simply use location to pinpoint a sweet treat. … Over the course of several hours, wild hummingbirds learned to visit the rewarding color. Using this setup, the researchers recorded over 6,000 feeder visits in a series of 19 experiments.(1)

[ see Princeton University citation below ]
See the source image

HUMMINGBIRDS feeding (ReallyCoolGardenStuff.com photo credit)

The results were—one might say—colorful. Unlike human eyes that can see one “nonspectral” color, purple, hummingbird eyes apparently see five “nonspectral” colors.

Stoddard’s team was particularly interested in “nonspectral” color combinations, which involve hues from widely separated parts of the color spectrum, as opposed to blends of neighboring colors like teal (blue-green) or yellow (green-red). For humans, purple is the clearest example of a nonspectral color. Technically, purple is not in the rainbow: it arises when our blue (short-wave) and red (long-wave) cones are stimulated, but not green (medium-wave) cones. While humans have just one nonspectral color—purple, birds can theoretically see up to five: purple, ultraviolet+red, ultraviolet+green, ultraviolet+yellow and ultraviolet+purple.(1)

[ see Princeton University citation below ]

Birds have four color cone types in their eyes, compared to three in humans. In theory, this enables birds to discriminate a broad range of colors, including many nonspectral colors. … We trained wild hummingbirds to participate in color vision tests, which revealed that they can discriminate a variety of nonspectral colors, including UV+red, UV+green, purple, and UV+yellow. Additionally, based on an analysis of ∼3,300 plumage and plant colors, we estimate that birds perceive many natural colors as nonspectral.(2)

[ see Stoddard, Eyster, et al. citation below ]

Also, the research team studied minute differences in color, as they are featured in plant material and bird feathers—there is a lot more to color that is appreciated by most human eyes!

Finally, the research team analyzed a data set of 3,315 feather and plant colors. They discovered that birds likely perceive many of these colors as nonspectral, while humans do not … [due to the birds’] four color-cone visual system.(1)

[ see Princeton University citation below ]

How colorful the world must be to hummingbirds!

HUMMINGBIRD in Trumpet Vine (Harold A. Davis photo credit)

Dr. Stoddard’s team were not the first to study the beyond-the-rainbow vision of birds. Previous studies have been reported, using finches and sparrows, indicating that diet is important for avian eyesight.

The ability of finches, sparrows, and many other birds to see a visual world hidden to us is explained in a study published in the journal eLife. Birds can be divided into those that can see ultraviolet (UV) light and those that cannot. Those that can live in a sensory world apart, able to transmit and receive signals between each other in a way that is invisible to many other species. … The study reveals two essential adaptions that enable birds to expand their vision into the UV range: chemical changes in light-filtering pigments called carotenoids and the tuning of light-sensitive proteins called opsins. Birds acquire carotenoids through their diets and process them in a variety of ways to shift their light absorption toward longer or shorter wavelengths.(4)

[ see PhysOrg citation below ]

If that seems complicated and mathematically challenging, it is!(4),(5)

The researchers characterized the carotenoid pigments from birds with violet vision and from those with UV vision and used computational models to see how the pigments affect the number of colors they can see. … The study also revealed that sensitivity of the violet/UV cone and the blue cone in birds must move in sync to allow for optimum vision. Among bird species, there is a strong relationship between the light sensitivity of opsins within the violet/UV cone and mechanisms within the blue cone, which coordinate to ensure even UV vision.(4)

[ see PhysOrg citation below ]

[ Stoddard Lab infographic, A.D.2020 / PNAS ]

The more-technical description of the research is even more challenging, to read, but the implications are “clearly seen”—God has given birds amazing eyesight.

Color vision in birds is mediated by four types of cone photoreceptors whose maximal sensitivities (λmax) are evenly spaced across the light spectrum. … SWS1 [shortwave-sensitive cone] opsin is accompanied by a corresponding short-wavelength shift in the spectrally adjacent SWS2 cone.(5)

[ see Toomey, Lind, et al. citation below ]

Hummingbird eyesight is facilitated by some really technical details!

Here, we show that SWS2 cone spectral tuning is mediated by modulating the ratio of two apocarotenoids, galloxanthin and 11’,12’-dihydrogalloxanthin, which act as intracellular spectral filters in this cell type. We propose an enzymatic pathway that mediates the differential production of these apocarotenoids in the avian retina, and we use color vision modeling to demonstrate how …  spectral tuning is necessary to achieve even sampling of the light spectrum and thereby maintain near-optimal color discrimination.(5)

[ see Toomey, Lind, et al. citation below ]

At the practical level, how can Christians benefit from knowing about avian eyesight? Or, what about other features—like wings, feathers, and motion-regulating software—that God has designed and installed into the world’s hummingbirds? Are we missing an opportunity to appreciate God if we ignore what He has done to enable hummingbirds to live as they do?

HUMMINGBIRD approaching flower (Bioluminescent.org photo credit)

Hummingbird beaks, bones, and feathers differ from those of all other living or extinct bird kinds. Their wings don’t fold in the middle. Instead, they have a unique swivel joint where the wing attaches to the body so that the wings rotate in a figure-eight pattern. And they move fast! They have to beat their wings rapidly to hover, levitating with level heads as they extract nectar from flowers for hours per day. Scientists still need to discover the bird’s mental software that coordinates information about the location of a flower’s center with muscle motion that expertly stabilizes the hummingbird’s little head as it drinks.(6)

[ see Thomas citation below ]

Astonishing! What a stupendous and beauty-broadcasting imagination our God has—how can we see His busy, busy hummingbirds without admiring His technical genius and His bioengineering power?(7)

[ see Sherwin citation below ]

Yet every hummingbird alive today is a descendant from the originals made by God on Day 5 of Creation Week.

Their size, flight characteristics and patterns, metabolism, all point to our magnificent Creator who designed these amazing animals and created them on Day Five.(8)

HUMMINGBIRD (Harold A. Davis photo)

References

  1. Staff writer, Princeton University. 2020. Spectacular bird’s-eye view? Hummingbirds see diverse colors humans can only imagine. PhysOrg (June 15, 2020), posted athttps://phys.org/news/2020-06-spectacular-bird-eye-view-hummingbirds-diverse.html .
  2. Stoddard, M. C., H. N. Eyster, et al. 2020. Wild Hummingbirds Discriminate Nonspectral Colors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (June 15, 2020), posted at  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919377117 .  
  3. Mitchell, E. 2014. Our Creator’s Sweet Design for Hummingbird Taste (Answers in Genesis: News to Know, September 6, 2014), posted https://answersingenesis.org/birds/our-creators-sweet-design-hummingbird-taste/ (with a link, in Footnote #1, to video footage of hummingbird sugar consumption).
  4. Staff writer, eLife. 2016. How Birds Unlock their Super-Sense, Ultraviolet Vision.PhysOrg (July 12, 2016), posted at https://phys.org/news/2016-07-birds-super-sense-ultraviolet-vision.html?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Phys.org_TrendMD_1 .
  5. Toomey, M. B., O. Lind, et al. 2016. Complementary shifts in photoreceptor spectral tuning unlock the full adaptive potential of ultraviolet vision in birds. eLife Sciences / Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Neuroscience (July 12, 2016), posted at https://elifesciences.org/articles/15675 ; doi: 10.7554/eLife.15675
  6. Thomas, B. 2016. Hummingbirds! Acts & Facts. 45(4), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/hummingbirds .
  7. Sherwin, F. 2006. Hummingbirds at ICR. Acts & Facts. 35(9), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/hummingbirds-at-icr .  
  8. Dreves, D. 1991. The Hummingbird: God’s Tiny Miracle. Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal. 14(1):10-12.  

Catching Crayfish, a Lesson in Over-Reacting

Originally posted Nov 13, 2015 on Bibleworld Adventures:

by James J. S. Johnson

Large Tropical Blue Crayfish - Captive ©Dave Wilson

Tropical Blue Crayfish – Captive ©Dave Wilson

During my junior high years, living in a rural part of Maryland, I learned and enjoyed the art of catching crayfish.   (Nowadays I just eat them at restaurants!)   As a teenager, I was neither an astacologist (crayfish scientist) nor a serious catcher of crayfish (which is the same crustacean known to some as “mudbug” and in Louisiana as “crawfish”), so I did not use a “crayfish trap”.  Rather, as described below, I used a homemade dipping net, to catch those greenish critters that looked like lobsters.

Crayfish like drainage ditches and slow-moving streams, especially those with banks that are shaped in ways that provide hiding places for crayfish (and habitat for what crayfish eat), including underwater rocks or logs or roots.

After a heavy rainfall the velocity of stream currents may increase, as it drains, but crayfish can act to maintain their position at the edge of such drainage:  “Crayfish … help maintain position [in face of faster current flow] by altering body posture to counteract the effect of drag when exposed to an increase in current velocity.”  [Quoting from Paul S. Giller & Björn Malmqvist, THE BIOLOGY OF STREAMS AND RIVERS (Oxford University Press, 2008), page 122.]  Crayfish care about staying and defending their “home turf”  –  i.e., they are territorial, and some will fight to defend a favorite streambank crevice.  [Giller & Malmqvist, pages 131-132.]

Crayfish

Crayfish

Crayfish are omnivores – they emerge from their hiding places, especially when it is dark (from “dusk to dawn”, to borrow an old TNT expression from Chaplain Bob Webel – or on days when it is cloudy), to find and feed on freshwater snails, fish eggs, tadpoles, worms, algae, grains, and other plant material. The dominating influence of crayfish, as “keystone predators” in the food webs of drainage ditches and sluggish stream-waters (where they live), is produced directly, as predators, and indirectly, by eating riparian plant cover used by aquatic invertebrates.  [Giller & Malmqvist, page 204.]

Drainage ditches are a favorite habitat of crayfish, not just in Maryland.  “Ditches are of course just man-made sloughs [pooled streamwater that only moves slowly], but they are important to the survival of many species of life in the state.  Ditches are necessary for allowing rain runoff much of the year, and wherever water is present for half the year or more there are likely to be populations of crawfishes  and other invertebrates, as well as their predators such as frogs, snakes, and turtles.  Even shallow ditches may be home to several species of crawfish, some quite uncommon and localized in distribution.”  [Quoting Jerry G. Walls, CRAWFISH OF LOUISIANA (Louisiana State University Press, 2009), pages 35-36.]

Where I (then) lived, in rural Baltimore County,  there was a bridge with a huge drainage pipe that allowed streamwater to flow in irregular patterns, around large and small rocks, so that the stream bank had indentations and crevices where the waterflow was somewhat shielded, providing places for small creatures (like baby fish and insect larvae) to avoid being swept downstream, though crayfish lurked nearby, always hungry for something small to eat, whether it be plant material or aquatic invertebrates.

When moving on land crayfish crawl, using their legs.  But, when underwater, they  “swim” or “paddle”, using their legs and when needed, the tail fan.  Rapid flipping of the crayfish tail enables the crayfish to suddenly propel itself backward  — it appears to “jump backwards” in the water.  This can provide a quick exit from anything facially threatening the crayfish.

Of course, the crayfish themselves were shy about large disturbances in the water, so wading into the stream (which might be ankle-deep to knee-deep) would scare crayfish into hiding places, some of which were located under the bridge or in underwater burrows nearby.

If you splash a stone into the water directly in front of a crayfish it would jet backwards to escape.  The escape maneuver was so reflexive and quick that the crayfish never looked before it “jumped” backward in the water, to escape whatever the perceived danger was in front of it.  After learning this crayfish habit it became apparent that crayfish could be easily caught, by taking advantage of this “knee-jerk” reaction, with a home-made “net”.  So how did we catch crayfish, down by the drainage pipe that conveyed streamwater under the bridge?

Shasta Crayfish

Shasta Crayfish

First, make a “net” to catch the crayfish with.  Reshape (by bending) a coat hanger into the shape of a lollipop profile, i.e., a straight line (for a handle) that is curved into a circle.  The resulting shape of the coat hanger resembles a somewhat small version of the frame of a tennis racquet (or badminton racquet), with the “loop” (circle or oval) part being about the size (circumference) of a soccer ball, easily enough room for catching a large or small crayfish.  The largest crayfishes that I caught were about the size of lobsters that you can eat at a Red Lobster restaurant.   But the metal frame needs a net  –  so you tear apart an expendable T-shirt, then you thread it onto the circular “loop” part of the reshaped coat hanger.  Ideally the result is somewhat like a dipping net for an aquarium.

The coat-hanger “dipping net” is the tool to be used for catching (netting) the crayfish, but keep in mind that a crayfish will try to exit if caught, so you need a bucket of water to “land” your catch if and when you catch one.  So you need to bring a bucket (or a pail will do!) that is half-filled with water, and it must be positioned near the spot where you expect to net your crayfish.

The next trick is to get a crayfish to “jump” into your net, in the streamwater, just before you jerk the net up and out of the water (so the crayfish can’t exit your net, upon realizing that he or she is caught!).

But how do you entice a shy crayfish to “jump” into your net?  Actually, it’s not very difficult, although it requires sequenced (and quick) timing as you perform two rapid movements.  With your net ready to “stab” the water just behind the crayfish (i.e., where his or her tail is located), drop a clod of dirt (or a small rock) about 6 inches in front of the crayfish’s head and front claws.  Instantly plunge your net behind the crayfish – which is now “jumping” backward to avoid whatever you dropped into the water.  Then quickly jerk the net up out of the water – you should have the crayfish secured inside your net, for a moment at least, so now you quickly dump the net into your bucket of water, and shake the crayfish loose from the net.

Catching in a Net

Catching in a Net

[ Fair Use image credit: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/fHaQJN4LmGM/hqdefault.jpg ]

If your bucket is deep enough the crayfish is now covered in water, yet the water level needs to be low enough that the crayfish cannot swim to the top and then crawl out over the brim, to escape involuntary confinement.  Ironically, it was the crayfish’s reflex habit  —  the automatic “jump-back” reaction  —  that got the crayfish captured!

Captured!

Captured!

[ Fair Use image credit: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About/General/2011/12/29/1325169553221/A-virile-right-and-a-sign-007.jpg ]

Now that you have a captive crayfish you need to feed it, to keep it alive, or else eat it (!) as you might a lobster, or just release it.  “Catch and release” is what I recommend.

But what does catching a crayfish have to do with the adventure of living the Christian life? 

The crayfish illustrates the danger of carelessly over-reacting to a perceived danger.  Because the crayfish is startled by the rock dropped (into water facing the crayfish), it automatically reacts by “jumping” backward  –  without checking to see if a net is waiting there, to capture it! Since the Christian life involves a lot of balancing, we need to be careful about over-reacting to this or that.  Regarding the need to avoid over-reacting, as a Christian who strives to honor God in this life, see Charles C. Ryrie’s indispensable guidebook, BALANCING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 252 pages.  [Thankfully, this book was provided to me, when I was a teenager, by my youth/college pastor, Chaplain Bob Webel.]

Over-reacting involves moving recklessly from one extreme to its opposite.  For an example of such over-reacting  —  “jumping” from one imbalanced extreme to another — consider how to teach children to inculcate a responsible “work ethic”.

In one Christian family, that I know, the parents were very concerned about raising children who might be lazy, unfocused, and/ or unresourceful.  (So far, so good.)   In other words, the parents wanted their children to have a “good work ethic”  –  self-initiative, goal-oriented diligence, and an entrepreneurial spirit,   —  to learn and practice practical life skills, so that they could be self-starters, as adults, who economically support themselves.

Of course, who would oppose teaching children a “good work ethic”?  Shouldn’t children learn to take the initiative, to recognize (and acquire) useful opportunities, to have productive ambitions, to focus on practical successes?

Yet promoting an entrepreneurial spirit, with an inner drive to ambitiously succeed in profitable work, can swing to an extreme that neglects altruistic service.  Without the balance of some commitment to altruistic service, however, the profit-motive-based ethic selfishly degrades to:  “If I don’t get paid money to do it, I won’t do it.”  That refusal to blend altruistic service (which the apostle Paul role-modeled in Acts 20:33-35) with a for-profit “work ethic” quickly uglifies into ordinary greed.  Is selfish greed better than selfish laziness?  Neither habit honors the Lord.  Both are wickedly sinful.  Both sins are ugly to look at  –  and, sad to say, we have many examples of both of those vices, lived out in front of us.

The Holy Bible provides a proper balance:  yes, we should work for profit and self-sustenance (2nd Thessalonians 3:10-12); however, some of the profit acquired should be used non-selfishly, to further the Lord’s work on earth (Matthew 6:19-21) and to compassionately “support the weak” (Acts 20:35).

Cooked Crayfish

Crayfish served at IKEA

So next time you catch a crayfish, or eat a plateful at a Swedish crayfish party, or eat one at a Cajun restaurant, remember this lesson: don’t carelessly over-react!   —   review the big picture, and maintain a Biblical balance in whatever you are doing (1st Corinthians 10:31).

><> JJSJ

Don’t Under-estimate Young Boys!

[Originally published May 31, 2020, by Dr. James J. S. Johnson on Bibleworld Adventures]

Don’t Under-estimate Young Boys!

(Boy 5 Years Old, Driving to California, to Buy a Lamborghini … etc.!)

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Don’t under-estimate the big ideas of young boys—whether those boys are from Israel, Utah, or Oklahoma.

For example, Israel’s David, when young enough that some considered him as just a boy, successfully challenged and killed Goliath the gigantic Gittite.(1) And more recently, there’s kindergartner Adrian Zamarripa, who tried to drive from Ogden (Utah) to California, to buy himself a Lamborghini.(2),(3)

Lamborghini-Miura.on-dirt-road

For the Utah state trooper who made a “traffic stop”, the incident was not what he originally expected.

Trooper Rick Morgan … saw the car swerving so badly on Interstate 15 in Odgen, Utah, that he thought the driver was impaired or needed medical attention. He was driving 32 mph in an area with a speed limit of 70 mph. Morgan told the Associated Press that [the car’s driver] did not respond to his [flashing] lights but pulled over when he hit his siren. “I approached the vehicle and I was expecting to find somebody who needed an ambulance or paramedics,” Morgan said.(3)

But the driver was a 5-year-old kindergartener, Adrian Zamarippa.

Last week [May 4, 2020], 5-year-old Adrian Zamarripa took $3 out of his piggy bank, stole the keys to his parents’ SUV in Ogden, Utah, and went for a joyride on the freeway, following the signs that pointed south to Los Angeles. When the kindergartner was pulled over on Interstate 15 … he told the shocked highway patrol officer that he was on his way to California to buy a Lamborghini sports car.(2)

boy-age-5-wants-Lamborghini.dashcam-traffic-stop-AD2020

How did that happen?

Adrian’s 16-year-old sister, Sidney Flores, who was babysitting, had taken a nap about 11 a.m. while her mom and stepfather were away at work, and that’s when her little brother decided to take the keys from a hook near the door and go after his dream. “We thought he’d been kidnapped and we were all panicked,” said Sidney, speaking on behalf of her family because her parents understand limited English. “I called my mom at work and she came rushing home, crying,” she said. “It never occurred to any of us that he would take off in the car by himself. How would he know how to do that?” Nobody in the family had ever encouraged Adrian to drive, said Sidney, except for when he rode up and down the sidewalks in a battery-powered toy truck at age 2.(2)

Officer Morgan’s dash-cam video recording shows the vehicle pull over onto the multi-lane highway’s left shoulder, and stop, in response to Morgan’s flashing lights. Morgan then approached the driver’s window, to speak to the driver. The recording provides video and audio of this unusual encounter.

But when the window came down, Morgan said it was pretty clear that it was “a very under-aged driver who was behind the wheel.”(3)

Behind the wheel, in this case, meant sitting on the driver’s seat edge, so that his short legs could reach the brake pedal—it took both feet to brake the car to a full stop.  The dash-cam footage records audio of Officer Morgan questioning the young driver.(4)

“How old are you? You’re 5 years old?” Morgan says in the video. “Wow, OK. Where did you learn how to drive a car?” The boy told the trooper he was planning to drive to California to buy himself an Italian luxury sports car [specifically, a Lamborghini]. “He might have been short on the purchase amount, as he only had $3 dollars in his wallet,” the Utah Highway Patrol said in a statement on Twitter. The boy’s parents were contacted and they took custody of their son and the vehicle.(3)

Lamborghini-Miura.on-dirt-road

But Adrian is not the first precocious youngster to do what many would not imagine possible for someone so young, nor will he be the last.

More than a century ago, a 6-year-old boy named Jack played the piano, as his older brother fiddled, at a Texas saloon, earning big money for hours till midnight. But this opportunity was cut short by gunfire—and Jack’s saloon piano playing career was terminated by his mother, when she learned about the shooting.(5)

Jack Abernathy: Catching Live Wolves Bare-Handed - America Comes Alive

That little boy grew up to be “Catch-‘em-alive” Jack Abernathy, the youngest man to be appointed a U.S. Marshal—appointed by none other than Teddy Roosevelt.(5)  Jack was already famous for catching wild wolves alive, with his bare hands, so he could sell them to zoos. Later (as U.S. Marshal), he caught violent criminals, though his hands usually then held firearms.(5),(6)

How The Abernathy Boys Became The Most Adventurous Kids In History ...

If you think Catch-‘em-Alive Jack’s two precocious sons—Louis (“Bud”) and Temple (“Temp”—“I’m not a little boy; I’m a little man!”)—followed in their father’s footsteps, as daring adventurers, you’d be right.(6),(7)

The Astounding Adventures of the Abernathy Boys - 405 Magazine

Bud and Temp Abernathy took their first cowboy adventure in 1909, at ages 9 and 5 –traveling horseback (with a shotgun) from their home in Oklahoma to the Governor’s Mansion in New Mexico and back.(6),(7) One night they lodged with men who identified themselves as being “in the cattle business”; their hosts were cattle rustlers, who hospitably respected them, yet one of the rustlers had recently been in a gunfight where he tried to kill their father (Jack), who was then U.S. Marshal.(6),(7)

Buster Welch | RFD-TV :: Rural America's Most Important Network

On returning to a hometown welcome in Oklahoma, one lady emotionally questioned why their mother had permitted this reckless adventure—to which 5-year-old Temp replied that she was dead.(6)

The Abernathy Boys | Redtree Times

The next adventure Bud and Temp took in 1910, at ages 10 and 6, was to ride horses from their home in Oklahoma to New York City, unsupervised—more than 1500 miles.(6),(7) Bud sent telegrams to their father, on arrival in different cities along the way—including visiting Comanche Chief Quanah Parker (in Oklahoma’s Indian Territory) and, at the White House, President Taft, plus they briefly addressed both House of Congress.(6),(7)

The trip’s main goal was timely reached—rendezvousing with their dad (Jack, who arrived in New York City by train) at the port where Teddy Roosevelt would arrive, returning from his exploits in Africa.(6),(7) Teddy’s arrival was celebrated by a huge ticker-tape parade, with Bud and Temp (on horseback) immediately behind the former president’s car; the equestrian lads were followed by Teddy’s mounted Rough Riders.(6)

Abernathy-boys-NY-parade-with-Teddy.painting

Other adventures followed, including the boys (mostly Bud, as Temp could hardly reach the pedals) driving a small car from New York back to Oklahoma, while their horses rode the train.(6),(7)

The Abernathy Boys | Redtree Times

Soon afterward, in 1911, the two boys rode horses from the Atlantic Ocean (at New York) to the Pacific Ocean (at San Francisco), including a calamity where they almost died, after temporarily losing their horses.(6),(7)

Then there was a motorcycle trip in 1913, with stepbrother Anton.(6)

To recount details of just the highlights of the Abernathy boys’ adventures would require a book—in fact, more than one book, plus a museum.(6),(7),(8)

BUD & ME THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF THE ABERNATHY BOYS - Kindle ...

But there is at least one take-away lesson—for all of us—that we should never under-estimate the young. Children are capable of a whole lot more than most imagine!(9)

No wonder big-picture-thinking Christians invest resources and messaging efforts for reaching children (and more such outreach to come, God willing)—even very young kids are ripe for learning about their wonderful Creator.  Let us help, not hinder, them as they are learning about and coming toward the Lord Jesus Christ.(9)

Abernathy Boys Statue & Exhibit - Visit Frederick, OK    

References
  1. 1st Samuel 17:1-58.
  2. Free, C. 2020. Boy, 5, Steals Family Car in Attempt to Buy a Lamborghini. Posted on WashingtonPost.com (May 11, 2020) at https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/05/11/boy-5-steals-family-car-attempt-buy-lamborghini-then-man-with-lamborghini-shows-up-his-house/ .
  3. Yancey-Bragg, N. 2020. 5-year-old Boy Caught Driving on Utah Highway was Heading to California for a Lamborghini. USA Today. Posted (May 5, 2020) at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/05/5-year-old-boy-utah-driving-california-buy-lamborghini/3083410001/ .
  4. Morgan, R. 2020. Utah Highway Patrol (dash-camera recording of Utah trooper conducting traffic stop of 5-year-old driver on Utah highway), May 4, 2020. Posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-W-ySng2t8 .
  5. Abernathy, J. R. 2006. Catch ‘em Alive Jack, The Life and Adventures of an American Pioneer. Lincoln, NE: Bison Books/ University of Nebraska Press. See also Marshal Jack Abernathy’s biographic highlights, posted at http://www.budandme.com/catch-em-alive-jack.php .
  6. Abernathy, A, with T. Abernathy. 1998. Bud & Me: The True Adventures of the Abernathy Boys. Irving, TX: Dove Creek Press. See especially pages 13-19 (Jack Abernathy’s wolf-catching adventure with Teddy Roosevelt), pages 20-45 (OK è NM è OK horseback trip), pages 46-89 (OK è NY horseback trip), pages 90-108 (NY è OK roadster car trip); pages 116-150 (NY è CA horseback trip), pages 151-159 (motorcycle trip).  See also the online photo gallery of Bud and Temp, posted at http://www.budandme.com/photo-gallery.php .
  7. Abernathy, M. 2004. Ride the Wind: The Amazing True Story of the Abernathy Boys. Long Riders’ Guild Press (reprint of 1911 book then titled The Rides of the Abernathy Boys). See especially pages 1-65 (OK è NM è OK horseback trip), pages 66-111 (OK è NY horseback trip), pages 112-116 (NY è OK roadster car trip); page 116 (NY è CA horseback trip).
  8. The museum is located in Frederick, Oklahoma, near Wichita Falls, Texas.
  9. Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:16. See also Johnson, J. J. S. 2015. Attracted to Genesis by Magnets and a Bird Book. Acts & Facts. 44(8):19, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/attracted-genesis-by-magnets-bird-book .
    Exploring Oklahoma History - The Adventure of the Abernathy Boys

Not Deer or Bovine, So It Must Be An ‘Antelope’

Bibleworld Adventures has chosen to close down his website, due to a very busy schedule with work and his church ministries. We have decided to move his articles here. Baron has written articles here as Golden Eagle. This will preserve his and Dr. Johnson’s articles for us to enjoy. They are not about birds, but are all very interesting. Most are about a variety of our Creator’s amazing animals. [Will have a link to these pages in the sidebar as Bible World Adventures.]

Originally posted 2017/12/19

NOT DEER OR BOVINE, SO IT MUST BE AN ‘ANTELOPE’

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg [dîshōn], and the wild ox, and the chamois.   (Deuteronomy 14:5)

Addax-Morocco.Haytem93-photo

ADDAX male [photo credit: Haytem93]

Most likely the “Pygarg” [dîshōn] is what today is called an ADDAX.  An ADDAX is a desert-dwelling member of the ANTELOPE family.  [See George Cansdale, ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE BIBLE LANDS (Zondervan, 1976), page 85, saying “Among several quaint animal names found only in the AV [i.e., KJV] is the Pygarg, from Heb. dishon; this is merely a transliteration of the [LXX] Gr. Word meaning ‘white-rumped’, by which [Greeks] had long ago described an antelope. … [The reference in Deuteronomy 14:5] between two animals that are probably desert species, coupled with a long-standing tradition, suggests that this is the Addax, Addax nasomaculatus, a desert antelope classified between the oryx and hartebeests”.]antelope-family.jjsj-PPTslide

But, what is an antelope?

Antelope, and antelope-like animals, live in many different parts of the world—except not in Australia or Antarctica. For examples, pronghorns live mostly in America’s Western prairie states. The oryx live in Israel and many of the Arabian deserts.  The Dorcas gazelle lives in the top half of Africa.  Impalas live in eastern and southern Africa.

Serengeti-migraton-wildebeest-zebra.ZambesiSafari-photo

Wildebeests and Zebras migrate through Serengeti  /  Zambesi Safari photo

The blue wildebeest (also called “gnu”) are famous for their huge migratory herds, that often mix with zebras, that seasonally travel through Tanzania’s Serengeti.  Tibetan antelope, of course, live in Tibet, as well as in neighboring parts of Asia.  The Indian antelope (also called “blackbuck”) lives in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.

GreatMigration-Serengeti.Pinterest

Great Migration (Serengeti & Masai Mara)  image credit: Pinterest

These plant-eating mammals (animals that give mother’s milk to their babies) are different from other four-legged mammals – such as deer, cattle, horses, camels, sheep, goats, pigs, cats, and dogs.

In many ways antelope (and antelope-like animals, like the pronghorns of America’s prairies) are like deer. But unlike deer, which have antlers (that grow and shed each year, then regrow the next year, and are later shed, etc.), antelopes have horns (like cattle, bison, sheep, and goats), which continue to slowly grow out from their heads, anchored to bony roots.

Impala-w-oxpecker.jjsj-PPTslide

Antelopes often live in flat grasslands (such as the grassy prairies of America’s West), where their plant-food is plentiful. However, in grasslands there are usually very few trees, so antelopes cannot hide in forests from other animals (such as mountain lions or wolves), so it is good that God made them to have great speed for running across flat land.  And that is what antelopes (and pronghorns, which are antelope-like animals) often do–with great speed!–when they run away from predators at high speeds—sometimes as fast as 55 miles/hour for a mile, or 42 miles/hour for 2 miles, or 35 miles/hour for 3 miles.Gazelle-foraging.jjsj-PPTslide

Dorcas is the Greek word for a gazelle, which is a member of the antelope family. Because gazelles are graceful and beautiful animals it is unsurprising that girl babies have been named Dorcas, including one who is mentioned in Scripture, in Acts chapter 9.Dorcas-philology.jjsj-PPTslide

Dorcas-Acts-chapter9.jjsj-PPTslide

In North America the primary antelope-like mammal is the PRONGHORN. To learn about this beautiful, graceful, and extremely speedy animals, see “Geography Matters, Illustrated by Pronghorns, Mountain Goats, and Old Testament Warfare”, posted at https://bibleworldadventures.com/2016/08/17/geography-matters-illustrated-by-pronghorns-mountain-goats-and-old-testament-warfare/ .

pronghorn-coming-fast.closeup-turning

When we see beauty, grace, strength, and speed — displayed in antelope (and antelope-like pronghorns) — we are reminded, by these living exhibits of God’s making, that God Himself is amazingly beautiful, graceful, strong, and quick, beyond our comprehension.

Bearded Vulture Visits England’s Oldest National Park

Bearded Vulture Visits England’s Oldest National Park

The only other British sighting of a Bearded Vulture occurred back in 2016 in Monmouthshire.2

This bird of prey has a commanding presence—it’s huge and hairy-looking! The bearded vulture is large: 3-4 feet long with a wingspan of 7-9 feet. It can weigh 10-17 pounds, with females being slightly larger than males. Unlike other vultures, the bearded vulture is not “bald-headed.” In fact, bristles under its chin look like a raggedly “beard,” hence the bird’s name.3

Birdwatchers have flocked to the moors to see the bearded vulture, which has only been seen once before in the UK, the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said. But the trust’s Tim Birch said it “couldn’t have come to a worse spot in terms of bird of prey persecution”. … Mr Birch said as it was coming up to grouse shooting season, there were fears the rare raptor could be intentionally poisoned or shot. … However Richard Bailey, gamekeeper and co-ordinator of the Peak District Moorland Group, said “suggestions that this vulture is at risk from attack by gamekeepers” were wrong.1

Admittedly, the bearded vulture has a rough, if not thuggish, reputation. In Germany it is called lammergeier, meaning “lamb-hawk,” due to its habit of preying on lambs—not a positive reputation in agricultural communities. Also called “ossifrage” (meaning bone-breaker), about 80% of the bearded vulture’s diet is animal bone marrow, mostly from mammal bones, but also from bird bones.3,4

[Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s] Birch said the bearded vulture fed mainly on bones from carcasses, very rarely on live prey, and could swallow bones whole, which were dissolved in its stomach.1

Although scavenging can provide needed food, especially during the breeding season, these vultures often attack live prey, such as hares, rock hyraxes, marmots, and even monitor lizards. More so than predatory hawks or eagles, bearded vultures often attack larger mammals, such as sheep or goats, which are dropped from heights onto rocky surfaces to break their bones. Bearded vultures also grab turtles and drop them from heights to crack open their shells.3,5

Meanwhile, to say this mountain-dwelling bird is rare—only the second time ever observed in Great Britain—is an understatement.

Birdwatcher Indy Kiemel Greene, 15, who photographed the bearded vulture on Sunday, shared the trust’s fears for its safety. He said: “Unfortunately this bird is at great risk because the location that it’s at in the Derbyshire Peaks is well-known for raptor persecution….”1

Its preferred habitat is a high-altitude mix of rocky crags, cliffs, canyons, and montane gorges. So what is it now doing in England’s Peak District anyway?

[Tim Birch] said it was thought the raptor had come from the French or Swiss Alps, where the endangered species is being reintroduced. About 500 birdwatchers have come to catch a glimpse of the bird from all over the UK, as well as France, Spain and the Netherlands. … It is thought the bird could stay in the area for a couple of weeks if it has found food before eventually returning to the Alps.1

For birdwatchers (and videographers) who can visit the Peak District National Park, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime. But if you visit the park with a pet poodle, keep your pet leashed and very close to you. No need to take a chance.

References
1. Burman, H. Fears for Bearded Vulture Spotted in the Peak DistrictBBC News. Posted on bbc.com July 14, 2020, accessed July 16, 2020.
2. Staff writer. Bearded Vulture Spotted Near Severn BridgeBBC News. Posted on bbc.com May 17, 2016, accessed July 16, 2020.
3. Jonsson, L. 1993. Birds of Europe, with North Africa and the Middle East. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (transl. by David Christie), page 124. See also Clark, W. S. 1999. A Field Guide to the Raptors of Europe, the Middle east, and North Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Pres, pages 56-60 & 302-303, plus Plate 12.
4. Obviously, bearded vultures are not the only predators adept at cracking and crushing bones of their prey—lions have earned a similar reputation (Daniel 6:24).
5. Other large-winged birds of prey are noted for dropping their victims in order to prepare them for ingestion. For example, near Jerusalem, eagles soar while scouting for mammals or reptiles; these same eagles are known to snatch tortoises, and to “kill [them] by dropping and smashing [the tortoises] on rocks from high in the air” (Quoting Noel and Helen Snyder. 1991. Birds of Prey. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 164).

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.

JAMES J. S. JOHNSON, J.D., TH.D. *  |

[Re-posted from ICR article at https://www.icr.org/article/bearded-vulture-visit-england-oldest-national-park ]

Reposted here with Dr. Jim’s permission and at his request. (Lee)

 

See Also:

James J. S. Johnson’s other articles here

Birds of the Bible – Name Study ~ Ossifrage

Birds of the Bible – Gathering of Vultures or Eagles

Gannet Blown Off-Course, by Strong Winds

Gannet Blown Off-Course, by Strong Winds

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

For Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. (Isaiah 25:4)

Gannet at Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire England (Wikipedia photo credit)

What is an oceanic fish-eating seabird doing atop an inland trampoline in England? That was the question, recently, when a North Atlantic Gannet was seen resting on a British trampoline.(1)

Later, the weary-looking gannet moved to a garden, before it was gently captured by a resident (using a towel), who turned the poor seabird over to animal carers, who should return the bird to the wild after its health is aptly rehabilitated.

A seabird native to the North Atlantic has been rescued by the RSPCA after it took up residence in a Norfolk garden. Dawn Austin discovered the gannet resting on a trampoline in her North Wootton garden on Tuesday [June 2, 2020] and contacted vets when it did not fly away. … [Someone with] the RSPCA [Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] said there were no “obvious injuries” but the gannet was “very weak” and vets were doing all they could to help him. … feeding him three times a day as he was unable to feed himself, but they hoped that “having a chance to rest and recover” would help him “find the strength to pull through”.(1)

But gannets are seabirds—they belong at sea, not on trampolines! Gannets are gregarious seagulls that go far offshore to scoop up North Atlantic fish.

Gannets are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and can dive at speeds of 60mph (96.5kmh) to catch fish.(1)

The largest seabirds in the North Atlantic can travel hundreds of miles from their homes just to catch food. … by following their elders. Scientists recorded thousands of [these] seabirds commuting to and from the Bass Rock, in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland.(2)

So how did the ocean-faring gannet end up resting on an inland trampoline? The animal protection charity guessed that the bird “was blown off course”.(1)

This is understandable, since the British Isles (and their coastal waters) have been experiencing some weird weather lately.(3)

Gannet flying over the Celtic Sea, near Ireland (Wikipedia photo credit)

Meanwhile, being blown off-course can change an individual’s destiny, and thus also he destinies of progeny who descend from that individual.(4)

And, in some cases, a ship being blown off-course can lead to world-changing consequences.(5),(6)

Consider how the apostle Paul, and those traveling with him in a boat, were blown off-course—and eventually shipwrecked off the coast of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea.(5) Paul’s ministry unto Maltese individuals would not have occurred had it not been for the “accidental” shipwreck that providentially occurred there.(6)

Likewise, the Mayflower Separatists (“Pilgrims”) who sailed west in A.D.1620—400 years ago—were blown off-course, reaching (and settling in) what is now part of Massachusetts, rather than territory farther south (in “Virginia”, which then stretched up to the Hudson River) as planned.(5)

Yet God’s providence, seen in hindsight, makes sense of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth—and thus the Pilgrims were forced to establish their own Scripture-based form of colonial self-government, rather than the Pilgrims arriving in “Virginia” territory, to merely join a preexisting colony south of Plymouth.(5)

Being blown off-course can be scary, to be sure—losing control (or, or put more accurately), losing the feeling of being in control) is usually a nerve-wracking experience. Yet God is in control—even in the storms of life.(7)

Morus bassanus adu.jpg
Gannet aloft (photo credit: Andreas Trepte / Wikipedia)

References

And, providentially speaking, sometimes an unexpected destination includes some unexpected help from strangers, such as Squanto and Hobomok, if you are a Mayflower Pilgrim. Or, if you are a wind-tossed seabird like a North Atlantic gannet, the help might come from Dawn Austin and some RSPCA vets.(8)

  1. Staff writer. 2020. North Atlantic Gannet Found on Norfolk Trampoline. BBC News – England (June 5, 2020), posted at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-52938253 .  
  2. “By demonstrating that young gannets follow more experienced adults, we have shown that knowledge about the best feeding grounds may be being passed down from generation to generation.” Staff writer. 2019. Scientists Solve Mystery Behind How Gannets Hunt for Fish. BBC News – Scotland (November 1, 2019), posted athttps://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-50267180 . See also Wakefield, E. W., R. W. Furness, et al. 2019. Immature Gannets Follow Adults in Commuting Flocks Providing a Potential Mechanism for Social Learning. Journal of Avian Biology. Posted (September 18, 2019) at  https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.02164
  3. “A top climate scientist has called for more investment in climate computing to explain the UK’s recent topsy-turvy weather.” Harrabin, R. 2020. Weird weather: Can computers solve UK puzzle? BBC News – England (June 5, 2020), posted at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52921479 .
  4. Johnson, J. S. S. 2014. People Yet to Be Created. Acts & Facts. 43(11):20, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/people-yet-be-created .
  5. It was 400 years ago that the Mayflower providentially sailed for America, arriving at Plymouth (Massachusetts). See James J. S. Johnson, Mechanical Multi-tasking on the Mayflower. Acts & Facts. 46(11):21 (November 2017), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/mechanical-multitasking-mayflower .  See also James J. S. Johnson, Maple Syrup, Gold Nanoparticles, and Gratitude. Creation Science Update (May 25, 2020), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/maple-syrup-gold-nanoparticles-and-gratitude . The Spanish Armada’s disastrous experiences with “freak” storms during 1588 would be another example of sea-storms with historic consequences.
  6. Regarding the apostle Paul’s providential visit to and ministry at Malta, via shipwreck, see Acts 27:6-28:11.
  7. God is our personal refuge in all of the storms of life. Isaiah 25:4.
  8. God cares for birds at the individual level. Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:6-7.
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