“Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.” (Daniel 4:33 NASB)
In the Birds of the Bible, we’ve written about this verse before Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagles Feathers, but it came up again today. In our devotions this morning, we read chapter 8 of Daniel. Along with the reading from it, we were reading our notes from various Study Bibles.
Actually, the original article covers most of this about the king, but we read an interesting fact about his behavior. The fact that Nebuchadnezzar was eating grass like cattle is amazing.
This is from the King James Study Bible for Daniel “4:33. Two important questions arise from this incident: (1) Could it happen to a man? and (2) Could it have happened to Nebuchadnezzar? The answer to both questions is Yes. There is a mental illness known as zoanthropy in which a man thinks and acts like an animal. It is also called boanthropy, more specifically, when a man thinks of himself as an ox. In answer to the second question, this illness is not mentioned in Nebuchadnezzar’s annals, but one would not expect such a humiliating experience to be chronicled. On the other hand, his long reign of 43 years (605–562 b.c.) is more than long enough to include the lengthy sickness.”
The best part of this Bible story of Nebuchadnezzar, is how this ends. He come to his senses, and looks toward heaven, as we all should:
Daniel 8:34 “But at the end of [ae]that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my [af]reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account, But He does according to His will among the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can [ag]fend off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
36 At that time my [ah]reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were [ai]restored to me for the honor of my kingdom, and my state counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my [aj]sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me.37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are [ak]true and His ways [al]just; and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Links and scripture from Bible Gateway)
“Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalms 103:5 KJV)
“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)
Gier eagleHeb. raham = “parental affection,” Leviticus 11:18 ; Deuteronomy 14:17 ; RSV, “vulture”), a species of vulture living entirely on carrion. “It is about the size of a raven; has an almost triangular, bald, and wrinkled head, a strong pointed beak, black at the tip, large eyes and ears, the latter entirely on the outside, and long feet.” It is common in Egypt, where it is popularly called “Pharaoh’s chicken” (the Neophron percnopterus), and is found in Palestine only during summer. Tristram thinks that the Hebrew name, which is derived from a root meaning “to love,” is given to it from the fact that the male and female bird never part company.
“The Egyptian vulture is a small Old World vulture and the only member of the genus Neophron. It is widely distributed; the Egyptian vulture is found from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to India.”
“It is widely distributed; the Egyptian vulture is found from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to India. The contrasting underwing pattern and wedge-shaped tail make it distinctive in flight as it soars in thermals during the warmer parts of the day. Egyptian vultures feed mainly on carrion but are opportunistic and will prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles. They also feed on the eggs of other birds, breaking larger ones by tossing a large pebble onto them.”
“The use of tools is rare in birds and apart from the use of a pebble as a hammer, Egyptian vultures also use twigs to roll up wool for use in their nest. Egyptian vultures that breed in the temperate regions migrate south in winter while tropical populations are relatively sedentary.” Wikipedia
Whatever this bird is called, I still wouldn’t want to eat it.
Have you ever heard of someone described as being “wise as an owl”? I suppose, more than anything else, that the owl’s large head and wide-open eyes mark him out as a symbol of wisdom. In any case, he is a remarkable bird, wonderfully designed and fitted by the wisdom and power of the Creator for his peculiar life. At night he is able to see far better than in the day; and in the day he is able to safely hide himself from his enemies.
Can you see in the dark?
Are you wise like the owl? Are you able to see in the night? Do you wonder what I mean? Let me try to tell you…
You see, sin has produced spiritual darkness in this world—a darkness so great that when Jesus was here as the Light of the world, “men loved darkness rather than Light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). And what did they do? They crucified Him because they did not want Him; they did not love Him. They did not see Him to be the Son of God who came to shed His blood and to die so that sinners like you and me might be saved.
Let me ask you: Do you know Him as the Son of God who died for you? Do you love Him? If so, then you, like the owl, have wide-open eyes in this time of night caused by the Lord Jesus Christ’s absence from this world. If you do not, then BE WISE and trust Him as your Saviour. Then you will be able to say with the blind man who Jesus healed, “One thing I KNOW, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).
White-fronted Scops Owl (Otus sagittatus) by MAMuin
Are you safe from the enemy?
Are you wise like the owl? Are you able to safely hide yourself in the day? Again, do you wonder what I mean? Let me tell you…
This is the daytime of God’s salvation and grace, but do you know that the enemy of your soul stalks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour? Who is that, do you ask? It is none other than Satan, the Devil, who has many deceitful tricks to make you fall into his hands. You are no match for his power nor his cunning, so you need a refuge from him—a hiding place for your soul. Is there such a hiding place? Yes! The Hiding Place is the same One who gives light so the wise may see. It is the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 32:7). He is referred to as the ROCK of our Salvation (Psalm 95:1)—the place of strength, safety and security. He defeated the Devil at the Cross where He was smitten for our sins, and became the “Rock of Ages” cleft for sinners. Your safety depends solely upon hiding in Him. There is no other salvation for you than in the Lord Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
How to be wise
BE WISE! Come to the Lord Jesus Christ NOW! How do you come? Come just as you are, confessing to Him that you are a sinner, and tell Him you believe He died for your sins on Calvary. He will then become your Saviour.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
You will then have in Jesus Christ a Light in the darkness, and a Hiding Place from danger and judgment for time and eternity. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
“Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust,and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.”
Ostriches are certainly comical looking birds. Whenever I see a picture of one, it certainly makes me smile. Mind you, if you meet one up close, you might not laugh so much because they can cause a lot of damage with their legs, and particularly with their feet. But where ostriches come to our notice, as biblical Christians, is that many people think that the Bible is completely mistaken about ostriches, and, therefore, these supposed errors invalidate Scripture.
The main contentious verse is in Job 39. In this chapter, God is telling Job about the various things that He has created to silence Job and show him that his complaints are irrelevant. In verses 14 and 15, the accusation is that the ostrich is pictured as stupid for leaving its eggs in the sand and accidentally crushing them. Then, we are told, the Bible tells us that the mother ostrich forgets, or even neglects, her young.
Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee
Actually, much of this is based on a false anthropomorphism. We should not expect that an animal is going to show human characteristics. In any case, the mother ostrich does tend to leave her young because the care of newly hatched chicks seems to be the job of the father ostrich, so there is no error in what the Bible is claiming.
So when were ostriches created? They are clearly birds, but they appear designed to live on land. We must assume, therefore, that God made them on Day Six.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your wisdom in creation, and, like Job, we must stand with our mouths stopped, in awe at Your greatness. Amen.
Again, the birds have been returning home. It’s fall, and time for the winter birds to arrive down here in Florida. Since birdwatching, for “real”, has slowed down outside my windows, the birds have been returning in droves here on my computer. In the last few days, I was able to reactivate almost 50 more articles for the “Birds Illustrated by Color Photography” series. To be honest, I had forgotten how much work had gone into producing these. Trust you will take some time to look through many of these. There are some really interesting birds sounds and videos in quite a few of them.
Enjoy, and Stay Tuned! as they continue to return back to our Kid’s Section. These are actually for “Kids of All Ages”!
“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)
Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina) male by Raymond Barlow
Volume #1 and #2 are now active again here. There are twenty articles to read. These were originally posted around 2012 here, but they were originally written in 1897. Birds Illustrated by Color Photography Volume 1, Number 1, January 1897 and Volume 1, Number 2, February 1897
When you look at the Vol1 #2 articles, there are old photos of advertisements back then (1897) that are quite interesting. I enjoyed re-reading these again while I was moving the post back. If you have the time, you just might enjoy these:
Ad for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
“Does the eagle mount up at your command, And make its nest on high?” (Job 39:27 NKJV)
McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling.
Here is a story of The Eagle from the Fourth Grade Reader. (From Gutenberg) Pictures are current photos.
Bald Eagle (close up) LP Zoo by Lee
XXIX. THE EAGLE. (84)
1. The eagle seems to enjoy a kind of supremacy over the rest of the inhabitants of the air. Such is the loftiness of his flight, that he often soars in the sky beyond the reach of the naked eye, and such is his strength that he has been known to carry away children in his talons. But many of the noble qualities imputed to him are rather fanciful than true.
2. He has been described as showing a lofty independence, which makes him disdain to feed on anything that is not slain by his own strength. But Alexander Wilson, the great naturalist, says that he has seen an eagle feasting on the carcass of a horse. The eagle lives to a great age. One at Vienna is stated to have died after a confinement of one hundred and four years.
3. There are several species of the eagle. The golden eagle, which is one of the largest, is nearly four feet from the point of the beak to the end of the tail. He is found in most parts of Europe, and is also met with in America. High rocks and ruined and lonely towers are the places which he chooses for his abode. His nest is composed of sticks and rushes. The tail feathers are highly valued as ornaments by the American Indians.
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by AestheticPhotos
4. The most interesting species is the bald eagle, as this is an American bird, and the adopted emblem of our country. He lives chiefly upon fish, and is found in the neighborhood of the sea, and along the shores and cliffs of our large lakes and rivers.
5. According to the description given by Wilson, he depends, in procuring his food, chiefly upon the labors of others. He watches the fish hawk as he dives into the sea for his prey, and darting down upon him as he rises, forces him to relinquish his victim, and then seizes it before it again reaches the water.
Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014
6. One of the most notable species is the harpy eagle. This is said to be bold and strong, and to attack beasts, and even man himself. He is fierce, quarrelsome, and sullen, living alone in the deepest forests. He is found chiefly in South America.
Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii) by Ian
The Project Gutenberg EBook of McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader by William Holmes McGuffey
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at gutenberg.net
Jean Ingelow (b. 1830, d.1897) was born at Boston, Lincolnshire, England. Her fame as a poetess was at once established upon the publication of her “Poems” in 1863; since which time several other volumes have appeared. The most generally admired of her poems are “Songs of Seven” and “The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire,” She has also written several successful novels, of which, “Off the Skelligs” is the most popular. “Stories Told to a Child,” “The Cumberers,” “Poor Mat,” “Studies for Stories,” and “Mopsa, the Fairy” are also well known. Miss Ingelow resided in London, England, and spent much of her time in deeds of charity.
1. A nightingale made a mistake;
She sang a few notes out of tune:
Her heart was ready to break,
And she hid away from the moon.
She wrung her claws, poor thing,
But was far too proud to weep;
She tucked her head under her wing,
And pretended to be asleep.
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
2. A lark, arm in arm with a thrush,
Came sauntering up to the place;
The nightingale felt herself blush,
Though feathers hid her face;
She knew they had heard her song,
She felt them snicker and sneer;
She thought that life was too long,
And wished she could skip a year.
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Reinier Munguia
3. “O nightingale!” cooed a dove;
“O nightingale! what’s the use?
You bird of beauty and love,
Why behave like a goose?
Don’t sulk away from our sight,
Like a common, contemptible fowl;
You bird of joy and delight,
Why behave like an owl?
4. “Only think of all you have done;
Only think of all you can do;
A false note is really fun
From such a bird as you!
Lift up your proud little crest,
Open your musical beak;
Other birds have to do their best,
You need only to speak!”
6. The nightingale shyly took
Her head from under her wing,
And, giving the dove a look,
Straightway began to sing.
There was never a bird could pass;
The night was divinely calm;
And the people stood on the grass
To hear that wonderful psalm.
Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff
6. The nightingale did not care,
She only sang to the skies;
Her song ascended there,
And there she fixed her eyes.
The people that stood below
She knew but little about;
And this tale has a moral, I know,
If you’ll try and find it out.
DEFINITIONS.—2. Saun’ter-ing, wandering idly, strolling. Snick’er, to laugh in a half-suppressed manner. 4. Crest, a tuft growing on an animal’s head. 5. Di-vine’ly, in a supreme degree. 6. Mor’al, the practical lesson which anything is fitted to teach.
NOTE.—The nightingale is a small bird, about six inches in length, with a coat of dark-brown feathers above and of grayish, white beneath. Its voice is astonishingly strong and sweet, and, when wild, it usually sings throughout the evening and night from April to the middle of summer. The bird is common in Europe, but is not found in America.
“The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;” (Song of Solomon 2:12 KJV)
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
(Ephesians 5:19 KJV)
and the red kite, the falcon, and the kite in their kinds, (Deuteronomy 14:13 NASB)
In the Birds of the Bible – Hidden Covenant Part 3, I mistakenly placed this photo of a Swallow-tailed Kite instead of a Swallow. I have since fixed my mistake. A J was talking about the Swallows observing the time of their coming and he used Jeremiah 8:7.
Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)
The reason I mixed them up is because right now, in this area, the Swallow-tailed Kites are being spotted. I have seen a single one three times and just the other day, Dan and I had two of them skim over the top of trees, right in front of us. They have been in the area for a month or so, and soon they will move on again. They “Observe the time of their coming.” Thus the mistake on my part.
They may be one of the Birds of Prey, but they were beautifully created by the Lord. They are so graceful and enjoyable to watch. I am always amazed at the Creator’s use of such variety in the birds and in all the other neat things around us.
God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good (suitable, admirable) and He approved it. (Genesis 1:21 AMP)
According to the Audubon WatchList, “Two subspecies found in the Americas. Northern subspecies (Elanoides forficatus forficatus) breeds in small sections of seven southeastern U.S. states and in southern Mexico. Members of this group migrate to South America in the late summer. Southern subspecies (Elanoides forficatus yetapa) found through much of South America. The estimated U.S. population of approximately 10,000 birds now breeds in fragmented populations from South Carolina south to Florida and west to Louisiana/Texas border with largest known populations in northern Florida. Formerly bred north to Minnesota and west through Texas to Mexico. Significant populations remain in Florida and along the Pascagoula River in Mississippi.”
I really enjoy seeing these Kites because you just have to be looking in the right direction at the right time. Every time they have been spotted by us, they just sort of “appear” over the tops of the trees. They skim so low, that when they come over you, you either see them or you don’t.
Kites are of course one of our Bible Birds – (Glede and Kites).They are mentioned twice in Scripture in the list of “unclean” birds in Leviticus 11:14 and Deuteronomy 14:13. Each time “after its kind” is given. So, our Swallow-tailed Kite is one of those kinds and would like to introduce you to this amazing bird that is so neat to watch flying. When they spread that tail of theirs, it is just super neat.
The Swallow-tailed Kite is a member of the Accipitridae Family (Kites, Hawks & Eagles) Family in the Order Accipitriformes. They are considered Abundance Common according the Thayer Birding software.
They are 24 inches (60 cm) with a very long black forked tail, white head, chest, belly and leading portion of underwing. Their flight feathers are black and their back is also black.
They are a medium-sized, graceful, long-winged, long-tailed hawk with pointed wings, a short, dark, hooked bill. The males and females are similar.
Adults have a long, deeply forked tail. white head, neck, chest, underwing coverts, belly, and undertail coverts, a slate gray back and upperwings, black tail and flight feathers. Whereas the immature is duller than adult with fine streaks on head and breast and has a shorter, less deeply-forked tail than adult.
Thayer also says of their habitat and behavior – ” Wet open woodlands, bottomlands, wooded river swamps, marshes, wetlands, and along rivers, ponds and lakes. Agile and graceful in flight. Eats in flight by bending head and neck under body to eat prey held in talon. Will drink in flight, much like a swallow. Gregarious. Will sweep low over open fields and grasslands to catch food or soar very high for flying insects.”
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) by Africaddict
The Swallow-tails like to breed in “Lowland forest, especially swampy areas extending into open woodland. 1 brood. Mating system is monogamous. Displays are In flight: easy sailing, curving chase often over water. On perch: mutual approach on horizontal limb, face-off, female quickly turns or backs under limb. They also do courtship feeding.
The nest is usually in treetop concealed by thick foliage and they place it on a foundation of preceding year’s nest. It consist of sticks, twigs, moss, pine needles, leaves, lichen. Lined with fine materials, few feathers. Both sexes help with nest construction.
The eggs are white, marked with browns, occasionally lavender, often concentrated at end. 1.8” (47 mm). Both sexes incubate. with Incubation taking 28 days. Development is semialtricial (immobile, downy, eyes open, fed). Young are able to fly after 36-42 days. Both sexes tend young.
The spend their winters from Colombia and Venezuela S. Marsh drainage, deforestation, and shooting are responsible for reduction in population and range.
Miscellaneous notes; Occasionally nest in loose colonies of a few pairs. Bathe and drink by skimming water surface like swallow. Occasionally soar at great heights. Up to 200 pieces used in nest, carried individually, may require up to 800 miles of flight. Formerly known as American Swallow-tailed Kite; changed by AOU in 1996.
From Thayer Birding Software, The Birder’s Handbook, Wikipedia, and other internet sources.
“But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,” (Deuteronomy 14:12 KJV)
The Osprey is another bird on the “Do Not Eat” list. Here in central Florida, we see Ospreys quite frequently. Their nest are usually noticeable on platforms placed for them. On a road between Eagle Lake and Bartow, (which I have renamed “Osprey Road”) there is a nest in the V structure of almost every power distribution pole. There are at least 15-20 nests in about a mile or so. The Ospreys will show up after the first of the year and stay for about 4 months while they breed and raise their young.
Osprey Family by Phillip Simmons
The Osprey is in a family by itself. They are widely distributed around the world. They are closely related to the Hawk and the Falcon. They are 21-24 inches long with a wingspan of 54-72 inches. The females are slightly larger and both look alike. Their diet is almost entirely fish, but they do eat small rodents and birds. When fishing, they fly 30 to 100 feet above the water and will hover when they find a fish. They will plunge into the water with their feet under them to catch the fish. “Rises from water with fish gripped in both feet, pauses in midair to shake water from plumage, and to arrange fish with the head pointed forward, which reduces its resistance to air, flies with it to” perch or nest to feed young. Can carry up to four or more pounds.
God has designed the Osprey with several interesting features. Their feet have four equal length toes with “long, strong claws, curved about one-third of a circle, and completely round.” “The lower surface, or pads, of the toes are covered with spicules, which help it hold slippery fishes; also, it is the only hawk that has outer toe reversible as in owls; this enables it to grasp its prey with two toes in front, tow in back. Its plumage is compact, which helps blunt its impact and reduces wetting when it plunges into the water.”
All quotes from (The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds).
“Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.” (Psalms 104:17 KJV)
Bible Birds – Storks at Zoo Tampa
Birds mentioned in the Bible include the Storks. The Yellow-billed Stork is closely related to the Wood Stork. [Bible Birds – Wood Storks]
The Yellow-billed Stork has a very yellow beak and like other storks, it is quite long. They live in “Africa South of Sahara, Madagascar; straggles into Palearctic Africa in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.”
These storks are 90–105 cm (35–41 in) tall and have a wingspan 150–165 cm (59-65 in). Males average larger. Non breeding adult has plumage and bare parts duller. Immature duller, especially bare.
Here are some photos of the Yellow-billed Stork taken at Zoo Tampa recently:
Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) Wet at Jacksonville Zoo