Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 10/19/16


Owl in the Desert ©Alan Dommy



“I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert.” (Psalms 102:6 NKJV)

Owl in the Desert ©Alan Dommy


More Daily Devotionals

Birds of the Bible – Owls


Birdwatching On Board The Ark Encounter – The Provisions I

The Door of the Ark by Lee

The Door of the Ark by Lee

This is the third article in the Birdwatching On Board the Ark Encounter. Below are links to the other articles. This time I would like to share some of the ways they showed how critters and birds were provided with provisions to sustain them. [All the bolding is added emphasis by me.]

In Genesis 6, the God was instructing Noah about building an Ark with all the directions or instructions. Then He informs Adam that his family and the critters are to be onboard also. They were to “keep them alive.”

Genesis 6:18-22 KJV
(18) “But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
(19) And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
(20) Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
(21) And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
(22) Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

How Could They...?

How Could They…?

That is a huge undertaking. How would they do that? On the Ark Encounter, it was interesting to see how they visualized this part of their commission to keep the critters alive, especially the birds. That is what this is concentrated on. Also, that same command was given again in:

Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. (Genesis 7:3 KJV)

They Went In the Ark

They Went In the Ark

They went in:

“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” (Genesis 7:11 KJV)

And came out:

“And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” (Genesis 8:13-17 KJV)

Now if we do the math, Adam, his family, and the critters were in the ark at least one year and 10 days. That is a lot of provisions to have on board! So, let’s see how the Ark Encounter stored their provisions and provided for all on board.

Here are some of the ways thy stored water and grain:

Now that they have provisions stored, the next photos are food preparations for the humans, I suspect:

In the first articles of the series, you were shown the birds and their cages, but now, they have to be fed. Here are some of the photos from the Ark Encounter suggesting how some of this could have taken place. [Please forgive the photos, they were shot in low light, after all the Ark didn’t have modern lights and fluorescent lighting like today.] I tried to get as many close-ups of the signs as I could. Reading their signs is how the different operations are explained.

As I have been putting this together, it appears we will need a part II. Stay tuned!


See Also:

Birdwatching On Board the Ark Encounter – The Doves
Birdwatching On Board the Ark Encounter – More Birds
Avian Kinds on the Ark – Introduction
Avian Kinds on the Ark – What Is A Kind?
Avian Kinds on the Ark – Birds Embarking


Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 10/11/16


Stork At Their Nest ©Science Photo Library



“Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.” (Psalm 104:17)

Storks At Their Nest ©Science Photo Library


More Daily Devotionals


Bird of the Bible – Stork


Making a Joyful Noise in Estonia’s Tallinn: A Quick Memoir of Common Swifts

Making a Joyful Noise in Estonia’s Tallinn: A Quick Memoir of Common Swifts

James J. S. Johnson


COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus)    photo credit: Jiri Bohdal

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.   (Psalm 100:1)

What is making a “joyful noise”? It is commanded is Scripture, whatever it is – see Psalm 66:1; 81:1; 95:1-2; 98:4; 98:4; 100:1.

To many, the noise of circuitous swifts is just that, a screeching-like screaming noise — not the kind of “music” that King David would have included in his orchestra-supported choir (1st Chronicles 15:16). But to a bird-lover, the aerial call of this air-zooming insectivore is a “joyful noise”, installed and directed by the Composer and Giver of all birdsong (and other avian vocalizations).

Yes, as other ignore them, I enjoy hearing the energetic calls of Common Swifts (Apus apus), as they zip around, in hunting packs, de-bugging the lower airspace during the bug-filled days of summer.


COMMON  SWIFT  flock  in  air   (photo credit:  Biopix; J C Schou)

On July 10th of AD2006 I was watching a flock of swifts circling above the rooftops in Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia. The flock’s high-speed-choreography included swerving, veering, soaring, turning, rolling, and circling maneuvers — always in graceful curves, yet nonetheless amazingly quick – in a word, “swift”. It was done so fluidly that it compares, though at a smaller-group level, with the carefully choreographed flock-flights of starling murmurations (which are described elsewhere at “Choreographed Choir on the Wing: Birds of a Feather Flock Together:).

It was a privilege to see such a lively and speedy display of God’s bioengineering, a fly-by performance, like a high-speed aerial parade. And the quaint old-town venue, Tallinn’s “Old Town”, still includes walls and towers from the Hanseatic League era (some 2 or 3 centuries older than the Protestant Reformation), providing an air of calm busyness that matched the swifts’ quick-turning air-dance.

The COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus) is, as its name suggests, a bird that is both common and quick. As a true “swift”, having wings curved like a parenthesis (or boomerang, or crescent-sliver), it somewhat resembles a short-legged version of a Barn Swallow or Purple Martin, colored in black and grey, although its wings are narrower and more sickle-shaped in flight. When viewed from beneath, a swift’s silhouette (against the sky) almost looks like an anchor, as it glides. And swifts often glide, often circling above or near rooftops and other objects. When they want to accelerate, their wingbeats are thorough and (unsurprisingly) swift. The super-short legs are used for clinging to walls and other vertical surfaces, matching the German name for this bird, Mauersegler (“wall-glider”). Don’t expect to see this bird sitting on the ground – if it is “grounded” there is probably an involuntary explanation.


COMMON SWIFT range map (Wikipedia)

And “common” it is, in summer, all over Europe (and ranging from west to east across the middle band of Asia, as well as much of the Mideast and India). This insect-gobbling bird is a migrant, going where the bugs are plentiful — before the “bug famine” of Eurasia’s winter months the Common Swift migrates to the southern half of Africa, where bugs teem (during Africa’s summer months). Swifts and swiftlets are found all over the inhabited words, i.e., anywhere that flying insects are available for “eating on the fly”. Consider these illustrative examples: Black Swift (all over North America, from Canada to Costa Rica and Brazil), White-fronted Swift (forests in Mexico), Great Dusky Swift (many forests of South America), Sooty Swift (many forests of South America), White-chinned Swift (Central and South America), Cave Swiftlet (caves and woods of India, Indonesia, and Malaysia), Himalayan Swiftlet (common to the Himalayan range and Southeast Asia) — just to list a few. One of the rarest swifts is the Seychelles Swiftlet (a subspecies or cousin of the smaller Mascarene Swiftlet of Mauritius and Reunion (both being east-of-Madagascar islands in the Indian Ocean). The Seychelles Swift is found only on the Seychelles Islands east of Africa (and north of Madagascar), in the Indian Ocean. (See postage stamp – public domain image)


SEYCHELLES  SWIFTLET       [public domain]

An even rarer swiftlet is the Atiu Swiftlet, endemic to the small island of Atiu (in the Cook Islands archipelago). That cave-loving swiftlet has been described in connection with appreciating Gospel Days in the Cook Islands.


Atiu Swiftlet (Aerodramus sawtelli a.k.a Kopeka)

Atiu Swiftlet (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now back to the COMMON SWIFT, such as those who circled the air near the rooftops of Old Town, Tallinn (Estonia), that summer afternoon in AD2006.

The Common Swift’s visible physical and behavioral traits have been aptly summarized by the co-authors whose bird-book I used on that summer afternoon in Tallinn:

 Dark, scythe-winged aerial feeder seen careening through sky in characteristic noisy, screaming parties. Flies in lower airspace early and late in day [when flying insects are out and about], and in wet weather. Spends virtually entire life … on the wing, coming to land only to nest. Larger than Barn Swallow, unlike which it never perches on wires or vegetation. Adult [has] uniform blackish-brown plumage relieved only by whitish chin. Very long, narrow, swept-back wings and [relatively] fat, cigar-shaped body give illusion that bird is bigger than it really is. Clearly forked tail lacks Swallow’s streamers and is often held tightly closed. Bill tiny. Sexes alike; similar juvenile has narrow pale feather edgings.

Nest colonially beneath eaves of buildings, less often in caves or hollow trees.

Enters site at breakneck speed and is only rarely seen perched below, clinging to walls with tiny legs and feet (unusually, all four toes face forwards).  Breeds commonly in built-up areas, but travels huge distances to feed. Typically seen in parties of 10—100 birds, but congregates in massive swarms on spring and autumn migration, especially over wetlands and reservoirs. Flight action varied: either very fast with twinkling wingbeats or slower, with sudden flurries of wingbeats and glides on wings stiffly outstretched and slightly bowed down. Jinks, rises and falls with quick flick of wings and briefly spread tail as it gulps insect prey in [relatively] huge, gaping mouth.

Shrill, piercing screaming call, sree, is the essence of warm summer evenings.

[Quoting Chris Kightley, Steve Madge, & Dave Nurney, POCKET GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF BRITAIN AND NORTH-WEST EUROPE (Yale University Press, 1998), page 174.]

And what kind of town is Estonia’s Tallinn? It is the main port and capital of Estonia, a land weary of foreign occupations.


Old Town, Tallinn, Estonia (photo credit: Wikipedia)

The native Estonians (who maybe felt like helpful bugs, trying to escape hungry predators), century after century, has been parasitized (and preyed upon) by many opportunists who — like busy Common Swifts — swiftly (or sometimes slowly) inserted themselves onto Estonia’s Baltic coastland, sometimes colonizing and sometimes content with controlling the flow of trade.

A quick [i.e., “swift”] summary of Estonia’s serial occupations by neighboring armies follows. Perhaps the reader can consider these back-and-forth conquests of the Estonian lands, and imagine how the “caught-in-the-middle” Estonians, of generation after generation after generation, lived, as their land changed from colony to battlefield to colony, etc.

Estonia’s sequence of political phases may be condensed to 24 episodes, namely: (1) the Viking era … (800s through 1200); (2) wars with Germany’s Bishop Albert of Livonia and the Sword Brethren (1208-1227); (3) Denmark intervenes and begins to rule Tallinn [from taani linn, meaning “Dane fort”, with the city continuing to be called by its German name, “Reval”], due to Danish King Valdemar II’s conquest … [resulting in] Estonia being occupied by a mix of Danes and Germans by 1220); (4) political decline of the ethnic-German “Sword Brethren” of Livonia, due to Lithuanian militarism … followed by merger of the Livonian Sword Brethren with Prussia’s Teutonic Knights [as Lithuania flourished]; (5) Danish-German domination of Estonia [with the Hanseatic League controlling Estonia’s economy] ; (6) decline of the militaristic Prussian Teutonic Knights, due to Russian militarism aided by Estonian and Latvian conscripted soldiers … [e.g., Alexandr Nevskii’s “Battle on the Ice” victory in AD1242]; (7) political association with, and domination by, the plutocratic “super-merchants” of Germany’s Hanseatic League (with Lübeck Law adopted for Tallinn in 1248, with Tallinn’s trade featuring Estonian rye [!], barley, oats, honey, bearskins and other furs, exchanged for imported herring, salt, precious metals, and clothing materials); (8) Danish relinquishment of troublesome Estonia (prompted by the bloody Jüriöö Mäss rebellion of 1343-1345 … resulting in Denmark’s “sale” of Estonia to the Prussian Teutonic Knights in 1346 … [so Estonia and Latvia were ruled by ethnic-Germans form the mid-AD1300s through the mid-AD1400s]; (9) Old Livonia declines, as Prussia’s Teutonic Knights decline, due to military defeats [e.g., Tannenberg, in AD1410] by the rising empire of Poland-Lithuania … {and Russia unsuccessfully tries, in AD1502, to grab Estonia from Poland-Lithuania]; (10) Estonia is touched by the Reformation, with Luther’s “use-of-the-language-of-the-common-people” policy beginning to change Estonia, planting the first seeds of Estonian cultural identity restoration (Reformation first arrives in Estonia during the 1520s; 1525 sees first book printed in Estonian language [and during that year Walter von Plettenburg, Rome’s “Master of the Livonian Order”, converts to Lutheran Christianity, heavily impacting the launching of the Protestant Reformation in Estonia]; first-Estonian-language church services in the 1530s); (11) the Livonian Wars (1558-1583) reveal Russia’s ambitions for the Baltic lands … followed by Estonia being “sold” to Denmark, who opposed the Russians (1560); (12) Old Livonia disintegrates, as the Swedes arrive to oppose Russia, and Tallinn becomes a Swedish land … (1561); (13) meanwhile, the Livonian lands south of Tallinn become Polish possessions (1561); (14) Livonian resistance to Russia, well into the mid-1500s, permitted the Germany-based Reformation to take root among the Estonian people (often aided by Swedish military action, combined with Lutheran education reforms led by Swedes, Germans, and Finns … for example, Tartu University [was founded] by Swedish King Gustav Adolphus, in 1632, to promote Lutheran education and culture); (15) Russia competed with Sweden for Estonia … complicated by Poland joining the fray (in 1579), resulting in Sweden successfully holding onto Estonia [AD1586]; (16) however, Sweden and Russia resumed war in the 1590s … as tension between Sweden and Poland, regarding who gets Estonia, continued to rise; (17) Sweden continued to dominate the Baltic lands … (from 1600-1629), somewhat resolved by the “Peace of Altmark” [AD1629]; (18) Denmark increased its ascendancy in the region … Denmark’s remaining portion of Estonia [i.e., Saaremaa] was transferred to Sweden (1645); (19) [Estonia suffers, due to war-ravaged agriculture] the Great Hunger of the 1690s (1695-1697); (20) Sweden’s domination in the Baltic [is lost in] the “Great Northern War” of 1700-1721 (with the last fighting of this war, on Estonian soil, occurring in 1710); (21) 300+ years of domination by Russia, with the last portion (from the mid-1800s onward) seeing a growth of national patriotism and a recovered sense of the Estonian language and cultural identity (1710-1918); (22) the first taste of Estonian independence (1918-1940); (23) interrupted by Soviet Russia’s re-conquest and cultural suppression of Estonia (1940-1991); and (24) Estonia’s post-Soviet experience of national independence [which was triggered by Estonia’s “Singing Revolution”], which is ongoing (1991 to present).

[Quoting James J. S. Johnson, “Heritage Highlights: Estonia”, BALTIC HERITAGE REVIEW (June AD2006), pages 2-4.] Surely you became weary (if not also wary), if you actually read all of that listing of 2-dozen political turnovers (flying over 12 centuries of political history), so imagine what native Estonians must feel like – having been occupied and re-occupied by foreigners, generation after generation.

Maybe the Estonians feel like little flying insects, the easy-prey targets for ever-hungry (and fleet-flying) Swifts, coming at them, from all directions, chasing what could have been tranquility from Tallinn’s lower airspace.


Olaf’s Church   [Oleviste kirik]   in Tallinn:
Roman Catholic, later Lutheran, now Baptist
(photo credit: Wikipedia)

And that description well fits the memory that I still retain, of the speedy, quick-turning, aerial acrobatics  —  of noisy Common Swifts  —  that I saw near the rooflines and rooftops of the ancient-looking building in Tallinn’s Old Town, likely displaying what those same birds’ ancestors did centuries before, when Tallinn (then called “Reval”) was an old Hanseatic League trading port city.

When it comes to bird behavior, some things don’t change all that much. Of course, European trade has now returned to the old Hanseatic port-city of Reval – or Tallinn (as it is called today, and has been for centuries) — and much of that trade comes today in the form of cruise ship passengers and European Union commerce.

If you are ever in the neighborhood (of Tallinn), check it out; there is a lot of history to see there, and to appreciate, as you think about what all has occurred there, century after century.  So visit Tallinn at a relaxed pace – don’t just whizz by, like a Common Swift.


Tallinn port, where cruise ships visit Estonia (photo credit: Wikipedia)

But this nostalgic report began with a quote from Psalm 100, about singing.  There is one habit that the Estonians are especially famous for, maybe moreso than any other habit – despite their long years (and centuries) of being suppressed as a Baltic people, they never gave up their songs.


Estonian choir in Tallinn
(photo credit: JJSJ in AD2006, actually a photo of a large sign in Tallinn)

Estonians love to sing, especially in their own native Estonian language. And now, years after the tense days of Estonia’s “Singing Revolution”, they can sing with a freedom that is relatively new to their land. May God bless them – and may He keep their songs in their hearts, as they look up to Him  — because He alone is the ultimate Giver of all good songs, even the diverse songs (and chirps, and other vocal noises) of the busy feathered creatures whom we call “songbirds”.

And may each of us, who has the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Redeemer, live each day with a song in our hearts, singing with grace and gratitude (Colossians 3:16).

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. (Psalm 98:4)


More From James J. S. Johnson

Apodidae – Swifts Family

Birds of the Bible – Swifts


Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 10/4/16


(Ossifrage or Lammergeier) ©WikiC



“And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,” (Leviticus 11:13)

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) (Ossifrage or Lammergeier) ©Wiki


More Daily Devotionals

Birds of the Bible – Ossifrage



Birds of the Bible – Murmurations?

Murmuration by Dailymail

Murmuration by Dailymail

“Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” (Isaiah 60:8 KJV)

While working on one of my on-line courses, Birds in Biblical Perspective, I just watched an amazing DVD – Flight: The Genius of Birds. One of the segments mentioned the murmurations of Starlings. I have watched videos of these before and we have mentioned murmurations on this site twice before: Sunday Inspiration – Starlings, Mynas and Rhabdornis by me and Choreographed Choir on the Wing: Birds of a Feather Flock Together by James J. S. Johnson.

While looking for some verses for my assignment, I found the verse quoted above from Isaiah. I have used that verse in reference to the “doves,” but did you notice the first part of the verse? Had I not just watched that video, it would have been missed again. “Who are these that fly as a cloud” Should I add a new Bird of the Bible, the Starlings?

Starling Murmuration ©Flickr Donald Macauley

Starling Murmuration ©Flickr Donald Macauley

Who gave those birds the knowledge to fly like that? Are Starlings the only birds that fly in murmurations like that? How do they keep from running into each other? Questions, questions, questions. Let’s see what we can find out about this phenomenon.

“Surprising as it may be, flocks of birds are never led by a single individual. Even in the case of flocks of geese, which appear to have a leader, the movement of the flock is actually governed collectively by all of the flock members. But the remarkable thing about starling flocks is their fluidity of motion. As the researchers put it, “the group respond[s] as one” and “cannot be divided into independent subparts.” (How Do Starling Flocks Create Those Mesmerizing Murmurations?-All About Birds)

Another quote from this article tells of a recent study, “on starling flocks appeared in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. The researchers, led by George Young at Princeton, did their own analysis of murmuration images to see how the birds adjust to their flockmates. They determined that starlings in large flocks consistently coordinate their movements with their seven nearest neighbors. They also found that the shape of the flock, rather than the size, has the largest effect on this number; seven seems optimal for the tightly connected flocks that starlings are known for.”

 European Starling

European Starling ©WikiC

“Recent studies of starling flocks have shown that each bird modifies its position, relative to the six or seven animals directly surrounding it, no matter how close or how far away those animals are.” (Wikipedia, emphasis mine)

Some of the Commentators had this to say about the verse:

Notes of Dr. Constable – “Isaiah 60:8 The prophet further saw people coming from the west as thick as clouds into the Promised Land. They reminded him of doves flying to their dovecotes. Who are these, he asked?”

CBNotes – “Who are these . . . ? Referring probably to the ships whose sails are compared to wings, developed in next verse.”

Flock of Starlings Acting As A Swarm ©WikiC

Flock of Starlings Acting As A Swarm ©WikiC

Geneva Bible Translation Notes – “Isaiah 60:8 Who [are] these (i) [that] fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows? (i) Showing what great number will come to the Church, and with what great diligence and zeal.”

John Gill – “Isaiah 60:8 Who are these that fly as a cloud,…. Referring to the vast number of converts before mentioned, who are compared to a “cloud” for the number of them, covering Judea as the clouds do the heavens; and for their elevation and situation, being raised from an earthly to a heavenly state; called with a high calling, and made partakers of an heavenly one; and for their being filled with the grace of God, as clouds with water; and for their unanimity, their coming together in a body, making as it were one cloud, and that openly and publicly, professing Christ, and joining themselves to his church, in the face of the world; and so the Targum,”

“who are these that come publicly as the swift clouds?”

and chiefly are they compared to a cloud for their swiftness in motion to Christ and his church; sinners; sensible of danger from the avenging justice of God, from his law, and from his wrath and displeasure, and eternal death, and being apprized of salvation and safety in Christ, make haste and flee to him as swiftly as a cloud driven by the winds;”

Starling and Murmeration (Fair Use credit  -    Allaboutbirds.Net

Starling and Murmeration (Fair Use credit – Allaboutbirds.Net

Guzik – “a. Your sons shall come from afar: Through this passage, one of the great themes is regathering. We may suppose that in the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus, every Jewish person remaining on the earth will be gathered into the land of Israel from every nation on earth. The present day regathering of Israel is a precious preview of this ultimate and complete regathering.”

Hawker – “Isaiah 60:8-9 – Reader! pause, I pray you over these sweet verses. Can there be a more delightful thought, than that of souls flying to Christ, as doves, who by instinct take shelter in their houses? Mark what Jesus said, Joh_12:32; and do not overlook how the glory of Jehovah in covenant, as God, is folded up in the blessed relation. Yes! Christ’s glory is his Father’s honour; and it is the most blessed of all thoughts that God the Father is glorified in his dear Son, in the instance of every individual soul redeemed; Joh_13:31-32.”

Oh, that all Christians would blend that well together. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Haydock – Isaiah 60:8 – “Clouds. They are thy children, accompanied by strangers.”

Matthew Henry – “2. What multitudes shall come to the church. Great numbers shall come, Gentiles (or nations) of those that are saved, as it is expressed with allusion to this, Rev_21:24. Nations shall be discipled (Mat_28:19), and even kings, men of figure, power, and influence, shall be added to the church. They come from all parts (Isa_60:4): Lift up thy eyes round about, and see them coming, devout men out of every nation under heaven, Act_2:5. See how white the fields are already to the harvest, Joh_4:35. See them coming in a body, as one man, and with one consent: They gather themselves together, that they may strengthen one another’s hands, and encourage one another. Come, and let us go, Isa_2:3. “They come from the remotest parts: They come to thee from far, having heard the report of thee, as the queen of Sheba, or seen thy star in the east, as the wise men, and they will not be discouraged by the length of the journey from coming to thee. There shall come some of both sexes. Sons and daughters shall come in the most dutiful manner, as thy sons and thy daughters, resolved to be of thy family, to submit to the laws of thy family and put themselves under the tuition of it. They shall come to be nursed at thy side, to have their education with thee from their cradle.” The church’s children must be nursed at her side, not sent out to be nursed among strangers; there, where alone the unadulterated milk of the word is to be had, must the church’s new-born babes be nursed, that they may grow thereby, 1Pe_2:1, 1Pe_2:2. Those that would enjoy the dignities and privileges of Christ’s family must submit to the discipline of it.”

MHCC – It predicts the purity and enlargement of the church. The conversion of souls is here described. They fly to Christ, to the church, to the word and ordinances, as doves to their own home; thither they fly for refuge and shelter, thither they fly for rest. What a pleasant sight to see poor souls hastening to Christ!

Amazing to watch these. What a beautiful show of our Creators love and concern for the avian wonders as they settle in for the night. “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalms 4:8 KJV)

JFB – “Isaiah 60:8 The prophet, seeing in vision new hosts approaching quickly like a cloud of doves,”

Pulpit – “Who are these, etc.? The prophet beholds the waters of the Mediterranean Sea covered with numerous ships, whose sails remind him of white clouds moving across the blue expanse of heaven, and again of doves wending their way homewards to their accustomed dove-cotes. The “windows” of the dove-cotes are the openings through which the birds pass into the towers where they breed.”

Wesley – “Isaiah 60:8 A cloud – These metaphors import the number as well as speed, of those that should be begotten by the apostles doctrine.”

Defender’s Study Bible – “fly as a cloud. In context, the peoples of the world are seen coming from all parts of the world, by various means. In Isaiah’s vision, he apparently sees some even coming by air.”

Young’s Analytical Concordance has this to say about Isaiah 60:8: “A thickness, thick cloud,  עָב ‛âb”  Strongs adds this to the definition – “awb  Masculine and feminine; from H5743; properly an envelope, that is, darkness (or density, 2Ch_4:17); specifically a (scud) cloud; also a copse: – clay, (thick) cloud, X thick, thicket. Compare H5672” It appears that both of these concordances agree that the word used is for a cloud, and a dark or thick one.

These are just some of the comments. As you can tell, their ideas are all over the place as to what this cloud is. Yet, most of them seem to agree that it is also a future prophesy of when the gathering of believers at the end time. They will be coming from afar, yet they will all blend together as one. Just like these starlings gather together and move as a unit.

In the future, if the Lord allows me the privilege of seeing one of these Starling Murmurations, it will definitely bring Isaiah 60:8 to remembrance. To me, they will be one of the Birds of the Bible, if it only by a visual picture of what a flying cloud would look like. For now, I am not going to add the Starlings to the list of Birds of the Bible, even though it would have almost been possible.

One more video to enjoy. After watching this one, there is a good possibility that there could be a Murmurations Chapter II.

Who are these that fly as a cloud” (Isaiah 60:8a KJV)


Birds of the Bible

Sunday Inspiration – Starlings, Mynas and Rhabdornis by Lee

Choreographed Choir on the Wing: Birds of a Feather Flock Together by James J. S. Johnson

Birds of the Bible – Black Heron Seeing Clearly

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC San Diego Zoo

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC San Diego Zoo

And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV)

The Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) is also know as the Black Egret. They belong to the Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family. “This medium-sized  (42.5–66 cm in height), black-plumaged heron with black legs and yellow feet. It is found south of the Sahara Desert, including Madagascar, and prefers shallow open waters, such as the edges of freshwater lakes and ponds. It may also be found in marshes, river edges, rice fields, and seasonally flooded grasslands. In coastal areas, it may be found feeding along tidal rivers and creeks, in alkaline lakes, and tidal flats. Its breeding range is between Senegal and Sudan and to the south. It is found mainly on the eastern half of the continent. It has also been observed in Greece.”

Black heron (Egretta ardesiaca)map) Range Map

Black heron (Egretta ardesiaca)map) Range Map

“The nest of the black heron is constructed of twigs placed over water in trees, bushes, and reed beds, forming a solid structure. The heron nests at the beginning of the rainy season, in single or mixed-species colonies that may number in the hundreds. The eggs are dark blue and the clutch is two to four eggs.” (Quotes from Wikipedia)

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) by Daves BirdingPix

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) by Daves BirdingPix

“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,” (Psalms 17:8 KJV)

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

What is so amazing about this heron is how it searches out its food. They stretch out their wings to form an umbrella or canopy. This creates shade which attracts fish and the canopy also allows the heron to see their future meal better by blocking the reflection of the sun, giving them better visibility.

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:19-22 KJV)

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Are we trying to shield the corruption of this world, so we can see the clear truth of God’s Word? Are we looking for the good things to see and think about as Philippians 4:8 tells us.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 KJV)


Birds of the Bible – Herons

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns

Birds of the World

Orni-Theology Articles

Black Heron – Wikipedia



Avian Kinds on the Ark – Birds Embarking

Pair of Raja Shelduck by Ian

In this second article in this series, Avian Kinds on the Ark – What is a Kind?, I am introducing you to some of the studies by Dr. Jean Lightner. She and others are trying to figure out how many “kinds” of birds would have enter the ark.  This study is worthwhile as a stand-alone research project — yet its importance is now accented by the “Ark Encounter”, a full-sized replica of the Noah’s Ark (produced and hosted by ANSWERS IN GENESIS ministry in Kentucky). The Ark Encounter team are trying to be as close to the Bible as possible in filling the ark with critters and especially avian kinds.

Since that article, I have found some more interesting data and quotes that I’d like to share. First, I made this quote in that article.

“In Birds of the Bible – Foundation #3 Updated, ” I made this remark “Noah did not have to round up the animals, they came to him. Because not every animal we see today came on board but the main kinds (for instance the “bird kinds” may have had a “warbler kind” but not have black and white warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, hooded warbler, etc.), which ever ones they were, there was plenty of room for them. I have an idea that because the LORD sent the animals, birds, and critters, that their DNAs [i.e., their specific genes  — DNA-based genotypes) were of the highest quality. (That is my opinion)”

I want to expand on that this time. I have thinking about the birds that came to Noah. Did they come to Noah?  —  or did Noah have to go round them up? No, Noah did not have to go searching for the animals. After re-reading Genesis 7-9, it seems clear that they came to Noah. God sent them, by pairs of seven for each “kind” of birds. Dr. Lightner basically places the kinds equal with families in most cases.

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female [notice!  —  of the bird kinds, the “sevens” exception was applied, regardless of whether the bird kinds were “clean” or “unclean”]; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. (Genesis 7:2-3 KJV)

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) pair ©Flickr Len Blumin

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) pair ©Flickr Len Blumin

And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the Ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. (Genesis 7:7-10 KJV)

In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. (Genesis 7:13-15 KJV)

Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. (Genesis 8:17 KJV)

Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:19-20 KJV)

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) Pair ©WikiC

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) Pair ©WikiC

That is quite a bit of Scripture, and the bolding is to help with some points to I would like to make. First, notice that all the cattle or land animals are coming in pairs. The male and his female  — that pair is deemed as “one” animal unit, because that is how God planned and made these animals in the first place. Critters that are not birds (i.e., land beasts like cattle, elephants, horses, etc.) are coming in by seven pairs if their kind is deemed “clean”, or by one pair if “unclean”.  Yet the birds (fowls) are not coming in by clean or unclean. They are all coming in by seven pairs, according to their kind.  [Notice how this shows a special favoritism that God has for birds!  In a sense, therefore, it is a godly trait to regard birds as favorite animals! :) ]

Also notice that Noah and his family entered the Ark first, then the critters came in. “There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark” (7:9), and “in the selfsame day entered Noah” (7:13), then,  “they went in unto Noah into the ark” (7:15).  If I am reading the Word correctly, Noah was in the Ark when the land animals, birds and creeping things came in. Personally, I think that the Lord rounded up the critters that He wanted to be in the Ark to be preserved. If the Lord can make ravens to feed Elijah, ” I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there ” (1 Kings 17:4), can He not command the exact critters to come to Noah? Their DNA must have been the near perfect for their kinds, especially for conserving and transmitting the biodiversity that God Himself wanted to be provided to the post-Flood world. Just as all the diverse humans in the world (today) come from the eight humans on board the Ark, their DNA was and is diverse enough to produce all the different physical characteristics (skin colors, hair types, body sizes, etc.) that we see today.  [In a sense, God preserved and transmitted all the molecular biology “hardware” and DNA/RNA “software” needed for all the phenotype “applications” we have today.]

Another point about the quoted verses. In Genesis 8 we see that it didn’t rain until seven days later. Could that be to give Noah and his family time to place all the animals in their stalls, pens, cages, or whatever containers were used for the long voyage ahead? What do you put “creeping things” in? :)

When they came off the Ark, after the Flood was over, not a single animal has perished because they came off in pairs,: one pair of unclean land animals (and “creeping things”), seven pairs of clean land animals, and seven pair of every “kind” of genetically defined bird category. Noah gives an offering to the Lord and uses one pair from the clean critters. Now we have six pairs of clean animals with which to breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) pair by Ray

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) pair by Ray

As was said before, the avian taxonomy of the birds (which is ultimately a mix of common sense, careful observations, plus some arbitrariness) is in flux. As Dr. Jean Lightner indicated there is much shuffling going on trying to figure out which bird belongs “where” [i.e., belongs to this group or that group, based ultimately on genetic compatibility — which is demonstrated by breedability). Here are a few quotes I thought interesting about this situation. Of course, these are from those who believe in evolution, but they are shaking their heads trying to figure which family and genus birds belong to.

Here is a quote from DNA Reveals New Bird Species by Current Results. “Examining the differences in the genetic bar code among birds leads scientists to suspect that 15 unidentified species of birds breed on the North American continent. At the same time, analysis of 643 bird species finds that 42 of these should actually be lumped as 17 species.” [Seems they keep narrowing down the species toward the kinds.]  Here’s more interesting quotes from the same article.

Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) Pair ©WikiC

Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) Pair ©WikiC

“Can’t tell apart all those large, white-headed gulls lingering along the west coast seashore? Well apparently neither does the mitrochondiral DNA for eight species such as glaucous and herring gulls. Other birds that mitrochondrial DNA cannot distinguish are American from northwestern crows and red-naped from red-breasted sapsuckers. Most of these species with overlapping DNA are known to hybridize [i.e., they can successfully breed together].”

“Figuring out who is truly related to whom in modern bird families has been an ongoing problem, says Shannon Hackett. A biologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, she did not work on the new study. Part of the problem, she explains, is that at some point in the distant past, there was an explosion in the number of bird species. This rapid increase has made it difficult for scientists to decode the history of birds from fossils.” [Could that be when they were created?]

“In 2008, Hackett’s team studied 19 different segments of DNA from 169 bird species. Their tree of life suggested that falcons and hawks, and grebes and ducks, were only distantly related. Those surprises were confirmed by the new study.” [No surprise to Bible-believing creationists! Must be different kinds, maybe?]

African Hawk-Eagle (Aquila spilogaster) Pair ©WikiC

African Hawk-Eagle (Aquila spilogaster) Pair ©WikiC

Answers In Genesis has many articles on this subject, but again, I want to share a few quotes. These are from Bird Speciation From the Flood to the Present by Dr. David W Boyd, Jr.  In answer to how all those birds fit on the ark, he said, “Does that mean that Noah had two (or seven) of all 10,380 extant bird species (more if you count extinct species)? If a biblical kind and a species were equivalent, then yes. But they are not the same; many species are categorized under each biblical kind.”

“To help answer that question, we are aware that evolutionary scientists have recently compiled genetic and fossil evidence to suggest that flying birds originated from a group of dinosaurs in South America about 95 million years ago.6 Using their data, the scientists suggested that flying birds began radiating and diversifying over the world after a huge meteor struck near the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago. The subsequent disaster of that meteor has been suggested as the main cause for the extinction of dinosaurs. Using this model, evolutionary scientists attempt to demonstrate that all birds in existence today descended from one common ancestor of the dinosaur lineage.”

“Scientists who accept the biblical account of creation and the worldwide Flood compile evidence from Scripture, genetics, the fossil record, hybridization data, and morphological characteristics to suggest that God created many kinds of birds that began radiating and diversifying over the world after the worldwide Flood destroyed the earth about 4,500 years ago. These birds included both flying and non-flying birds. The two answers given by evolutionary scientists and creation scientists are so far apart from one another that it seems almost impossible to think that they are looking at the same data.”

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) Passing Berries ©WikiC

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) Passing Berries ©WikiC

“A scientist with a biblical worldview has to account for the different species of birds found today in each created bird kind from the Flood to the present. Models of speciation and radiation for those events would only need thousands of years.”

Here is my most favorite quote from his article: “Dr. Jean Lightner has conservatively estimated that birds are comprised of about 196 created kinds.7 If we round that up to 200 bird kinds, we could account for all 10,380 extant species by each species diverging into two species just once every 750 yearsjust six times (200 to 400 to 800 to 1,600 to 3,200 to 6,400 to 12,800). That would even give us 2,420 more bird species to account for some extinction events. That is a very simplistic view and does not account for many variables, but it does provide us with a quick way to estimate if simple speciation (doubling) could account for all the birds we have today.

Here is a link to a very interesting chart I found on Pantasthumb. It shows the different birds grouped, by genera, within each family, in a tree format. Very interesting to look at. It might help make some of this article make a little more sense. Of course this is from an evolutionary perspective, but the evidence is shares by both sides.  TO SEE CHART The article this chart came from is “Update on the Tree of Birds“.

That is enough to think about for now. More later in another Avian Kinds on the Ark. Actually, this series is a sub-series for Birds of the Bible.


Avian Kinds on the Ark – Introduction

Avian Kinds on the Ark – What is a Kind?

DNA Reveals New Bird Species by Current Results.

Bird Speciation From the Flood to the Present by Dr. David W Boyd, Jr

Birds of the Bible – Foundation – The Ark

Birds of the Bible – Foundation #3 Updated

An Initial Estimate of Avian Ark Kinds,

Birds of the Bible – Seven By Seven


Avian Kinds on the Ark – What Is A Kind?

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) Pair ©WikiC

They Came By Pairs – Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) ©WikiC

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. (Genesis 6:19-22 KJV)

When Noah was preparing the Ark, he was informed that the animals and birds (fowls) after their kinds would come to him to keep them alive. Again, notice in Genesis 7:1-3 that the clean beast and the birds (fowls) all come by sevens (pairs) also. Clean or unclean, the birds came by seven pairs. There is no distinction made with them.

And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. (Genesis 7:1-3 KJV)

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) CC Pair ramendan

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) ©© Pair ramendan

In Birds of the Bible – Foundation #3 Updated, I made this remark “Noah did not have to round up the animals, they came to him. Because not every animal we see today came on board but the main kinds (for instance the “bird kinds” may have had a “warbler kind” but not have black and white warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, hooded warbler, etc.), which ever ones they were, there was plenty of room for them. I have an idea that because the LORD sent the animals, birds, and critters, that their DNA’s were of the highest quality. (That is my opinion)”

At the time that comment was made, I was not aware of this article from Dr. Jean Lightner, about the Avian Ark Kinds. This series is based on her’s and other’s research into the Avian Kinds that came on board the ark.

“Kinds” or created kinds are called “baramins” and they used different methods to try to find the original kinds. This part of her article is rather technical, and honestly, I don’t understand some of the terms and methods discussed. Yet, the findings, is what I would like to share with you. Those, we can understand. (You can read her article HERE)

Most of us are aware that the many variety of dogs we see today came from an original “dog kind.” No matter how much interbreeding they do, the results are still dog kinds. Cats and dogs don’t interbreed, so no evolution is involved. Variation within the dog kind has occurred, just as it has in the “bird kinds”. In the Bird Kinds, they have come up with approximately 196 putative bird kinds and most of those break down to our modern-day Families in our taxonomy. Yet, in the I.O.C. their are 239 families and two Incertae Sedis families which make 241 families. The next articles will show how those Families compare to today’s families.

By the way, my math was off in that first article. I forgot the two Incertae Sedis Families. That makes for 45 extra families to account for.

Mountain Bluebird, male (R) & female (L) ©Mickey Barnes / from Birds & Blooms

Mountain Bluebird, male (R)- female (L) ©Mickey Barnes / from Birds & Blooms

Two quotes from Dr. Lighner’s article: “There is tremendous variety seen today in animal life as creatures have multiplied and filled the earth since the Flood (Genesis 8:17). In order to identify which modern species are related, being descendants of a single kind, interspecific hybrid data is utilized. When hybrid data is lacking, a cognitum approach is preferred; this identifies natural groupings based on human cognitive senses. Generally the cognitum at the family level (which is usually fairly strong) is preferred when hybrid data is lacking, though obvious cognita surrounding this level are noted.” (emphasis mine)

“As in mammals and amphibians, the state of avian taxonomy is in flux. Despite the ideal of neatly nested hierarchies in taxonomy, it seems groups of birds are repeatedly “changing nests.” This is partially because where an animal is placed depends on which characteristics one chooses to consider. While many had thought that molecular data would resolve these issues, in some cases it has exacerbated them.”

One thing we can see from all this. We will never know exactly who, what, or which one belongs to this family or that order or kind until we reach heaven and ask their Creator.

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. (Psalms 148:5 KJV)


Avian Kinds on the Ark – Introduction

Birds of the Bible – Foundation – The Ark

Birds of the Bible – Foundation #3 Updated

An Initial Estimate of Avian Ark Kinds,

Birds of the Bible – Seven By Seven


Avian Kinds on the Ark – Introduction

Ark Encounter During Construction

Ark Encounter During Construction

You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. (Genesis 7:2-3 NKJV)

Today in Williamstown, Kentucky, they had the Grand Opening of the Ark Encounter. The building of the Ark Encounter was mentioned in Birds of the Bible – Foundation – The Ark. Now, it is open and we are looking forward to the opportunity to go see this modern day, full sized Ark. It’s about 900 miles from where we live, but it is definitely on my “bucket list.”

What I want to do, in a series of articles, is to introduce the Avian Kinds, Bird kinds, that are thought to be on board. An article, An Initial Estimate of Avian Ark Kinds, appeared on Nov. 27, 2013. It was written by Dr. Jean Lightner. Here is her abstract from that article.

Creationists recognize that animals were created according to their kinds, but there has been no comprehensive list of what those kinds are. As part of the Answers in Genesis Ark Encounter project, research was initiated in an attempt to more clearly identify and enumerate vertebrate kinds that were present on the Ark. In this paper, using methods previously described, 196 putative bird kinds are identified. Due to the limited information available and the fact that avian taxonomic classifications shift, this should be considered only a rough estimate.

I bolded the “196 putative bird kinds are identified” because that is what these articles are going to be about. According to I. O. C., the naming list that this site uses, there are 239 Families. On the Birds of the World family page, you will see this:

Lee’s Birds of the World, based on the IOC World Bird List 6.2 contains 10,637 extant species (and 154 extinct species)  classified in 40 Orders,  239 Families (plus 2 Incertae Sedis) and 2289 Genera and 20,490 Subspecies.

If my math is correct, 239 minus 196, equals 43. Okay, where did those 43 extra families come from? That is what this series is going to try to find out. (Not Today)

Ark Encounter - First Look, By TV station

Ark Encounter – First Look, By TV station



Birds of the Bible – Foundation – The Ark

An Initial Estimate of Avian Ark Kinds

Grand Opening of the Ark Encounter

Birds of the World


Birds of the Bible – Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

“And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,” (Leviticus 11:16-17 KJV)

I trust you liked the Long-eared Owl that was on this morning’s Four Word Thursday. That was a Northern Long-eared Owl, but now just called Long-eared Owl. Owls are Birds of the Bible and mentioned several times. The “Long-eared Owl” is not named specifically, but that does not mean the verses do not include this beautifully expressive owl.

Northern Long-eared Owl

Northern Long-eared Owl (Asio otus, previously Strix otus)

“Long-eared Owls are lanky owls that often seem to wear a surprised expression thanks to long ear tufts that typically point straight up like exclamation marks. These nocturnal hunters roost in dense foliage, where their camouflage makes them hard to find, and forage over grasslands for small mammals. Long-eared Owls are nimble flyers, with hearing so acute they can snatch prey in complete darkness. In spring and summer, listen for their low, breathy hoots and strange barking calls in the night.” (1)

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by J Fenton

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by J Fenton

Subspecies; Related Species

Five subspecies generally recognized:

  • Asio o. otus (Eurasia, Azores, nw. Africa)
  • A. o. canariensis (Canary Is.)
  • A. o. graueri (Zaire, Uganda, Kenya)
  • A. o. wilsonianus (e. North America)
  • A. o. tuftsi (w. North America)

A. o. abyssinicus (highlands of Ethiopia) is now moved to full species status. Now called the Abyssinian Owl (Asio abyssinicus)

Sibley and Monroe (1990) combine A. o. graueri and A. o. abyssinicus into 1 species, Abyssinian Owl (A. abyssinicus). [This they did] Population endemic to Madagascar usually treated as full species, Madagascar Long-eared Owl (A. madagascariensis; Amadon and Bull 1988, but see Sibley and Monroe 1990).

Closest relative to otus is probably madagascariensis; Amadon and Bull (1988) suggest they are allospecies. Data from protein electrophoresis indicate that for congeners, genetic distance between Long-eared and Short-eared owls is “unusually large” (Randi et al. 1991). Hybridization not known to occur. (2) [with editing]

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©WikiC

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©WikiC

Here in the U.S. we would encounter  the tuffsi and wilsonianus supspecies. I am not sure which these photos represent other than they are some of the fantastic creations from their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have present several of the Birds of the Bible – Owl articles, which can be see by clicking Birds of the Bible – Owls.

These words for “Owl” are in the Scripture in Leviticus 11:16, 17:

“And the owl[H3284], and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl[H3563], and the cormorant, and the great owl[H3244],” (Leviticus 11:16-17 KJV)

H3284 – יענה – ya‛ănâh – yah-an-aw

Feminine of H3283, and meaning the same: – + owl.

H3563 – כּוס – kôs – koce

From an unused root meaning to hold together; a cup (as a container), often figuratively a lot (as if a potion); also some unclean bird, probably an owl (perhaps from the cup like cavity of its eye): – cup, (small) owl. Compare H3599.

H3244 – ינשׁוף ינשׁוּף – yanshûph – yanshôph – yan-shoof’, yan-shofe’

Apparently from H4398; an unclean (aquatic) bird; probably the heron (perhaps from its blowing cry, or because the night heron is meant (compare H5399)): – (great) owl.

Just thought I would give you some photos of this amazing owl, and throw in a little Bible Study. The Hebrew words are from the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries on my e-Sword (a free Bible program).


(1) Introduction to Long-eared Owl from All About Birds

(2) Marks, J. S., D. L. Evans and D. W. Holt. 1994. Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/133 and doi:10.2173/bna.133


Birds of the Bible – Owls


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Southern Lapwing

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Southern Lapwing ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 5/24/16

It is, I regret more than a month since last bird of the “week” so you have probably given me up for lost or worse, unless of course you’ve been so busy too that you haven’t noticed. Anyway, I’m now at Brisbane airport waiting for a flight, so you have my undivided attention for at least half an hour.

Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) by Ian

I’m continuing the series of global Lapwings, with a South American one, the Southern Lapwing. It’s crest gives it a superficial resemblance to the Northern Lapwing of Eurasia, but it’s not a very close relative and used to be in its own monotypic (single species) genus.

Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) by Ian

It has a wide distribution from the tip of Tierra del Fuego in the south to Nicaragua in Central America. Interestingly, there are two Lapwing species in South America (the other is the Andean Lapwing) but none in North America, odd given the almost global distribution of Lapwing species so one would wonder how their ancestors got around.

Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis) by Ian

The Southern Lapwing lacks the gentle manners of its Northern counterpart and is noisy and aggressive like the Masked Lapwing of Australia. In fact, in Brazil and Chile it is often kept with wings clipped as a guard ‘dog’. Maybe I should get one to get my own back on my neighbour’s Great Dane who often wakes me in the middle of the night.

Another reason why I’ve been slack about the bird of the week is that I haven’t been doing much bird photography. That I hope is about to change. I’m on my way to Vienna at the moment with the intention of spending a week birding with my sister Gillian in Slovakia en route to my nephew’s wedding in Ireland (her son Ian), so I hope I’ll have some interesting photos for you soon.


Lee’s Addition:

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Lev 11:19 KJV)

I was beginning to wonder where Ian had traveled to, because, like he said, no newsletter had been sent. Glad he is busy, but miss his newsletter adventures. What a beautiful Lapwing.

Like Ian, we haven’t done much birdwatching either. Now that our wintering birds have flown north, except for our locals, birdwatching has slowed down. There are plenty of tales to tell from previous unpublished adventures. So, stay tuned!