Today’s main visitors were three Sandhill Cranes. They were also here yesterday:
Sandhill Cranes feeding yesterday 6/21 by Lee
Today, because of the rain we had last night, and the fact that the food plates had been visited yesterday, they were empty of food, but full of water. So, I stepped out and put the hanging feeder on the ground. It didn’t take time for the Sandy’s to find it.
Sandhill Cranes feeding 6/22 by Lee
Earlier there had been two Fish Crows here, but before I could get the camera, they took off.
Sandhill Crane up close 6/22 by Lee
Look at that pose! It was nice of him/her to give me a great chance to zoom in. This was the guard Crane. There is usually one on duty.
Looking for a lifeguard? Ours walks on water.
A father is someone you can look to no matter how tall you get.
The Mandarin Duck is definitely one of Our Creator’s Masterpieces, far as I’m concerned. I love my local Wood Ducks, but this duck is absolutely one of my favorites! My first glimpse of the Mandarin Ducks was at the Miami Zoo, now Zoo Miami, years ago. They have such clean lines and details that were and are just breathtaking! Later we viewed them many times at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, now Zoo Tampa.
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) Zoo Miami by Lee
“In the wild, mandarin ducks breed in densely wooded areas near shallow lakes, marshes or ponds. They nest in cavities in trees close to water and during the spring, the females lay their eggs in the tree’s cavity after mating. A single clutch of nine to twelve eggs is laid in April or May. Although the male may defend the brooding female and his eggs during incubation, he himself does not incubate the eggs and leaves before they hatch. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, their mother flies to the ground and coaxes the ducklings to leap from the nest. After all of the ducklings are out of the tree, they will follow their mother to a nearby body of water.
Mandarins feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat plants and seeds, especially beech mast. The species will also add snails, insects and small fish to its diet. The diet of mandarin ducks changes seasonally; in the fall and winter, they mostly eat acorns and grains. In the spring, they mostly eat insects, snails, fish and aquatic plants. In the summer, they eat dew worms, small fish, frogs, mollusks, and small snakes. They feed mainly near dawn or dusk, perching in trees or on the ground during the day.” (Wikipedia with editing)
The Mandarin Duck has been featured before, and some of those articles are linked below. I rediscovered this video that I took at the Zoo:
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:2-3 KJV)
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)
Red-winged Blackbird at S. Lake Howard Nature Pk. by Lee
Birdwatching and Blessings – 6/17/21
Quiet is the word for our yard lately. Other than the Red-winged Blackbird and Mockingbird arguing over who would get to sit on the feeder pole, it has been rather boring.
This morning, only one of the Whistling Ducks showed up to feed. Maybe, the other one is sitting on a nest. That would be exciting. There are no Duck boxes around the neighborhood, so they would have to go to another location for nesting. I can only wish! It would be great to see some immature Whistling Duck swimming behind their parents.
Northern Mockingbird on Hook by Lee
Life is good because God is great!
To have more, desire less.
The teakettle sings even when its up to its neck in hot water.
Truths To Consider:
“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10 KJV)
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11 KJV)
“The European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family, Meropidae. It breeds in southern Europe and in parts of north Africa and western Asia. It is strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa. This species occurs as a spring overshoot north of its range, with occasional breeding in northwest Europe.”
“This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird. It has brown and yellow upper parts, whilst the wings are green and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 27–29 cm (10.6–11.4 in), including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike. Female tends to have greener rather than gold feathers on shoulders. Non-breeding plumage is much duller and with a blue-green back and no elongated central tail feathers.
European Bee-Eater – (Merops apiaster)
“TO LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.” (Psalms 104:24-25 KJV)
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJV)
This morning our Whistling Duck pair came looking for food, as is becoming their routine. Dan was planning to mow the grass today, so the food dishes were empty and stacked on the patio. So, I put one close by and gave them some food.
God likes it when you smile, but he loves it when He is the reason!
The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you.
Truths To Consider:
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks looking to see if they should go that way. 6/11
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalms 32:8 KJV)
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks maybe asking or deciding which way to go. 6/11
“And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.” (Judges 18:5 KJV)
Decisions! Decisions! Always best when the Lord is involved in seeking answers.
All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men [ανθρωπων], another flesh of beasts [κτηνων], another of fishes [ιχθυων], and another of birds [τηνων]. (1st Corinthians 15:39)
Q: Are today’s birds genealogical ‘cousins’ to reptiles, due to shared (evolutionary) ancestry?
A:No. (Not even close!) However, today’s birds and reptiles do share the same Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who created them (and their ancestors) to share the same earth, with us.
According to the evolutionary sequence of [imagined] events, birds are supposed to have evolved from reptiles.3
If that had occurred in the past, which it did not, it would mean that today’s birds—such as robins and roadrunners—would be distant ‘cousins’ of reptiles—such as cobras and crocodiles.
The Darwinian tale portrays today’s birds as winged dinosaurs who supposedly survived a global ‘extinction event’ that supposedly occurred about 66,000,000 years ago.1,2
Is there any eyewitness report supporting this magical scenario, or even evidence of any such timeframe? No and no.4,5
Although there are myriads of errors in this sensational speculation, only a few of which are mentioned here.
In particular, this pseudoscience scenario requires swallowing at least three invalid and drastic premises:
(1) the assumption that reptiles are not fundamentally different from birds;3 and
(2) the assumption that a secret agent (oxymoronically named “Natural Selection”, as if “its” naturalistic outcomes were intended) can accidently invent—and then successfully secure(i.e., genetically “lock down”)—such traumatic transitional transmogrifications;5 and
(3) the assumption that any such transitions’ biochemical and genetic details, in defiance of entropy’s universal destructiveness, repeatedly escaped thermodynamic reality.5
For starters, just imagine the first-listed problem, i.e., the complicated anatomical and physiological differences between birds and reptiles:
birds have hollow bones; reptiles, except for marrow cavities, have solid bones;
birds use air sacs for non-stop unidirectional (one-way) airflow through their lungs; most reptiles have two-way breathing systems;
birds are endothermic (warm-blooded), actively controlling their body “thermostats”; reptiles are mostly ectothermic (cold-blooded);
birds have muscle-controlled feathers; reptiles have dry skins or scales;
birds have four-chambered hearts; reptiles usually have three-chambered hearts;
most birds have major muscles anchored to their front, attached to a keeled sternum (breastbone), facilitating perching; reptiles’ main muscles anchor to their vertebral column (backbone), attached in arrangements conducive for standing, walking, and running.2
Don’t expect reptiles to accidentally change their genes to produce birds as descendants. As Fiona Smith says:
In other words, you don’t just put feathers on a reptile and then it can fly. There are a multitude of [essential] attributes, all working together, that make a bird fly.2
There is much more proof—to borrow Dr. Frank Sherwin’s observations—that birds have always (and only) been birds, and that reptiles have always (and only) been reptiles.
God created each bird, and each reptile, to be whatever He chose that creature to be–and it’s our privilege to see God’s magnificent creation and to learn about His magnificent majesty in the process (Revelation 4:11)!
1 For centuries evolutionists have proposed the notion that birds somehow evolved from reptiles, imagining “feathered dinosaurs” or dinosaur-like flying reptiles (like pterodactyls) as speculative ‘transitional’ animals. See, accord, R. Will Burnett, Harvey L. Fisher, & Herbert S. Zim, Zoology: An Introduction to the Animal Kingdom (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1958), pages 5-7, 13-17, 72-75; Herbert S. Zim & Ira N. Gabrielson, Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds (New York, NY: Golden Press, 1964), pages 12-13.
2 “Birds are incredible flying (and occasionally non-flying) machines. The Creator has designed these creatures with specialized flight apparatus, an amazing respiratory system, not to mention unbelievable migration and navigation abilities.” Sherwin, Frank J., “A ‘One-Hundred-Million-Year-Old Bird’ Is Still a Bird”, Creation Science Update (posted June 20, 2006). See also James J. S. Johnson, “Wandering Albatross: Wide Wings on the Winds”, Creation Science Update (July 2, 2020), citing Job 39:26-27 as illustrating God’s bioengineering that enables heavy birds to efficiently use wind current for launching their heavier-than-air bodies into the sky.
3 Smith, Fiona. 2015. Evidence for Creation: A Tour through Some East-Australian Zoos (Fremantle, Western Australia: Vivid Publishing), pages 164-165 (quotation), 251. The late Fiona Smith (now in Heaven with her Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ), an Australian professional geoscientist and science educator, graduated ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics, during 2015 with a Master of Christian Education degree (joint major in Biblical Education & Apologetics).
4 Regarding the need for reliable eyewitnesses, to learn the real truth about unique events of the no-longer-observable past, see James J. S. Johnson, “There’s Nothing Like an Eyewitness”, Acts & Facts, 45(12):20 (December 2016).
5 Regarding the ubiquitous and inescapable destructiveness of biochemical entropy, see James J. S. Johnson, “Infinite Time Won’t Rescue Evolution”, Acts & Facts. 47(6):21 (June 2018). The phrase “natural selectin” is a misleading bait-and-switch term, because the action of “selection” necessarily requires a selector who can think (i.e., utilize information while exercising intelligence), prefer/favor one outcome as more valuable than another (i.e., make value judgments), and make/implement action-oriented decisions (i.e., make volitional choices). Regarding the mystical-animistic role that Darwinian selectionists imagine inanimate “nature” as playing, in order to “favor” or “select” a series of genetic mutations for producing phenotypically survivability-“fit” outcomes, see Randy J. Guliuzza, “Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: The Illusion that Natural Selection Operates on Organisms”, Acts & Facts, 40(9):121-15 (September 2011).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Jim Johnson (“JJSJ”), shown here with a Roger Tory Peterson bird-book (in St. Petersburg, Florida, birdwatching in the backyard of Chaplain Bob & Marcia Webel), was first taught this post’s main facts by Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner, his 2nd grade teacher (a true creation science educator), at Damascus Elementary School in Maryland. During the half-century thereafter Jim has enjoyed learning about birds–and, more importantly, about the Lord Jesus Christ (the Creator or birds and everything else, including us!)–and have acquired some relevant formal education (including college degrees with concentrations on the ecology and zoology of birds)–and a lot of birding adventures (including one that almost cost him his life). Due to the kind patience, WordPress-savvy knowledge/skills and accomplishments, and ever-ready technical expertise of Professor Lee Dusing (who owns, operates, and prolifically posts on Leesbird.com, as she indefatigably role-models what Christian ornithologists should be like), Jim has been able to occasionally post articles, for the past few years, on this Christian birdwatching blog. To God be the glory!
The Gouldian finch (Chloebia gouldiae), also known as the Lady Gouldian finch, Gould’s finch or the rainbow finch, is a colorful passerine bird that is native to Australia. Both sexes are brightly colored with black, green, yellow, and red markings. The females tend to be less brightly colored. One major difference between the sexes is that the male’s chest is purple, while the female’s is a lighter mauve.
Gouldian finches’ heads may be red, black, or yellow. Formerly considered three different kinds of finches, it is now known that these are color variants that exist in the wild. Selective breeding has also developed mutations (blue, yellow and silver instead of a green back) in both body and breast color.
Black-headed male Gouldian Finch @Frankfurt Zoo
Prior to the Australian government’s ban on the export of Australian fauna, Gouldian finches were exported worldwide. These birds have resulted in viable breeding populations being held in many countries.
Captive breeding has resulted in several colour mutations. Mutations vary by country, with some existing only in Australia (the Australian yellow and the Australian “dilute”) and others existing in greater number in the United States, such as the blue bodied Gouldian. The most common body mutations in the United States are blue, pastel green (single and double-factor, resulting in “dilute” and yellow males and yellow females), and pastel blue (again, single and double-factor producing “pastel” and silver males, and silver hens).
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) by Africaddict
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) by Dan
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) by Ian
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) at NA by Lee
#3 Red-headed with Juveniles
Red-headed male Gouldian Finch at Artis, Zoo-Netherlands
What a beautiful colorful array of the rainbow.
“Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.” (Psalms 40:5 NKJV)
“We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” (Psalms 78:4 NKJV)
Swallow-tailed Kite – the one bird I got a photo of as it flew overhead previously.
Birdwatching and Blessings – 6/7-10/21
Since the last post, on 6/6/21, it has been sort of quiet out back. On June 7th, the busiest morning greeted us with the Muscovys and Pekins coming by for breakfast, while a Red-winged Blackbird landed on the hanging feeder. The Tricolored Heron walked along the shore. The best delight was when a Swallow-tailed Kite flew by. They are in the area for only a couple of months each year.
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by Daves BirdingPix
Later, while we were eating lunch, the Whistling Duck pair (becoming regulars) were eating, when another pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks showed up, and the “turf war was on!” They jump up in the air and put their feet out toward the other duck. This time, both pairs got into it at the same time. Of course, you never have time to grab a camera. About the time they got back on the ground, a White Ibis decided to walk in between the two feuding pairs, and the war was over. I guess I’ll have to re-name him the Peace Ibis.
On 6/8/21, another Roseate Spoonbill flew by and a Great Blue Heron.
Yesterday, 6/9/21, a Roseate Spoonbill flew by again. The Muscovys were on the other side of the pond along with an Anhinga hanging out to dry. The Red-winged Blackbird chowed down again at the hanging feeder. Then it was off to church.
A large heart can be filled with very little.
A grateful mind is a great mind.
Truths To Consider:
“I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness.” (Psalms 119:32-36 NKJV)
The Lilac-breasted Roller is another beautiful candidate as a Paintbrush Bird. Our Master Creator has provided us with another neatly painted bird.
Description and Details
“The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) is an African bird of the roller family, Coraciidae. It prefers open woodland and savanna, and it is for the most part absent from treeless places. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about on the ground. Nesting takes place in a natural hole in a tree where a clutch of 2–4 eggs are laid, and incubated by both parents, who are extremely aggressive in defense of their nest, taking on raptors and other birds.
“The diet of the lilac-breasted roller consists of arthropods and small vertebrates, including ground-dwelling insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes, snails, and a variety of small vertebrates, including small birds. Slow-moving lizards, chameleons and snakes, and the blind, burrowing Afrotyphlops and Leptotyphlops species are especially vulnerable to them when crossing roads. In East Africa, they join other perch hunters like Taita fiscals and pale flycatchers to make opportunistic use of grassland fires, and in South Africa are likewise seen in association with kites, storks, swallows and bee-eaters when burning of firebreaks drive small animals unto roads.
Because they feed mainly on terrestrial prey, lilac-breasted rollers will perch to scout from a higher vantage point (including from atop of large herbivorous mammals) before swooping in and grabbing prey with their beaks. If their prey is small, they will swallow it on the ground. These aggressive birds will carry larger prey back to a perch and beat it until it is dismembered. (Wikipedia)
On June 3rd, 4th, and 5th, the birds visiting the yard slowed down. On Thursday the 3rd, a White Ibis, the normal four Pekins, a female Anhinga and a Boat-tailed Grackle wandered around, and a Great Egret flew by. Friday, the 4th was even slower with only the female Anhinga, Muscovy, the four Pekins, the White Ibis and two Sandhill Cranes strutting around.
Yesterday was even less entertaining with the Pekins, Boat-tailed Grackle, and the Loggerhead Shrike. The Shrike was gathering grass and flying across the pond to a tree. We actually spotted a second Shrike. Wonder if they are making a nest. That would be blessing to see baby Shrikes later on. Today is Sunday and we really didn’t spend much time at breakfast.
Isn’t it just like the birds to slow down their morning visits when I decide to start a new series. We have gotten some rain finally in the last few days, and maybe the worms have come up for air. The birds may busy catching them instead of coming by here. Oh, well. Stay tuned!
How cool is it that the same God who created mountains and oceans and galaxies thought the world needed one of you too!
A good example has twice the value of good advice.
Truths To Consider:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 NKJV) “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:15-17 NKJV)
A couple more great Church Signs and Verses. There are some challenges here for us to consider.
My most favorite duck is the Wood Duck. To me, it seems as if someone took a paintbrush and created such a beautiful Avian Wonder. Of course, that Creator was the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Great Creator. So, the Wood Duck is our first Paintbrush Bird to start off another new Series. Paintbrush Birds
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3 KJV)
This picture that Dan took at Lake Hollingsworth, in Lakeland, Florida, is real. I was right there beside Dan when we took photos. Of course, his turned out the best, and it is not a painting.
Mr and Mrs Wood Duck by Lee at Lake Hollingsworth
When we watch the birds, I have to just pause in awe at colors and designs of the birds. Everywhere we look, if our eyes are truly open, we can see that these Avian Wonders just didn’t evolve.
“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:21-22 NKJV)
The animals, birds, fish, and even humans are under the curse now, but what might the originally created have looked like? Wow! I WOW! now when I see the beauty that is around us even now. I also see the scars from the fall around also.
Back to this series I’m starting. The desire is to showcase some of these birds that look like they were “hand-painted.” Also, after finding similar post, more information will be given about the bird itself. Trust you enjoy these efforts.
Wood Ducks belong to the Anatidae Family Here is a previous video from the Petersen Birding videos here. It is definitely worth watching. It provides quite a lot of information about this beautifully created Wood Duck.
Here are a few close ups of the Wood Duck. You decide about the “Painter!”
Wood Duck by Dan at Lake Hollingsworth
Mr and Mrs Wood Duck by Lee
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) by Bob-Nan
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) by Ray
Wood Duck Brevard Zoo by Lee
Wood Duck in backyard by Lee
I just realized while viewing Ray’s Wood Duck that I have the five colors I need to make another Wordless Bird. Red, Yellow, Black, White and Green.
JJSJ, as those of you regular readers know, is Dr. James J.S. Johnson, who has written many posts here. He sent me several links to very interesting tales of birds on video. I forget to post them, so, here are two of the latest videos:
White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) by Africaddict
The White Fronted Bee Eaters video was produced by the San Diego Zoo. They have one of the most complex Social Structures. Enjoy!
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
“And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 AMP)
This latest one is about a Woman who gives toys to Magpies. She is from Australia.
I found these both rather interesting. Here in Florida, we are not blessed with neither of these kinds of birds. Trust you enjoy learning about these two Avian Wonders.
Check out the many post from “Dr. Jim”, as I like to call him: