Birds of the Bible – Heron Update

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland (5)

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland by Lee

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

Great Blue Heron 2

Great Blue Heron camouflaged by Lee

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

The original Birds of the Bible – Heron article was posted on July 17, 2008. Seems like it’s time for an update and to keep our Heron family visible. Actually, some of the family members are very good at hiding or blending in with their surroundings. Their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, designed them to be slim like the reeds they hide in, called camouflage, and gave them the ability to move back and forth again like reeds. Notice the Tricolored Heron in the first photo. Even though he is blue, the sky color reflecting in the water actually is helping keep him “hidden in plain view.”


CLASS – AVES, Order – PELECANIFORMES, Family – Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets


Here in central Florida we can see many Herons, such as the:
(Click link for photo from Dan’s website)
Great Blue Heron (L46″ Wingspan 72″)
Little Blue Heron (L24 Wingspan 40″)
Tri-colored Heron (L26 Wingspan 36″)
Green Heron (L18″ Wingspan 26)
Black-crowned Night Heron (L25″ Wingspan 26″)
Yellow-crowned Night Heron (L24″ Wingspan 42″)

Around the World the Ardeidae family, now with 72 species, includes Herons (46), Egrets (9) and Bitterns (15). From Thayer Birding Software, “Most herons nest in dense or dispersed colonies; a few species, including most bitterns, are solitary. Nests are platforms of interlocked sticks in trees or piles of vegetation in reeds or on the ground, built mainly or entirely by the female of material brought by the male.”

Most of the Herons rest and fly with their necks in an “S” curve. They can be seen along or in the edges of water fishing. Many stand perfectly still looking in the water and then thrust with a quick movement to either spear or catch their prey. You can see that in the video I posted yesterday.

This video of a Great Egret was watching something so intently. Also, notice how his neck sways like they do in the tall grass or reeds. Egrets are part of the Heron Family group.

Herons amaze me in how perfectly still they stand and wait. They seem so patient to me. Herons are on the “unclean” list of birds found in Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18. Because they are so “patient” and “wait,” it reminds me of:

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:7 KJV)
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:15 KJV)
The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season (Psalms 145:15 KJV
And of course our great verse from last week:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Hymns mention “waiting” and being “still” and “patient. Here is a favorite:

Be Still, My Soul by Katharina von Schlegel,
1697-Trans. By Jane L. Borthwick, 1813-1897

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

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Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets

 

THE UMBRELLA BIRD from Creation Moments

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

THE UMBRELLA BIRD from Creation Moments – Re-post

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

The best fishermen not only know where the fish are biting, but exactly what type of bait or lure is needed to catch the big ones. That’s why I say that the best fisherman of all is not a man but a bird.

The black heron knows exactly where and when the fish are biting. He goes fishing for his food by wading into shallow lakes and ponds. But there’s a problem. Fish avoid the water’s surface to avoid the bright rays of the sun. Even if a fish does come close to the surface, the black heron is unable to see it because he is blinded by the sun’s reflection.

But like I said, this bird is a master fisherman. What he does is shape his wings into a large black umbrella. He then crouches down until his wings are almost touching the water, effectively turning daylight into darkness, and attracting fish to the shade. Under cover of his umbrella, the black heron pokes his head into the water and comes out with a squirming fish in his beak.

This kind of fishing is known as canopy feeding. How did the black heron learn to fish like this? Creationists know, but evolutionists have no reasonable answer. They only have a term. Yes, evolutionists are good at coming up with terms like “canopy feeding”, but when it comes to explaining how such a thing originated in the first place, they are still very much in the dark.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I ask You to make me a good fisherman – not of fish but of men. Use me to share the gospel so that my friends and family will turn to You for salvation. Amen.
Notes:
http://thewebsiteofeverything.com/animals/birds/Ciconiiformes/Ardeidae/Egretta-ardesiaca. Photo: Black heron comes out of its feathered canopy after catching a fish. Courtesy of Steve Garvie. (CC-BY-SA 2.0 GENERIC)

©Creation Moments 2015

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC


Lee’s Addition:

What an amazing behavior that the Lord gave these Black Herons! Just as the Lord promised the Ravens, this verse is also true for the Black Herons:

Who provides food for the raven (or Black Herons), When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41 NKJV)

P.S.

Sorry I have not been as quick to answer your comments this last week, but we have had company. My sister and her husband, from the Denver area, are with us and are staying in the room that has my computer. :) We had the memorial service this last weekend for my other sister who went on to Glory several months ago. See:

No Post Today – But 20/20 Vision

Hope to be back to a more normal schedule soon. Yet, I wish they could stay longer. Heaven will be great when we can visit eternally with our whole Spiritual Family, which includes many of you, but most of all with our Savior, Eternal Brother, God the Father.

Creation Moments Umbrella Bird

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family

Black Heron – Wikipedia

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Sunday Inspiration – Herons

Great Blue Heron by Dan

Great Blue Heron by Dan

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

Herons are a favorite bird species of mine. We see them frequently here in central Florida. One of their characteristics that impress me is their patience. It is common to see them standing almost still except for their neck swaying slowly back and forth.

Oh, that I had the patience like these Storks.

These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. (Psalms 104:27 KJV)

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalms 27:14 KJV)

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:3 KJV)

Herons belong to the  Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family and are a Bird of the Bible.

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“Peace Medley”  by Faith Baptist Choir

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Tricolored Herons at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe…. (Leviticus 11:19 NKJV)

Here is the next beautifully created bird seen on our trip to Gatorland this week. See the other articles listed below.

Today, I want to share the Tricolored Herons (Egretta tricolor) which were in their breeding plumage busy courting and building nest.

“During breeding season, the Tricolored Heron sports a short white head plume, a buffy throat and fore-neck, a blue face, and a blue bill, tipped with black. The eyes are reddish, and the legs pinkish. Nonbreeding adults have a yellow face, bill, and legs; the throat and fore-neck are white.” (Audubon)

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

The Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) formerly known in North America as the Louisiana Heron, is a small heron. They are in the Ardeidae- Herons, Bitterns Family. It is a resident breeder from the Gulf states of the USA and northern Mexico south through Central America and the Caribbean to central Brazil and Peru. There is some post-breeding dispersal to well north of the nesting range.

Tricolored Heron’s breeding habitat is sub-tropical swamps. It nests in colonies, often with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. In each clutch, 3–7 eggs are typically laid.

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

This species measures from 56 to 76 cm (22 to 30 in) long, and has a wingspan of 96 cm (38 in). The slightly larger male heron weighs 415 g (14.6 oz) on average, while the female averages 334 g (11.8 oz). It is a medium-large, long-legged, long-necked heron with a long pointed yellowish or greyish bill with a black tip. The legs and feet are dark.

Adults have a blue-grey head, neck, back and upperwings, with a white line along the neck. The belly is white.
Tricolored Heron stalks its prey in shallow or deeper water, often running as it does so. It eats fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and insects. (Wikipedia)

Trying this method of showing the photos. By clicking on a photo, it will bring it up full screen and then you can browse through them. Leave a comment as to which method you prefer.

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Video of Tricoloreds Preening and Building Nest

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Birds of the Bible – American Bittern

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Lee

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Lee

The Bittern is found in the KJV in three verses of Scripture. Some versions translate it differently. But for the sake of this article, here are those verses:

I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 14:23 KJV)

But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. (Isaiah 34:11 KJV)

And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. (Zephaniah 2:14 KJV)

We were out at Circle B Bar Reserve just before Christmas and spotted an American Bittern. They are quite evasive and not spotted often, at least by me. That protection reminds me of several verses:

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

Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. (Psalms 143:9 KJV)

 

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Bitterns are members of the Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family. “Although common in much of its range, the American Bittern is usually well-hidden in bogs, marshes and wet meadows. Usually solitary, it walks stealthily among cattails or bulrushes. If it senses that it has been seen, the American Bittern becomes motionless, with its bill pointed upward, causing it to blend into the reeds. It is most active at dusk. More often heard than seen, this bittern has a call that resembles a congested pump.

Like other members of the heron family, the American Bittern feeds in marshes and shallow ponds, dining on amphibians, fish, insects and reptiles.

This bittern winters in the southern United States and Central America. It summers throughout Canada and much of the United States. As a long-distance migrant, it is a very rare vagrant in Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland. This bird nests in isolated places with the female building the nest and the male guarding it. Two or three eggs are incubated by the female for 29 days, and the chicks leave after 6–7 weeks.” (From Wikipedia)

Identification Tips: (USGS)

  • Length: 23 inches Wingspan: 45 inches
  • Medium-sized wading bird
  • Dark brown upperparts
  • Underparts streaked brown and white
  • Black malar streak
  • Yellow bill with dark culmen
  • Black primaries and secondaries
  • Sometimes “freezes” with neck held upwards
  • Immatures similar to adults but lack the malar streak

American Bittern sounds from Cornell

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Birds of the Bible – Bitterns in Zephaniah

Cinnamon Bittern by Phil Kwong in Hong Kong

Cinnamon Bittern by Phil Kwong in Hong Kong

And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. (Zephaniah 2:14 KJV)

This verse in Zephaniah is a bit confusing because some of the characteristics mentioned are not in line with a bittern’s normal behavior. So, let’s look into this verse a little deeper.

Pulling up my e-Sword program, I am heading to the “Compare” mode. Wow! This is going to be interesting. What a variation of birds and animals listed for that verse.

  • ACV, ASV, BBE, RV, Disciple’s, WEB – pelican and the porcupine
  • ABP, Brenton – chameleons; and hedgehogs
  • AKJV, KJV, IAV, JUB, UKJV, Webster – cormorant and the bittern
  • AMP, NAS77, NASB, YLT – pelican and the hedgehog
  • Bishops, Geneva – pellicanes and owles
  • CEV – all kinds of desert owls
  • CJB –  jackdaws and owls
  • Darby, ECB, HRB, LITV, JPS, MKJV, NKJV  – pelican and the bittern
  • DRB – bittern and the urchin
  • ERV – Owls and crows
  • ESV – owl and the hedgehog
  • GNB, MSG, NET – Owls
  • GW – pelicans and herons
  • HCSB, ISV, NIV, NRSV – desert owl and the screech owl
  • KJ2000 – vulture and the hedgehog
  • TRC – pelicans and storks

See what my mean?

Here are the Strong’s Definitions for those two word in order of occurance.

H6893
קאת
qâ’ath
kaw-ath’
From H6958; probably the pelican (from vomiting): – cormorant.

H7090
קפּד קפּוד
qippôd qippôd
kip-pode’, kip-pode’
From H7088; a species of bird, perhaps the bittern (from its contracted form): – bittern.

At least 14 versions use the “bittern” as one of the two birds. Now to look further in the verse, it mentions that they are lodged in the upper parts with their voice singing in the windows. That is where I am curious about it being a bittern. Have you heard a bittern “sing”? Here a few of their “songs” from xeno-canto.

Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) ©WikiC

Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) ©WikiC

Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Dans Pix

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Dans Pix

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

Pinnated Bittern (Botaurus pinnatus) by Daves BirdingPix ©WikiC

Pinnated Bittern (Botaurus pinnatus) by Daves BirdingPix ©WikiC

Pinnated Bittern (Botaurus pinnatus)

Stripe-backed Bittern (Ixobrychus involucris) ©Drawing WikiC

Stripe-backed Bittern (Ixobrychus involucris) ©Drawing WikiC

Stripe-backed Bittern (Ixobrychus involucris)

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)  by Bob-Nan

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) by Bob-Nan

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)

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I am not as concerned as to which birds were there as much as if you read the context, you realize that the birds and critters are there because the places are deserted. Like a “ghost town” you see in the movies, with creatures occupying the windows and rafters. Why? Because of the Lord’s judgement on the people. Verses 10-13 explain this:

This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen. Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword. And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. (Zephaniah 2:10-13 KJV)

Maybe we should heed the warnings and examples given throughout Scripture. We have a loving God and Lord who created everything and cares about it, but He is also a God of Judgment. John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” But if you continue reading, you see that there is also judgment.

(17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
(18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
(20) For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
(21) But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
John 3:17-21 KJV

I trust you know the Lord as your personal Savior.

See:

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Birds of the Bible – Name Study – Heron

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Watching young nearby by Lee at Viera Wetlands

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Watching young nearby by Lee at Viera Wetlands

Let’s look into a name study for another Bird of the Bible – this time the Heron. Our fishing Green Heron directed my thinking towards the Heron. So, let’s see what we can find out about how they are mentioned in Scripture.

The Heron and their kind are mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the list of “Unclean Birds” or the “Do not eat” list.

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

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

Those are the only two references to Herons in the King James Version. But how do other versions translate this bird? That is what these name study articles do. Dig around in the Word. I use e-Sword’ s compare mode to see the different versions.

Brenton, as does the APB, DRB, ISV, and NET  has the Heron in Psalms:

There the sparrows will build their nests; and the house of the heron takes the lead among them. Psalms 104:17 Brenton)

The Bishops and CJB only use Heron in Deuteronomy, but not Leviticus.

The Phillips does not even use the word “Heron.”

Here is the Hebrew word used in these verses:

H601
אנפה
‘ănâphâh
an-aw-faw’
From H599; an unclean bird, perhaps the parrot (from its irascibility): – heron.

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The DRB also uses Heron in Job:

The wing of the ostrich is like the wings of the heron, and of the hawk. (Job 39:13 DRB)

The GW shows Heron in these verses:

“It will become the possession of herons. It will become pools of water. I’ll sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of Armies. (Isaiah 14:23 GW)

Pelicans and herons will take possession of the land. Owls and crows will live there. He will stretch the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of destruction over it. (Isaiah 34:11 GW)

Flocks will lie down in it along with animals of every kind. Even pelicans and herons will nest on top of its columns. Listen! A bird will sing in a window. The doorway will be in ruins, because the LORD will expose the cedar beams. (Zephaniah 2:14 GW)

Isaiah 14:23 uses H7090 which is:

H7090
קפּד קפּוד
qippôd qippôd
kip-pode’, kip-pode’
From H7088; a species of bird, perhaps the bittern (from its contracted form): – bittern.

Isaiah 34:11 GW and Zephaniah 2:14 GW both use the same H7090. The word is translated as “Bittern” in the KJV for all three verses. The Ardeidae- Herons, Bitterns Family consists of Heron, Egrets and Bitterns so, there doesn’t seem to be a problem there, especially since the first two verses said, “heron after her kind.” They are related.

The DRB’s (1899 Douay-Rheims Bible) translation, to me, does not seem to match the rest of the other translations.

Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) by Lee at LPZoo

Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) by Lee at LPZoo

Herons:

The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 72 recognised species (some are called “egrets” or “bitterns” instead of “heron”). Within Ardeidae, all members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as “bitterns”, and — including the Zigzag Heron or Zigzag Bittern — are a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. However, egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white and/or have decorative plumes. Although egrets have the same build as herons, they tend to be smaller.

The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. One species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family Cochlearidae, the Boat-billed Heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae.

Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are also one of the bird groups that have powder down. Some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reedbeds.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) by W Kwong

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) by W Kwong

The herons are a widespread family, they exist on all continents except Antarctica, and are present in most habitats except the coldest extremes of the Arctic, extremely high mountains and the driest deserts. Almost all species are associated with water, they are essentially non-swimming waterbirds that feed on the margins of lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and the sea. They are predominately found in lowland areas, although some species live in alpine areas, and the majority of species occur in the tropics.

The herons are a highly mobile family, with most species being at least partially migratory. Birds are particularly inclined to disperse widely after breeding but before the annual migration where the species is colonial, searching out new feeding areas and reducing the pressures on feeding grounds near the colony. The migration typically occurs at night, usually as individuals or in small groups.

The herons and bitterns are carnivorous. The members of this family are mostly associated with wetlands and water, and feed on a variety of live aquatic prey. The diet includes a wide variety of aquatic animals, including fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects. Individual species may be generalists or specialise in certain prey types, like the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, which specialises in crustaceans, particularly crabs. Many species will also opportunistically take larger prey, including birds and bird eggs, rodents, and more rarely carrion. Even more rarely there have been reports of herons eating acorns, peas and grains, but most vegetable matter consumed is accidental.

The most common hunting technique is for the bird to sit motionless on the edge of or standing in shallow water and wait until prey comes within range. (Birds of the Bible – Patient Herons) Birds may either do this from an upright posture, giving them a wider field of view for seeing prey, or from a crouched position, which is more cryptic and means the bill is closer to the prey when it is located. Having seen prey the head is moved from side to side, so that the heron can calculate the position of the prey in the water and compensate for refraction, and then the bill is used to spear the prey.

Reddish Egret scarring up breakfast

Reddish Egret scarring up breakfast

In addition to sitting and waiting, herons may feed more actively. They may walk slowly, at around or less than 60 paces a minute, snatching prey when it is observed. Other active feeding behaviours include foot stirring and probing, where the feet are used to flush out hidden prey. The wings may be used to frighten prey (or possibly attract it to shade) or to reduce glare; the most extreme example of this is exhibited by the Black Heron, which forms a full canopy with its wings over its body.

Some species of heron, such as the Little Egret and Grey Heron, have been documented using bait in order to lure prey to within striking distance. Herons may use items already in place, or actively add items to the water in order to attract fish. Items used may be man-made, such as bread; alternatively Striated Herons in the Amazon have been watched repeatedly dropping seeds, insects, flowers and leaves into the water to catch fish. (Green Heron Fishing With Bread)

(Heron information from Wikipedia with editing)

Names of Birds Study

Birds of the Bible – Herons

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Green Heron Fishing With Bread

You have got to watch this Green Heron fishing with bread. The video speaks for itself.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

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Ardeidae- Herons, Bitterns

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Bible Birds – Herons

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Birds of the Bible – Herons On Tampa Bay

 

Reddish, Snowys, Greats Egrets and Great Blue Heron 5-10-13 by Lee at MacDill

Reddish, Snowys, Greats Egrets and Great Blue Heron (5-10-13) by Lee

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

Herons are one of the species listed on the “Do not eat list” as we have written about before in the various Birds of the Bible – Heron articles. The first one was written back in 2008 when I first started the blog.

Since we were out birdwatching last week over in Tampa at the bay, I thought I would share some of those photos and update the Heron information some more. We saw a Great Blue Heron, several Little Blue Herons, and several others that are “after her kind” and in the same Ardeidae – Heron, Bittern  family. There were Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets fishing along with the others. The Little Blue Herons were in breeding plumage which you could tell because of their exceptionally blue beaks. (Not real clear-I was zoomed from quite a distance)

Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egrets by Lee from distance

Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egrets by Lee from distance

Herons are only mentioned twice in Scripture; Leviticus 11:19 and in Deuteronomy 14:18. That modern-day family, Ardiedae, currently has 72 members which includes not only Herons and Egrets, but also Bitterns. Some of them are grouped together like, Tiger Herons, Night Herons, Pond Herons, Reef Herons and Cattle Egrets. Not sure about the Tiger Herons but the night, pond, reef, and cattle name give you a clue as to where you might find them out and about.

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

The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, (some are called “egrets” or “bitterns” instead of “heron”). Within Ardeidae, all members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as “bitterns”, and — including the Zigzag Heron or Zigzag Bittern — are a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. However, egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white and/or have decorative plumes. Although egrets have the same build as herons, they tend to be smaller.

Great Egret (Ardea alba) Swallowing MacDil by Lee

Great Egret (Ardea alba) Swallowing by Lee

The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationship of the genera in the family is not completely resolved. However, one species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family Cochlearidae, the Boat-billed Heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae.

Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are also one of the bird groups that have powder down. Some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reedbeds.

The largest species of heron is the Goliath Heron, which stand up to 152 cm (60 in) tall. The necks are able to kink in an s-shape, due to the modified shape of the sixth vertebrae. The neck is able to retract and extend, and is retracted during flight, unlike most other long-necked birds. The neck is longer in the day herons than the night herons and bitterns. The legs are long and strong and in almost every species are unfeathered from the lower part of the tibia (the exception is the Zigzag Heron). In flight the legs and feet are held backward. The feet of herons have long thin toes, with three forward pointing ones and one going backward.

Reddish-Snowys-Greats Egrets -Great Blue Heron by Lee

Reddish-Snowys-Greats Egrets – Snowy in front with yellow feet

The herons are a widespread family with a cosmopolitan distribution. They exist on all continents except Antarctica, and are present in most habitats except the coldest extremes of the Arctic, extremely high mountains and the driest deserts. Almost all species are associated with water, they are essentially non-swimming waterbirds that feed on the margins of lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and the sea. They are predominately found in lowland areas, although some species live in alpine areas, and the majority of species occur in the tropics.

While the family exhibits a range of breeding strategies, overall the herons are monogamous and mostly colonial. Most day-herons and night-herons are colonial, or partly colonial depending on circumstances, whereas the bitterns and tiger-herons are mostly solitary nesters. Colonies may contain several species as well as other types of waterbird. In a study of Little Egrets and Cattle Egrets in India the majority of the colonies surveyed contained both species. (Wikipedia with editing)

See:

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Heron – Page

Bible Birds – Herons [younger readers]

Birds of the Bible – Herons – Article

Heron – Wikipedia

Ardeidae – Heron, Bitterns  family

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Birds of the Bible – Patient Herons

Tricolored Heron at Vierra Wetlands, Vierra, FL

Tricolored Heron at Vierra Wetlands, Vierra, FL

I watch Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons and Green Herons which are quite common in our area. They are all in the same family and all seem to have a characteristic of being very patient. Have you just sat and watched them? When you are out birdwatching it is a habit of those in the Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family to stand very still and wait for some food to swim by or to lean over and strike a pose. They freeze other than a side-to-side movement of their neck.

Herons are mentioned twice in the Bible, and only in a list of unclean birds to not eat. Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18.

the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 NKJV)

the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 NKJV)

Here is a video of a Great Egret at Lake Parker looking for something in a tree. I strung three short videos together. Taken back in 2008.

The Herons are so patient it reminds me that I need to be more patient. So, here are some of the verses in Scripture that tell us to be patient or to wait:

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. (Psalms 37:7 NKJV)

…I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. (Psalms 40:1 NKJV)

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJV)

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, (2 Timothy 2:24 NKJV)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) ©WikiC

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) ©WikiC

Here’s a good one for us and the heron when he catches his fish:

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:15 NKJV)

And then one of my favorite passages that has to with waiting, even though the Eagle is mentioned instead of the Heron.

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. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV)

Other links:

Birds of the Bible 

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family

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