Raptor Rapture

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Hawk catching prey at Panola Mountain State Park, Georgia. November 3, 2014 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Who isn’t enraptured by raptors?  With their first-rate flight, outstanding optics and on-target talons, they grab our attention and seize our fascination. The ability to swiftly and silently swoop down and snatch up prey unawares – like a thief in the night – is where this group of Birds of Prey receives their name.

A raptor is defined as a carnivorous bird that has large, sharp talons used to seize prey. It comes from the Latin word rapio, meaning to snatch, grab, carry off or abduct. The speed at which these hawks, eagles, kites, owls and falcons can clutch an unsuspecting victim is what makes them so impressive.

Red-tailed Hawk talon characteristic of Raptors. Walton County, Georgia. August 2017 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

This same word is also used in the 4th century Latin Vulgate translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In this scripture, the Apostle Paul describes the Lord as “catching up” the saints from off the earth to meet with Him in the air. It is from here that we receive the doctrine of The Rapture.

As the age of man upon earth nears midnight, Jesus Christ Himself will snatch His people away from impeding Tribulation, as swiftly and unexpectedly as a raptor descending upon its prey. But we won’t be carried off for lunch like a fish in an Osprey’s claws, we’ll be carried away to supper… the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Revelation 19 describes a heavenly wedding reception where we, the church, are clothed in beautiful, clean bridal garments to worship the Bridegroom for eternity.

Seats on this Last Days flight called the Rapture are booking now. You can’t purchase this ticket online through Travelpediocity, but it is available for free through the blood and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Wherefore comfort one another with these words!

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Birds of the Bible – Preying Mountain Birds III

Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) ©WikiC

Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) ©WikiC

The verses below, quoted from the Bible Gateway – Isaiah 18:6 for Isaiah 18:6

Isaiah 18:6 “They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.” (KJV)

They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey And for the beasts of the earth; The birds of prey will summer on them, And all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.
Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) ©WikiC

Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) ©WikiC

They will all be left for the birds of prey on the hills and for the wild animals of the land. The birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them, and all the wild animals the winter.
They will all be left to the vultures in the mountains and to the wild animals in the fields; the vultures will feed on them in summer, and the wild animals of the fields in winter.
Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

They shall be left together unto the mountain birds of prey, and to the beasts of the earth; and the birds of prey shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.
They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.
Mountain Buzzard (Buteo oreophilus) ©WikiC

Mountain Buzzard (Buteo oreophilus) ©WikiC

And they will all be left for birds of prey that live on the mountains and for wild animals. Birds of prey will pass the summer feeding on them, and all the wild animals will pass the winter feeding on them.
They will be left for the birds of prey on the mountains and the wild animals. The birds of prey will feed on them in the summer, and all the wild animals on earth will feed on them in the winter.
Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) by Peter Ericsson

Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) by Peter Ericsson

They shall all be left to the mountain vultures and to the beasts of the earth; The vultures shall summer on them, all the beasts of the earth shall winter on them.
It looks like the birds of prey, whether vultures, or mountain birds of prey, birds of prey on the hills, or fowls of prey are going to be eating something. What is the “they“? The three translations below begin to give a clue as to the “they” is.
White-eyed Buzzard (Butastur teesa) by Nikhil Devasar

White-eyed Buzzard (Butastur teesa) by Nikhil Devasar

They (warriors) will be left together for the mountain birds of prey, And for the beasts of the earth; And the birds of prey will [spend the] summer feeding on them, And all the beasts of the earth will spend harvest time on them
Ethiopians will be food for mountain buzzards during the summer and for wild animals during the winter.
Your mighty army will be left dead on the field for the mountain birds and wild animals to eat; the vultures will tear bodies all summer, and the wild animals will gnaw bones all winter.

White-bellied Sea Eagle captured a Lesser Whistling Duck ©WikiC

When we back up several verses, we begin to understand what the birds are dealing with. God has been dealing with Cush. God only deals with men and nations so long, and then, if they don’t repent and change their evil ways, He gives judgment. Today many people believe that if God is a loving God, he will not hand out judgments. That is not what Scriptures says repeatedly throughout His Word.
The flood came about because man refused to repent of their evil ways and The Lord destroyed all but eight souls. He also provided a means of “salvation” to Noah and his family.
Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian

Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian

Here, the people of “Cush” or Assyria, finally received their judgment. All the bodies were left on the mountains and the birds of prey and the beast of the mountains, feasted on the corpses. Not a pretty picture, but God Almighty was justified in this punishment.
“2. He will reckon with his and their enemies, Isa. 18:56. When the Assyrian army promises itself a plentiful harvest in the taking of Jerusalem and the plundering of that rich city, when the bud of that project is perfect, before the harvest is gathered in, while the sour grape of their enmity to Hezekiah and his people is ripening in the flower and the design is just ready to be put in execution, God shall destroy that army as easily as the husbandman cuts off the sprigs of the vine with pruning hooks, or because the grape is sour and good for nothing, and will not be cured, takes away and cuts down the branches. This seems to point at the overthrow of the Assyrian army by a destroying angel, when the dead bodies of the soldiers were scattered like the branches and sprigs of a wild vine, which the husbandman has cut to pieces. And they shall be left to the fowls of the mountains, and the beasts of the earth, to prey upon, both winter and summer; for as God’s people are protected all seasons of the year, both in cold and heat (Isa. 18:4), so their enemies are at all seasons exposed; birds and beasts of prey shall both summer and winter upon them, till they are quite ruined.” [Matthew Henry’s Commentary]
Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) ©WikiC

Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) ©WikiC

It is more enjoyable to write about the Birds of the Mountains and point out God, their Creator’s care for them. Yet, Isaiah 18:6 is also part of The Bible. Our Savior has provided salvation to those who repent and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Yet, many people today, do not want to believe that God would condemn anyone to Hell. That is a lie, straight from Satan.
John 3:16, plus, still gives us the answer for this. Also, if you followed the 28 Chapters of Matthew last month, you would have read the whole of the Gospel. Jesus, God, came to earth in the flesh, to teach us and to provide salvation for us buy his death on the cross. Then, He defeated death and rose again, and is now at the right hand of the Father.
“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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:16-21 KJV)

Pleasant Surprise – Hawks and Owls

BJU Waterman Bird Collection Hawks Display 2018

“Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?” (Job 39:26 KJV)

The next upper display case had Hawks and Owl specimen. The three Hawks give a size perspective of those hawks. The largest is the Red-Shouldered Hawk, then the Northern Harrier (female), and the Broad-Winged Hawk.

BJU Waterman Bird Collection Hawks and Owls Display 2018

“And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:15-16 KJV)

The Owls went from small to the large Great Horned Owl being the largest. The two small owls are the Boreal Owl, and the Common Screech Owl. Out of the five species, we have only seen the Red-shouldered Hawk, the Harrier and a Great Horned Owl in the wild. Again, I think these birds look pretty good, considering how long they have be preserved. [Before 1910]

Hawks and Owls are both mentioned in Scripture and are therefore – Birds of the Bible. Birds of the Bible – Hawks and Birds of the Bible – Owls. Did you notice their coloration? Most sleep during the day and the Lord, their Creator, has provided them with a camouflage that helps many of them look like bark on trees.

Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) Tail

Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) Tail by Lee

[My favorite “bark” covered bird is the Tawny Frogmouth. We see them in the zoos.] Back to this article.

Here are some very informative articles with great photos about these birds from WhatBird and All About Birds. The WhatBird links have sounds to which you can listen.

Red-shouldered Hawk BJU Bird Collection 2018

  • The Red-shouldered Hawk and the Barred Owl occupy the same range in the eastern United States. They prefer the same moist woodland habitats and eat similar animals. The hawk is active during the day, and the owl is active at night. [WhatBird]

Red-shouldered Hawk  All About Birds

Northern Harrier BJU Bird Collection 2018

  • Unusual among hawks, Northern Harriers use their sense of hearing to help locate prey. They have an owl-like facial disk to help with directional hearing and soft feathers for a quieter flight. [WhatBird]

Northern Harrier  All About Birds

Broad-Winged Hawk BJU Bird Collection

  • During migration, weather and geography cause these birds to concentrate into groups that number in the thousands. These large groups are referred to as “kettles.” [WhatBird]

Broad-Winged Hawk  All About Birds

Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) BJU Collection

  • The Boreal Owl is also known as Tengmalm’s Owl, after the Swedish naturalist Peter Gustaf Tengmalm. [WhatBird]

Boreal Owl  All About Birds

Screech Owl (Megascops asio) BJU Bird Collection 2018

  • The Eastern Screech Owl was first described by Carolus Linnaeus, in 1758. They have also been called the Common Screech Owl, Ghost Owl, Dusk Owl, Little-eared Owl, Spirit Owl, Whickering Owl, Little Gray Owl, Mottled Owl, Mouse Owl, Cat Owl, Shivering Owl, and Little Horned Owl.” [WhatBird]

Eastern Screech-Owl  All About Birds

Great-Horned Owl BJU Bird Collection

  • A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a “bazaar”, “glaring”, “parliament”, “stooping”, and “wisdom” of owls. [WhatBird]

Great Horned Owl  All About Birds


Birds of the Bible – Hawks

Birds of the Bible – Owls

Accipitriformes – Order, Accipitridae – Family (Kites, Hawks & Eagles)


What will you do with Jesus?

Birds of the Bible – Jeremiah 19:7

Bird of Prey by Phil Kwong Galleries

Bird of Prey by Phil Kwong Galleries

“And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hands of those who seek their lives; their corpses I will give as meat for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth.” (Jeremiah 19:7 NKJV)

I’m currently traveling through Jeremiah in my personal reading of the Bible. Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet and it is easy to see why he was called that. Parts of the Scripture are hard to read, not that the words are hard, but because of that which is happening.

When birds are mentioned, of course, those verses catch my attention. What, where, and why are they being mentioned? Normally if you just pick out a verse those questions would pop into your head. Because of reading through Jeremiah, those thoughts were already answered.

Jeremiah was sent to inform the Israelites of the judgment coming because of their sins. He was told: “Thus says the LORD: “Go and get a potter’s earthen flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests. And go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom.” So he did as commanded.

When they got to the valley, he was told to proclaim there the words that I will tell you.

and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place, that whoever hears of it, his ears will tingle. “Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents (they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind), therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that this place shall no more be called Tophet or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hands of those who seek their lives; their corpses I will give as meat for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. (Jeremiah 19:3-7 NKJV)

That is hard, but God is Just. God is Longsuffering. God is Love. God is all these at the same time. People like to say because God loves he would never condemn or judge someone. Not true. He destroyed the whole world with a universal flood because of sin, yet he saved eight souls and the critters. He destroyed Sodom because of sexual sin of those who perverted it, yet he saved three. There are other examples throughout the Bible.

Here we have a nation, His chosen people, had grown cold in their worship of Him and turned to other gods and even sacrificed their children. Sound like our nations today? People do not believe in God, but would rather believe in evolution, have abortions, pervert God’s gift of intimate relations in marriage. On and on, the churches are accepting all kinds of things that God said ” which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind.” Will we come to that judgment also?

Burrowing Owl from Dusky's Wonders

Burrowing Owl from Dusky’s Wonders

I love watching the Birds of the Air, but am sorry that they have to become Birds of Prey because of people’s denial of the God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) ©WikiC

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) ©WikiC

We are encouraged to return to the Lord God’s Word.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (18) “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (19) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (21) But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:16-21 NKJV)

Like I said earlier, some things are hard to read and share, but it is there in the Word and the Word is True.


Birds of the Bible

Gospel Message


Fair Fowl, Foul Fowl or Some of These Laws Are For The Birds!

Fair Fowl, Foul Fowl

Some of These Laws Are For The Birds!

Deuteronomy 14:12-20 by Francois Maurice

I love drawing birds, so illustrating this passage from Deuteronomy was a natural. I could have chosen the passage from Leviticus 11:13-19. They are identical. The same birds, in the same order with the same sentence structure. What are the odds? This got me scratching my head in quizzical puzzlement. (Wow, four z’s in two words! What are the odds?) Well, it turns out these two books were written by Moses. I didn’t know that then, but I do now! I knew that Moses spent forty days on Mt. Sinai talking to God. What I didn’t know was that, when he climbed down off that obscure, smoking, lightning-illuminated mountain; besides bringing us the Ten Commandments, he also brought the Oral Torah and six hundred thirteen specific and detailed laws meant for the people of Israel.  I want to delve briefly into these laws and to look at kosher laws, what they mean and how they apply to this illustration.

Known as the Mitzvot , these laws address all aspects of human life. There are three hundred sixty five negative and two hundred forty eight positive commandments. The negative ones are the ‘thou shalt nots…” and the positive ones are the ‘thou shalts…’

They are meant to preserve the sanctity of Jewish observance and the holiness of religious practices. They are also meant to encourage a serious perspective and importance to the business of living a meaningful and humble life.  A life that honors God and, as much as an individual is capable of adhering to the Mitzvot, keeps His commandments. This is the subjective part of the intent of Mitzvot . A couple of these laws are, for example, ‘ Know that God’ exists and ‘Do not put the word of God to the test’.

The objective intent of Mitzvot is based on the preservation, purification and health of the Jewish race. The commandments concerning dietary laws are a form of ancient health regulations! For example, the slaughtering of permitted animals is to be done rapidly, by cutting the throat of the animal with an extremely sharp knife with no serrations in the blade. This is considered the most humane way of dispatch. The goal of this type of slaughter is to get rid of as much blood as possible. Ingesting blood is forbidden. The animal is then hung to permit the evacuation of blood. It is then washed,  salted with kosher salt and cooked well. The USDA has determined that this ritual method of slaughter is so sanitary that kosher slaughterhouses are exempt from USDA regulations.

The Mizvot is divided into many categories i.e., Business practices, Clothing, Marriage, Divorce and Family, Treatment of Gentiles, Court and Judicial etc. There are many more but you get the idea.

Most of these worthy commandments have stood the test of time.  Consider the following ones, ‘Not to sell a Hebrew servant as a slave.,  ‘Not to pass a child through the fire to Molech’.,  (referring to child sacrifice),   ‘Not to wear garments made of wool and linen mixed together’.,  ‘To make a parapet for your roof’.?? And my favorite, ‘Not to put olive oil in the meal offering of a woman suspected of adultery’.!!! I presume it’s perfectly acceptable to drizzle olive oil on her matzos if you know she is an adulteress!?

Back to the birds. The forbidden birds in Deuteronomy 14:11-20 are either birds of prey or scavengers. As such, they are indiscriminate in their diet, hunt carrion and  cannibalize. They have sharp talons with strong feet for transporting their prey. Their beaks are sharp and hooked for tearing flesh.  God describes, to Ezekiel, a scene of Gog’s slain army.  Hordes of soldiers are scattered about on the mountains of Israel being devoured by (Ezekiel 39:4) “…the ravenous birds of every sort.” Quite a graphic scene made more dramatic by the presence of birds of prey.Bird of Prey by Francois Maurice

In Isaiah 46:11 God curiously refers to Cyrus the Great as a bird of prey “…a ravenous bird from the east”. It seems an incongruous reference to a man who is revered for his benevolence and justice. Cyrus tolerated and respected the culture and religion of the lands he conquered. Ah, you say! ‘Conquered’ implies blood and cruelty. Well, not in his case as when, in October of 539 BC, he annexed Babylonia without spilling a drop of blood. He then freed the Jews of whom 40,000 returned to their homeland. He then financed the rebuilding of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. He doesn’t seem to exhibit the tendencies of birds of prey. Was God implying that Cyrus had the tenacity and single minded intent of a predatory raptor?

Ostrich by Francois Maurice

Ostrich by Francois Maurice

Ostriches are in for some harsh treatment in Job 39:13-18. In a chapter that praises the freedom of the wild ass, the strength of the bull, the fearlessness and strength of the war-horse, the eyesight and flight of the eagle, we see the ostrich laying her eggs out in the open soil.  She is unconcerned that passing beasts will trod on them. She hopes the sun is warm enough to sustain and nurture them. “She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath He imparted to her understanding.” The best that can be said about the ostrich in this passage is that they have wings and feathers to which I ask, “Why?” They can’t fly! Lamentations 4:3 equates the ostrich to a breast feeding sea monster! How weird is that? So- we have a strange looking, eight foot tall, three hundred pound bird who can’t fly but who can outrun a horse and kick a pursuer to death. It’s  eye is bigger that it’s brain, it makes great feather dusters and lives in a commune and hates its kids. God is humorous.

Doves are special in the Bible. They are used metaphorically to describe everything from the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus at His baptism (Mark 1:10), “And straightaway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him”, to the sorrowful murmurings of Queen Huzzab’s handmaidens. (Nahum 2:7), “And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.” This magnificent run-on sentence uses a word that poignantly transforms this scene. Used but a single time in the entire Bible, the word tabering, (to beat on a small drum, tabour), infuses the scene with the pathos of the handmaidens who beat their breasts and mourn the captivity of their beloved queen. Doves, who mate for life, are used here to underscore the loyalty shown by the hand maidens. Notice also, that the phrase “the voice of doves” effectively adds another dimension to this passage. Imagine the queen following the handmaidens as naturally as one’s head turns upon hearing the nearby cooing of a pair of doves.

Doves by Francois Maurice

Doves by Francois Maurice

Francois Maurice


Lee’s Addition:

Francois is the author of It’s In The Bible! which was illustrations only. He is currently working of Volume Two. When asked to tell me more about himself so I could introduce him, here are parts of that information:

The article above is “one of 15 or so chapters. They are short-two to four pages- of commentary about a particular Bible passage passage. I illustrate it then analyze the theological message. My first book was It’s In The Bible!! and it was illustrations only. Volume two will have the same name since I own it. I also have ItsInTheBible.org and a Facebook page which is being developed to advertise my book. There will be some church related cartoons and some general commentaries on theological subjects along with study questions. Humor is included.”

“I am a committed Christian, on the vestry and many committees of St. John’s Episcopal in Chula Vista, CA.(Sad Diego area). I run a Bible study group there….I write and draw full time.”

“The article I sent you is not “typical” since it is “theme oriented” rather than Bible passage “in depth” study of what is going on in a particular scene. I am very curious and love to do research.”

“I am not an ornithologist however, so themes explored would be more “general” in nature. As you know there is a lot of bird influence throughout the Bible and a lot of material to be explored.”

I am looking forward to reading more articles from him and I trust you will also. Welcome, Francois.


Birds of the Bible – Birds of Prey Introduction

The following is from Wikipedia’s article on “Bird of Prey” and has good information to precede thoughts on the Birds of Prey mentioned in the Bible. (Their quotes, my links)

Tawny Eagle by Africaddict

Tawny Eagle by Africaddict

“Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh. In most cases, the females are considerably larger than the males. The term “raptor” is derived from the Latin word “rapere” (meaning to seize or take by force) and may refer informally to all birds of prey, or specifically to the diurnal group. Because of their overall large size and predatory lifestyle, they face distinct conservation concerns.

Formal Classification

The diurnal birds of prey are formally classified into five families (traditionally of the order Falconiformes, a classification currently[vague] in flux): [IOC has them mostly in the Accipitriformes Order-Lee]

* Accipitridae: hawks, eagles, buzzards, harriers, kites and Old World vultures
* Pandionidae: the Osprey (sometimes classified as subfamily Pandioninae of the previous family)
* Sagittariidae: the Secretary Bird
* Falconidae: falcons and caracaras
* Cathartidae: New World vultures including condors.

The nocturnal birds of prey – the owls – are classified separately as members of two extant families of the order Strigiformes:

* Strigidae: (typical owls)
* Tytonidae: (barn and bay owls).

Red-shouldered Hawk by Dan

The observation that otherwise unrelated bird groups may perform similar ecological roles and bear striking morphological similarities to one another is explained is because [they were created by the Lord and are all going to be called on to perform a similar task in the future. (See later)]

The common names for various birds of prey are based on structure but many of the traditional names do not reflect the evolutionary relationships between the groups.
Variations in shape and size

Birds of Prey - Raptorial Silhouettes ©Wikipedia

Birds of Prey – Raptorial Silhouettes ©Wikipedia

* Eagles tend to be large birds with long, broad wings and massive feet. Booted Eagles have legs and feet feathered to the toes and build very large stick nests.
* Ospreys, a single species found worldwide that specializes in catching fish, and builds large stick nests.
* Kites have long wings and relatively weak legs. They spend much of their time soaring. They will take live vertebrate prey but mostly feed on insects or even carrion.
* The true Hawks are medium-sized birds of prey that usually belong to the genus Accipiter (see below). They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails for tight steering.
* Buzzards are medium-large raptors with robust bodies and broad wings, or, alternatively, any bird of the genus Buteo (also commonly known as “hawks” in North America).
* Harriers are large, slender hawk-like birds with long tails and long thin legs. Most use a combination of keen eyesight and hearing to hunt small vertebrates, gliding on their long broad wings and circling low over grasslands and marshes.
* Vultures are carrion-eating raptors of two distinct biological families, each occurring in only the Eastern Hemisphere (Accipitridae) or the Western (Cathartidae). Members of both groups have heads either partly or fully devoid of feathers.
* Falcons are small to medium-size birds of prey with long pointed wings. Unlike most other raptors, they belong to the Falconidae, rather than the Accipitridae. Many are particularly swift flyers. Instead of building their own nests, falcons appropriate old nests of other birds, but sometimes they lay their eggs on cliff ledges or in tree hollows. Caracaras are a distinct subgroup of the Falconidae unique to the New World, and most common in the Neotropics – their broad wings, naked faces and appetites of a generalist suggest some level of convergence with either the Buteos or the vulturine birds, or both.
* Owls are variable-sized, typically night-specialized hunting birds. They fly with extremely little audible turbulance due to special feather structure and have particularly acute hearing.”

Did you notice the list of the “birds of prey”? It is almost identical to the list of birds on the unclean lists of birds in Deuteronomy 14:11-18 and Leviticus 11:13-20. There are a few that are not Birds of Prey, but all the birds of prey are listed there either by name or implied by “their kind.”

Searching the Scriptures, these are called “bird(s) of prey” in 7 verses in the GW; 6 verses in the ESV, Darby, 5 verses in the NASV, NAS77; 4 verses in the JPS; 3 verses in the NKJV, MKJV, RV, ; none in the KJV, Webster, YLT. Why the differences. Let’s look at the 7 verses and compare how they translate the bird.

H5861 is used in most of the translations.


ayit – ah’-yit ; from H5860a; a hawk or other bird of prey: – bird,  fowl, ravenous (bird)

And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. (Genesis 15:11 ESV)

birds of prey – ASV,  Darby, ESV,  GW, JPS,  MKJV, ,  NAS77, NASB, RV
birds – CEV
fowls – KJV, Webster
vultures – GNB, NKJV
ravenous birds – YLT

That path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon’s eye has not seen it. (Job 28:7 ESV)

birds of prey – ASV, Darby, ESV, GW, JPS, NAS77, NASB, RV
bird – BBE, MKJV, NKJV
hawk – GNB, Webster
fowl – KJV
ravenous fowl – YLT
The second part of the verse about the falcon’s eye is translated falcon’s, hawk’s, vulture’s and kite’s eye.

Does your understanding make a bird of prey fly and spread its wings toward the south? (Job 39:26 GW)

bird of prey – GW
hawk(s) – ASV, BBE, CEV, Darby, ESV, GNB, JPS, KJV, MKJV, NKJV, NAS77, NASB, RV, Webster, YLT

They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them. (Isaiah 18:6 ESV)

ravenous birds of the mountains – ASV, RV
birds of the mountains -BBE, MKJV
fowls of the mountains – KJV, Webster
mountain buzzards – CEV
mountain birds of prey – Darby, NAS77, NASB, NKJV
birds of prey of(on) the mountains – ESV, GW
ravenous birds of the mountains – JPS
ravenous birds of the mountains – YLT
birds – GNB,

calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. (Isaiah 46:11 ESV)

ravenous bird from the east – ASV, KJV, RV, Webster, YLT
bird of strong flight from the east – BBE
like a hawk swooping down – CEV, GNB
bird of prey from the east – Darby, ESV, GW, JPS, MKJV, NAS77, NASB, NKJV

Black Vultures at Saddle Creek 12-07-07 by Lee

Is my heritage unto me as a speckled bird of prey? are the birds of prey against her round about? go ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, bring them to devour. . (Jeremiah 12:9 ASV)
speckled bird of prey and birds of prey- ASV, Darby, JPS, NAS77, NASB, RV
speckled bird and birds – KJV, MKJV, Webster
speckled vulture and vultures – NKJV
speckled fowl and fowl – YLT
coloured bird and cruel birds – BBE
colorful bird of prey and birds of prey – GW
hawk and hawks – CEV
bird and hawks – GNB
hyena’s lair and birds of prey – ESV

You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. (Ezekiel 39:4 ESV)

ravenous birds of every sort -ASV, JPS, KJV, RV, Webster
ravenous fowl–a bird of every wing – YLT
cruel birds of every sort – BBE
birds – CEV, GNB
birds of prey of every wing – Darby
birds of prey of every sort – ESV, NKJV
birds of prey of every kind – MKJV
every bird of prey – GW
every kind of predatory bird – NAS77, NASB

This is the foundation or introduction to the Birds of Prey. Future articles will build on these verses. There is a lot of activity going on with each verse which needs more in-depth study. Look for more Birds of Prey articles in the future.

See also:

Birds of the Bible – Clean vs. Unclean

Deuteronomy 14:11-18 Visualized

Birds of the Bible – Speckled Birds

These are the Bible translations that I have loaded on my e-Sword Bible program (most are free).

ASV-American Standard Version , BBE-Bible in Basic English, CEV-Contemporary English Version, Darby-Darby Bible, EMTV, ESV-English Standard Version, GNB-Good News Translation, GW-GOD’S WORD, ISV-International Standard Version, JPS-Jewish Publication Society Old Testament, KJV-King James Version, MKJV-Modern King James Version, Murdock-James Murdock New Testament, NAS77 & NASB-New American Standard Bible Study Set(paid), NKJV-New King James Version(paid), RV-Revised Version, Webster-Webster Bible, WNT-Weymouth New Testament, YLT-Young’s Literal Translation,