Sunday Inspiration – Cardinalidae Family of Cardinals Plus

Northern Cardinal M-F ©BackyardBirdLover

Northern Cardinal M-F ©BackyardBirdLover

Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? (Isaiah 63:2 KJV)

Today, you are being introduced to the Cardinalidae Family, which is the last family, in taxonomy order, of the Passeriformes Order. Since February 1, 2016, we began the journey with the first four families in More Amazing Birds. Now we have arrived at the last of the 131 families of this order. I trust you have enjoyed the journey through these many Sundays. Hopefully you have been blessed by the great variety of Avian Wonders from our Lord, their Creator. The Passeriformes Order contains well over half of all the birds in the world; around 6,000 plus of the 10,659 species on the latest update. (6.3)

The Cardinalidae – Cardinals, Grosbeaks and allies has 69 species in the family. Because of that number, this family will be presented in two segments. Growing up in Indiana, the Northern Cardinal was a favorite of most of us. It is the “State Bird” of Indiana along with six other states. [Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia] The family members are found in North and South America. The South America Cardinals of the genus Paroaria are placed in another family, the Thraupidae (previously placed in Emberizidae). Even though the family name is Cardinalidae, there are only two “cardinals” among the members.

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) ©WikiC

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) ©WikiC

Also known as cardinal-grosbeaks and cardinal-buntings, this family’s members “are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. The family ranges in size from the 12-cm (4.7-in), 11.5-g (0.40-oz) and up orange-breasted bunting to the 25-cm (9.8-in), 85-g (2.99-oz) black-headed saltator. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinctive appearances. The northern cardinal type species was named by colonists for the male’s red crest, reminiscent of a Catholic cardinal’s biretta.

The ‘North American buntings’ are known as such to distinguish them from buntings. The name ‘cardinal-grosbeak’ can also apply to this family as a whole.”(Wikipedia)

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

The family starts off with 11 Tanagers in the Piranga genus, which used to be in with the tanagers, but were relocated here recently. “They are essentially red, orange or yellow all over, except the tail and wings and in some species also the back. Such extensive lipochrome coloration (except on the belly) is very rare in true tanagers, but is widespread among the Cardinalidae in the Piranga genus.

These songbirds are found high in tree canopies, and are not very gregarious in their breeding areas. Piranga species pick insects from leaves, or sometimes in flight. They will also take some fruit. Several species are migratory, breeding in North America and wintering in the tropics.”

Red-throated Ant Tanager (Habia fuscicauda) by Michael Woodruff

Red-throated Ant Tanager (Habia fuscicauda) by Michael Woodruff

Next are the Ant Tanagers in the Habia genus. “These are long-tailed and strong billed birds. The males have a red crest and plumage containing red, brown or sooty hues. Females may resemble the males or be largely yellowish or brown in colour.” Following these are four more tanagers in the Chlorothraupis genus. These are the last of the tanagers that were moved to this family.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) by Rob Fry

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) by Rob Fry

The next genus, Pheucitcus has six Grosbeaks.  Typical of the genus, they lay two to five pale bluish to greenish eggs with heavy brown and gray speckling. The cup nest is built at medium height in a bush or small tree.” (Wikipedia)

Red-breasted Chat (Granatellus venustus) ©WikiC

There are three Chats in the Granatellus genus; Red-breasted Chat, Grey-throated Chat, and the Rose-breasted Chat. They range from North America through Central America into northern South America. Their natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests.

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) ©Flickr Don Faulkner

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) ©Flickr Don Faulkner

We will finish this first half of the family with three of my favorites, the Cardinalis genus. Our Northern and Vermilion Cardinals and the Pyrrholixia (which I saw for the first time last year) are hard to miss with their bright set of feathers the Lord provided for them. These range across North America and into northern South America.

“He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.” (Matthew 16:2 KJV)

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“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)

“Written in Red” – Faith Baptist Choir and Orchestra

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. (John 3:16-19 KJV)

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More Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – More Amazing Birds

PASSERIFORMES – Passerines

Cardinalidae – Cardinals, Grosbeaks and allies

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Solved! – Chicken or Egg – Which Came First?

Chicken Hatching © WikiC

Chicken Hatching © WikiC

Creation Moments Had This To Say About The Age Old Question?

CHICKEN OR EGG – WHICH CAME FIRST?

“And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” (Genesis 1:22)

Interesting Things from Smiley CentralWhich came first – the chicken or the egg? Well, I’m happy to report that this age-old dilemma has finally been solved. It was the chicken that came first – something that creationists have known all along. After all, the Bible tells us that God created every winged fowl and gave them the ability to reproduce after their kind.

Though atheistic evolutionists don’t look for answers in the Bible, they have now come to the same conclusion as those of us who do take the Bible seriously. According to a news item in the U.K.’s DailyMail, “Researchers found that the formation of egg shells relies on a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries. Therefore, an egg can exist only if it has been inside a chicken.”

The article adds that the OC-17 protein acts as a catalyst to speed up the development of the shell. This hard shell is essential to house the yolk and its protective fluids while the chick develops inside.

Professor John Harding, an evolutionist from Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials, predictably left God out of the picture when he said, “Nature has found innovative solutions that work for all kinds of problems in materials science and technology – we can learn a lot from them.”

Professor Harding, the only reason why we find innovative solutions in nature for all kinds of problems is because nature itself reflects the creative genius of its Creator!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I pray that You will remind me of today’s Creation Moment whenever the conversation I’m having turns to the question of which came first – the chicken or the egg? In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Notes:
They’ve cracked it at last! The chicken DID come before the egg,” DailyMail, 7/14/10.

Creation Moments ©2014 (Used With Permission)


Lee’s Addition:

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Chick and Egg ©USFWS

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Chick and Egg ©USFWS

This was today’s Creation Moment article. Oh, my! Took the scientist long enough to figure out the truth.

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

Interesting Things

Creation Moment’s – Do Birds Take A Sabbath Rest?

Kirtland's Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) ©USFWS

Kirtland’s Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii) ©USFWS

“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 2:3)

Myles Willard is an avid bird watcher, award-winning nature photographer and long-time friend of Creation Moments. Myles has given us hundreds of breathtaking nature photos, one of which accompanies the printed transcript of today’s program at the Creation Moments website.

The reason I’m telling you about him today is because of an unexpected discovery he made while looking out the window of his home in Michigan. Each fall he meticulously tracks and logs the number of migrating warblers that stop by for a rest in the big cedar tree in his yard. After tracking the activity of over 1,500 warblers for 18 years, he was surprised to see a statistically significant dip in the number of birds stopping by that occurred on every seventh day!

From Article - Do Birds Take a Sabbath Rest ©Myles Willard

From Article – Do Birds Take a Sabbath Rest ©Myles Willard

Did these migrating birds have a built-in instinct that somehow made them follow the biblical principle of a Sabbath rest? We are not saying, of course, that the warblers were knowingly obeying God’s fourth commandment. However, if God worked for six days and then rested on the seventh, why would it be hard to believe that God gave these birds a cycle of six days of work followed by a seventh day of rest?

According to the account given in the book Inspired Evidence: Only One Designer, “It would seem that Myles Willard, science teacher, nature photographer and bird watcher, has found and documented such a pattern.”

Prayer:
Oh Lord, thank You for doing all the work necessary for our salvation so we can rest securely in the knowledge that – by grace through faith – we can have eternal life! Amen.
Notes:
Myles Willard, The Rest Is History, monograph, 2008. Cited in Inspired Evidence: Only One Reality by Julie Von Vett and Bruce Malone, April 29 (Search for the Truth Publications, 2012). Photo: One of Myles Willard’s superb photos. Used with permission.

Creation Moments ©2016 (Used with persmission)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Sleeping at Circle B by Lee

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Sleeping at Circle B by Lee

Huh? Maybe this Great Blue Heron was off on his schedule. It was not taken on a Sunday, as we don’t go birdwatching on Sundays. We rest on Sunday and attend church, so, why wouldn’t the birds rest also? This article is very interesting. I am sure “evolutionists” would discount it, but those records that Myles kept, are worth considering, and I doubt he just made these statistics up.

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More Creation Moment Articles

Kirtlands Warbler Reveals…

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Unbelievable Migrations from Creation Moments

Artic Tern near Iceberg

Arctic Tern near Iceberg

Unbelievable Migrations from Creation Moments

“For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.” Mark 13:34

If you have ever traveled to a distant city on vacation, you know how much planning you have to do before you leave. And, of course, you need to know where you are going and the route you must follow to get there. But the creatures we’ll be talking about today know exactly how to get where they are going. In fact, they were born with an internal GPS system to show them the way.

In his book, Billions of Missing Links, Dr. Geoffrey Simmons devotes an entire chapter to the topic of migration. He begins by telling how baby loggerhead turtles migrate 8,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. But that’s a short trip compared to the staggering 25,000 miles that arctic terns fly each year. That’s like flying completely around the Earth at the equator!

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) ©WikiC

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) ©WikiC

As Dr. Simmons points out, “Every species seems to know how to prepare for the arduous trip far in advance, but no one knows how they acquire the capability.” After describing all the preparations migrating birds must take care of, he writes: “One would think all these preparations had to have come as a whole package. There is way too much purposeful change for random mutations.”

How true! And even though Dr. Simmons is not a creationist, we have come to the exact same conclusion – namely, that animal migrations could not have come about slowly by trial and error, as Darwinian theory would have us believe.

Prayer:
Oh Lord, though I may get lost while going on a long trip, Your creatures never seem to lose their way. You have boggled my mind once again! Amen.

Notes:
Geoffrey Simmons, M.D., Billions of Missing Links, pp. 165-169 (Harvest House Publishers, 2007).

©Creation Moments, 2016

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Previous articles about the Arctic Tern:

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Surprised to See So Many Glossy Ibises – Migrating?

About 60 in this group of Glossy Ibis(Plegadis falcinellus) at MacDill 7-29-16 by Lee

“and for a long time birds and hedgehogs, and ibises and ravens shall dwell in it: and the measuring line of desolation shall be cast over it, and satyrs shall dwell in it.” (Isaiah 34:11 Brenton)

A week or so ago, while in Tampa, we spotted a huge flock of Glossy Ibises. One or two, three maybe, but well over 90? That was a total SURPRISE!

Glossy Ibis - about 60 in this batch

Glossy Ibis – about 60 in this batch

That is one of the joys of going birdwatching. You never know what may appear to when you think it will just be like last time. We go over to MacDill AFB every couple of months and half the time we take our cameras. They have a beach on the tip of the peninsula it sits on, and there usually is some avian wonders down there to observe. [As I’ve mentioned previously, my back has been acting up and we haven’t done much birding.] We can park just a few yards from the beach, which doesn’t require a lot of walking for me. This time of the year, there is usually not a lot of activity.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. (Psalms 37:16 KJV)

Birds at the Shore at MacDill

Birds at the Shore at MacDill

I did catch Dan who had walked over to where most of the birds were. I only concentrated on a small shore bird near me.

09-MacDill AFB 7-29-2016 (14)

Western Sandpiper, I Think.

We had spotted all the Glossy Ibises in the field along the road to the beach and were hoping that they were still there when we returned from the beach. We were almost back to them when we were delighted to spot two Roseate Spoonbills.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Not far past them, we arrived where the Ibises had been and sure enough, they were waiting for us. My thinking is that they were on their way somewhere, in migration, and had landed to rest and feed. Possible to avoid a coming storm. Right after these photos were taken, we got soaked by a rainstorm as we were entering the commissary (Grocery).

Wikipedia has this to say about the “glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is a wading bird in the ibis family Threskiornithidae. The scientific name derives from Ancient Greek plegados and Latin, falcis, both meaning “sickle” and referring to the distinctive shape of the bill.”

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) (1) by Dan's Pix

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) in breeding plumage taken previously by Dan’s Pix

But still, why so many? Here is an answer, again from Wikipedia, “Populations in temperate regions breed during the local spring, while tropical populations nest to coincide with the rainy season. Nesting is often in mixed-species colonies. When not nesting, flocks of over 100 individuals may occur on migration, and during the winter or dry seasons the species is usually found foraging in small flocks. Glossy ibises often roost communally at night in large flocks, with other species, occasionally in trees which can be some distance from wetland feeding areas.” (bolding mine)

I’ve included a gallery of photos so you can see them better. If you look in the background, you will see many more of them. Also mixed in is another Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egrets, White Ibises and at least one Snowy Egret. When I zoomed in, the photos aren’t all that clear, but you can see the species.

Birds of the World – Threskiornithidae – Ibises, Spoonbills

Birds of the Bible – Ibises

Birds of the Bible – Isaiah 34:11

Glossy Ibis – Wikipedia

Glossy Ibis – All About Birds

Glossy Ibis – Audubon

Glossy Ibis – WhatBird

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Birds of the Bible – Black Heron Seeing Clearly

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC San Diego Zoo

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC San Diego Zoo

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

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

Black heron (Egretta ardesiaca)map) Range Map

Black heron (Egretta ardesiaca)map) Range Map

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

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) by Daves BirdingPix

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) by Daves BirdingPix

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

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

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

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

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

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) ©WikiC

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

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

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Birds of the Bible – Herons

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns

Birds of the World

Orni-Theology Articles

Black Heron – Wikipedia

Gideon

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If Dogs Could Fly: More than Wings are Needed for Flying High!

If Dogs Could Fly:  More than Wings are Needed for Flying High!

 ~ by James J. S. Johnson

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.   (Genesis 1:20)

God made wings for animals – like birds, insects, and bats – to fly.  (In the case of penguins, they fly underwater!)  But it takes more that wings to fly high: ask a Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus), who migrates over the Himalayas!

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus)

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus)

But what about dogs – and humans?

If dogs were meant to fly—apart from aircraft—they would have bodies designed for heavier-than-air flying.  Also, for dogs to fly at altitudes so high that oxygen is a problem, they need bodies designed for breathing at thin-air elevations.  These facts are illustrated by an amazing German shepherd, Antis, who flew combat missions, during 1940-1945, at altitudes up to 16,000 feet.(1)

But who was Antis, and how did he survive flying in oxygen-starved altitudes?

Antis was an Alsatian German shepherd, rescued as a starved-almost-to-death newborn puppy, by a Czechoslovakian pilot named Václav “Robert” Bozdĕch. Robert flew during World War II, first for France, and later for England—as part of the Royal Air Force’s 311 (Czechoslovack) Squadron.  (In fact, how Robert smuggled Antis from France through Gibraltar into England is itself an amazing adventure.)

British Air Ministry regulations prohibited dogs flying on combat missions, of course, but Antis hated to be “grounded” if that meant being separated from Robert.  During June 1941 Antis took matters into his own paws, quietly disappearing when Robert readied for a bombing mission over Bremen, a German port city (known for its strategic military activities).  Antis quietly hid inside the Vickers Wellington bomber where Robert served as turret gunner.

Wellington bombers flew at altitudes as high as 16,000 feet, so air crews wore oxygen masks, to compensate for the oxygen-thin air at that high altitude.  But no one had equipped Antis for such oxygen-thin conditions!  Robert concerned himself with the crew’s mission, bombing Bremen’s oil refinery, till his attention was distracted by someone nudging his elbow:  Antis!

Antis must have somehow crept aboard the aircraft and stowed away, being careful to remain hidden until [Robert’s airplane] was almost over her target.  Recovering from the shock, Robert tried to take in all that he was seeing. His dog’s flanks were heaving, his lungs desperate for breath, which was very likely why he’d alerted Robert to his presence.  They were climbing to 16,000 feet and Antis was having increasing trouble breathing in the thin, oxygen-starved atmosphere. (1)

How could Robert save Antis?

WWII pilot Václav “Robert” Bozdĕch --- and his faithful dog, Antis

WWII pilot Václav “Robert” Bozdĕch — and his faithful dog, Antis

Antis needed to inhale concentrated oxygen, immediately, but so did Robert, at least until the plane descended to a lower elevation.

Taking a massive gasp himself, Robert unstrapped the oxygen mask from his face, bent, and pressed it firmly over his dog’s muzzle.  He watched anxiously as the dog took a few deep breaths of life-giving oxygen, before eventually his breathing seemed to settle down to something normal.(1)

Meanwhile Robert busied himself with his duties as turret gunner, wearing the spare radio headset, since his oxygen mask strappings contained his usual headset.

The mask contained [Robert’s] main radio pickup, and he could only imagine that he and his dog were going to have to share oxygen for the remainder of the flight.  A few moments later he heard a squelch of static in his earpiece, signifying that someone was coming up on the air [intercom].  “Robert, have you gone to sleep down there?” Capka, their pilot, queried. “No. Why?” Robert replied. “Sounds like you’re snoring your head off. What’s going on if you’re not snoozing?”(1)

It was Antis’ canine breathing that was being broadcast through the airplane’s intercom, due to the microphone attached to the oxygen mask.  Meanwhile, the flight became more hazardous.

They began their bombing run at 15,000 feet, an altitude where the dog needed the oxygen.  Robert had no option but to continue operating without it, for he couldn’t keep switching the mask with his dog.  He needed his hands free to operate the guns.  At first he seemed to cope just fine, but then his heart started to race and beads of sweat were breaking out on his forehead.(1)

Antiaircraft fire exploded nearby, bombs dropped from Robert’s plane, and Messerschmitt fighters tried to shoot the British Wellington fighter-bomber out of the night sky.   But, eventually (at the successful close of the mission, thanks to God’s providence), Robert and his air crew mates – and Antis — successfully returned to their home base.  Of course, Antis’ stowaway antics were by then no secret.  Wing Commander Josef Ocelka, 311 Squadron’s commanding officer, liked Antis—but sharing an oxygen mask during future bombing raids was unacceptable. The solution? A doggie oxygen mask, specially tailored for Antis.

[Antis’ oxygen mask] consisted of a standard pilot’s mask, cut and modified to suit a German shepherd’s long and slender snout, as opposed to the flatter, boxier face of a human. The mask attached to his head with a special set of straps that ran around the back of his thick and powerful neck, with extra fastenings latching on to his collar.  Antis didn’t particularly like the thing, but he proved happy enough to wear it so long as Robert was wearing his.(1)

Antis continued to have many death-defying adventures, during the war, as Robert’s loyal dog.  But, thanks to his canine oxygen mask, at high elevations Antis no longer needed to share an oxygen mask with Robert.

Obviously, Antis was not born with the capacity to survive oxygen-starved altitudes without the help of an oxygen mask—and it requires purposeful design and clever engineering to equip dogs like Antis for such high-altitude conditions.

And so we can (and should) marvel at the creative genius and technical problem-solving that achieved a solution to Antis’ need for high-altitude oxygen.  But what about animals—like many high-flying birds—that have no such oxygen mask? How can they survive elevations like 15,000 (or higher) without an oxygen mask?

Bar-headed Goose Flying

Bar-headed Goose

What kind of birds, soaring or migrating, fly at such oxygen-scarce altitudes?

High fliers include Bar-headed Geese, which cross the Himalayas at heights up to 29,500 feet [9,000 m] as they travel between the mountain lakes of central Asia and their winter homes along the Indus [River] valley, India.  A flock of 30 Whooper Swans en route from Iceland to western Europe was logged by a pilot at 27,000 feet [8,230 m].  Mallards have reached 21,000 feet [6,400 m], Bar-tailed Godwits 19,865 feet [6,000 m] and White Storks 15,750 feet [4,800 m] on migration.(2)

Some birds, amazingly, can even soar at 36,000 feet (~11,000 meters)!

How can we know that?

A combination of empirical science (i.e., direct observation) and forensic science (physical remains that show causality events).

Rupell's Griffon ©Telegraph

Rupell’s Griffon ©Telegraph

Specifically, a griffon-vulture, called the Rüpell’s Griffon, collided with an airplane, at that altitude, over Côte d’Ivoire, Africa.

On November 1973, an aircraft collided with a bird at a good 11000 m [meters] above the Ivory Coast in Africa.  The bird wrecked one of the aircraft’s engines, though the plane managed to land without further mishap.  Feather remains in the wrecked engine showed that the bird was a Rüppel’s Vulture.(3)

And other high-flying migrants are known to fly the friendly skies as well:

The impact of even a single goose on a jet airliner can be disastrous … [so] observers south of Canada’s Winnipeg airport monitor the northward progress of Lesser Snow Geese and warn air-traffic controllers of their approach.  If necessary, the airport can be closed down for hours, or occasionally days, during the peak of [their] migration.(4)

Bird Species Height They Fly
But what difference does it make, to us, when the atmosphere is oxygen-scarce?  How are air-breathing humans and animals affected when the oxygen is “thin”?

The highest-lying permanent settlements, in the Andes and in Tibet, are situated at just above 5000 m. [16,400 feet].  Not even people belonging to these mountain communities would be able to survive more than a few hours in the oxygen-deficient air above 8000 m. [26,200 feet].  The oxygen content of the air is about 21%, independent of altitude, in the troposphere; the oxygen pressure consequently decreases in parallel with the decreasing air pressure at increasing altitude. At 6000 m [20,000 feet] the oxygen pressure is only half what it is at sea-surface level; at 8000 m [26,200 feet] it is a third of that[,] and at 10,000 m [32,800 feet] only a quarter. The ability of birds to stay alive at high altitudes is explained by the [comprehensive] fact that they have a more efficient respiratory system than mammals.(5)

But how are birds able to breathe in such oxygen-starved conditions?

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) by Lee LPZ

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) by Lee LPZ

What they have—thanks to their Creator—is much more efficient that Antis’ custom-made oxygen mask!

A bird’s lungs function according to the through-flow principle: the inspired [inhaled] air collects in the bird’s posterior air-sacs and flows through the lungs to the anterior air-sacs before it passes back out. In the lungs the blood is oxygenated by fine air capillaries, where air and blood flow in opposite directions. Owing to this counterflow, the oxygenated blood that leaves the bird lung acquires a higher oxygen concentration than that corresponding to the oxygen pressure in the expired [exhaled] air.(5)

Also, bird hearts are proportionately larger to their bodies than those of mammals—from 0.8 to 1.5% of its total body mass, compared to mammals (averaging around 0.6%), enabling speedy blood transport and intensive oxygen renewal.(5)

So, is the “flow-through principle” basically all that there is, to why birds can breathe at higher altitudes,   —   or is it even more complicated than that?

In fact, the technical aspects of how oxygen is acquired and consumed, by high-flying birds, is more marvelous than is easy to describe, as this succinct-yet-technical summary indicates:

Birds that fly at high altitudes must support vigorous exercise in oxygen-thin environments.  …  [There is an interactive combination of bioengineering] characteristics that help high fliers [to] sustain the high rates of metabolism needed for flight at [such] elevation.  Many traits in the O2 transport pathway distinguish birds in general from other vertebrates.  These include enhanced gas-exchange efficiency in the lungs, maintenance of O2 delivery and oxygenation in the brain during hypoxia, augmented O2 diffusion capacity in peripheral tissues and a high aerobic capacity.  …  The distinctive features of high fliers include an enhanced hypoxic ventilator response, an effective breathing pattern, larger lungs [proportionately speaking], hæmoglobin with a higher O2 affinity, further augmentation of O2 diffusion capacity in the periphery and multiple alterations in the metabolic properties of cardiac and skeletal muscle.  These unique specializations improve the uptake, circulation and efficient utilization of O2 during high-altitude hypoxia.  High-altitude birds also have larger wings than their lowland relatives[,] to reduce the metabolic costs of staying aloft in low-density air.  High fliers are therefore unique in many ways ….(6)

If all of that sounds complicated it is because it is – very complicated.  But in order for birds to successfully fly at high elevations it was necessary for God to design and install bioengineering features that would succeed in such thin air.  And, because God did not provide such physiologies for dogs – such as Alsatian German Shepherds (like Antis) – it was needful for Antis to have his own oxygen mask, for those times when Antis flew in oxygen-scarce altitudes.

So, three cheers for the East Wretham fitters, who custom-fit a canine oxygen mask, for Antis’ high-altitude breathing!  Also, proper credit is surely due to Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd., the manufacturer of the Wellington bomber that Robert and Antis flew in.

Yet how much moreso should we cheer and extol our Creator-God, for how He designed and constructed high-flying birds,(7) with respiratory physiologies that need no manmade airplanes or oxygen masks!    Yes, “the heavens declare the glory of God”(8)  —  and so do the birds he made to fly in those skies, even the skies that are so high that others, flying there, need oxygen masks!

References

  1. Damien Lewis, The Dog Who Could Fly (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2015), pages 178-180, 187.
  2. Jonathan Elphick, ed., Atlas on Bird Migration: Tracing the Great Journeys of the World’s Birds (Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2011), page 23.
  3. Thomas Alerstam, Bird Migration (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993), page 276.
  4. Elphick, Atlas of Bird Migration, page 123.
  5. Alerstam, Bird Migration, page 277.
  6. Graham R. Scott, “Elevated Performance: The Unique Physiology of Birds that Fly at High Altitudes”, Journal of Experimental Biology, 214(15):2455-2463 (August 2011); Douglas L. Altshuler & Robert Dudley, “The Physiology and Biomechanics of Avian Flight at High Altitude”, Integrative and Comparative Biology, 46(1):62-71 (2006).
  7. Job 39:26.
  8. 8. Psalm 19:1.
Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) ©Bruce Moffat Photography

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) ©Fair Use credit: Bruce Moffat Photography

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus)

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James J. S. Johnson

Orni-Theology

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San Diego Zoo’s White-crested Hornbill

White-crested Hornbill (Horizocerus albocristatus albocristatus) SD Zoo

White-crested Hornbill (Horizocerus albocristatus albocristatus ) SD Zoo

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalms 18:2 KJV)

Last year Dan and I made our coast to coast trip. Our five-week trip enabled us to go to the San Diego Zoo for two days. That was definitely on my “Bucket List” for that trip. Since we haven’t been able to do much birdwatching this year, I thought I would finally get around to doing some more articles about that fantastic trip.

Actually, I got discouraged with my pictures and sort of “gave up.” It wasn’t the pictures fault, it was mine. I had recently updated my photography software to an improved one. (Dan’s hand me down copy) As I have stated many times before, I am a birdwatcher, not a photographer. Dan is our great photographer with the nice camera and fancy lenses. Me, I shoot in “program” mode, but, I shoot 5-10 times more photos than Dan. Dan waits for the perfect shot or the right angle. Me? If it’s a bird, I shoot it before it can get away. Anyway, the software frustrated me and at the same time, a program I have been using for years to “shrink” my photos for the blog, was no longer available.

Thus, these photos have been sitting on my hard drive waiting for me to do something with them. Now that I understand the software better, and I now know how to “shrink” them, it’s time to bring them out of hiding.

White-crested Hornbill (Horizocerus albocristatus albocristatus) SD Zoo Day 1

White-crested Hornbill (Horizocerus albocristatus albocristatus) SD Zoo Day 1

Another big encouragement I received lately was a series of tips from a photographer whose site I follow. He is at Victor Rakmil Photography. My favorite one, that encouraged me, was the one about a squirrel. It had to do with “cropping.” I always cropped my photos at the end, but he said to start there first. Simple, but it made sense. The photos in this article were cropped and then fixed up a bit.

Buco White-crested Hornbill (Horizocerus albocristatus albocristatus) SD Zoo

Buco White-crested Hornbill (Horizocerus albocristatus albocristatus) SD Zoo

The White-crested Hornbill was my first attempt at this and I threw a few other photos in. Trust you enjoy them.

Back to this West African Long-tailed Hornbill. This is what the San Diego Zoo calls it, but it is actually a White-crested Hornbill subspecies (Tropicranus albocristatus albocristatus). They are from Guinea to the Ivory Coast. Length “70cm. Elongate, slender hornbill with a very long graduated tail. Predominately black but with bushy white crest extending from forecrown to nape, and white face. The relatively slender black bill with cream upper mandible has a casque that extends for most of its length.” (Birdlife.org) To see a really great photo of this bird, CLICK HERE. They live primarily in forest with dense tangles. Also in tall gallery and secondary forest.

Here is a recording of a White-crested Hornbill by xeno-canto.org

White-crested Hornbill (Tropicranus albocristatus albocristatus) is from the Bucerotidae (The Hornbill kind) See Avian Kinds on the Ark – What Is A Kind?

“Feeds mainly on insects but takes also spiders, slugs, lizards, snakes, nestlings and shrews and also fruit which is taken from the ground. Often follows driver-ants, bird groups or monkeys to hawk for insects disturbed by them. Little known about breeding. The nest is placed in a natural cavity in a tree or palm stump. The female seals the entrance with its own droppings. Lays 2 eggs.” (BirdForum.net)

He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. (Psalms 112:9 KJV)

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Sea To Sea In 2015

Birds of the World

Bucerotidae – Hornbills

Victor Rakmil Photography

Birds of the Bible – Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

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

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

Northern Long-eared Owl

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

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

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by J Fenton

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by J Fenton

Subspecies; Related Species

Five subspecies generally recognized:

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

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

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

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

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©WikiC

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©WikiC

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

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

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

H3284 – יענה – ya‛ănâh – yah-an-aw

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

H3563 – כּוס – kôs – koce

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

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

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

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

******Credits:

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

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

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Birds of the Bible – Owls

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Puffin Live Cam You Might Enjoy Watching.

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) by Michael Woodruff

With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. (Job 12:13 KJV)

If you click the following link, you can watch a live camera set up in a Puffin burrow. This is from Audubon’s Explore. [From Time to Time they make go blank, but will come back. Also, they might leave to go catch a fish, but they will be back.]

CLICK HERE TO WATCH PUFFIN LIVE CAMERA

Love those Puffins!

Puffin with Sand Eels

Puffin with Sand Eels

On the page you will see other Live Cams available to watch.

Enjoy!

Here is an excerpt from a previous viewing.

Puffin Family – Alcidae – Auks

Sad Clowns of the Sea

Lee’s Four Word Thursday – 3/10/16

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The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. (Proverbs 3:19-20 KJV)

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Hummingbird and a Dog

Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) ©WikiC

Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) ©WikiC

“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:25 KJV) (emphasis mine)

Here are two very interesting videos about a hummingbird and a dog getting along very well. It reminded me of these verses.

“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:19-20 KJV)

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.” (Isaiah 11:6-8 NKJV)

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Wordless Birds – With Hummingbirds

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The Owl’s Library – By Emma Foster

Western Barn Owl (Tyto alba) by Daves BirdingPix

Western Barn Owl (Tyto alba) by Daves BirdingPix

The Owl’s Library

By Emma Foster

Once there was an owl who lived in the attic of a library. His name was Leonard and his cousin’s name was Art. One day Leonard received a letter from Art telling him that Art had just published his own book.

Leonard watched people come and go to and from the library every day checking out different kinds of books. Leonard decided that it would be a great idea to have his own library. Then he could watch people check out books every day, and Art’s book could be checked out every day as well.

Leonard had to find some land for sale first. He flew to the library Art lived in, and asked for his help. Art told him how the librarian who owned the library he lived in was retiring and had already put the place up for sale. If Leonard couldn’t buy this library, Art wouldn’t have any place to live.

So Leonard went to the librarian. The librarian, Frank, said that he was going to retire and someone else would have to buy the property because he was in so much debt.
Leonard and Art got together and decided to hold a fundraiser to save the library. They began by posting flyers all over town. The fundraiser would be held that Saturday at the library. Leonard and Art decided that they would have a race to raise money for it. Many people who lived nearby, saw the sign, and decided they would run in the race.

On that Saturday, all the people, including many birds, made their way to the starting line to start running the race. Everyone would run or fly around the entire library and down several streets downtown nearby.

Mixed Flock of birds flying in a V Formation- Put together- ©Creative Commons

Mixed Flock of birds flying in a V Formation- Put together- ©Creative Commons

Art blew the whistle and Leonard watched excitedly s everyone started running as fast as they could. The birds flew up above the buildings to watch everyone run around the library and up the next street. They flew above them to cheer the runners on.

Leonard was excited to see how much money they had raised at the end of the day, so the race seemed to take a really long time. When the first runners ran around the corner to the finish line, Leonard flew after them for the rest if the day.

Barn Owl at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

Barn Owl at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

Everyone cheered when Leonard flew past the finish line with the first runner. When all of the donations were counted up, the total was ten thousand dollars, which was more than enough to keep the library open.

Frank decided that he would still retire, but since Leonard was so excited about keeping the library open, he decided to let Leonard run the library for him when he retired.
Leonard was really happy to run the library, and Art was happy that he would be living in the same library. Every day, Leonard would help people check out books while Art continued to write more books. Both Leonard and Art couldn’t have been happier, especially since they were able to save the library.

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And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28 KJV)

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psalms 104:24 KJV)

Well, Emma has given us another enjoyable story to enjoy. I assume that since Leonard and Art will both be living in the library, they will become even “Wiser Owls.”

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Other Articles by Emma Foster

Wordless Birds

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