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


An Elegant Quilt of Relationships – Creation Moments

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) Passing Berries ©WikiC

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) Passing Berries ©WikiC

“The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.” (Psalm 104:16-17)

There are many incredible designs around us that are unlikely to exist if everything is the result of mindless chance. Many birds eat insects through the summer. While such high protein diets like this are good in mating and reproductive season, they do not prepare the birds to survive the cold weather of winter.

Alaska Wild Berries ©WikiC

An Elegant Quilt of Relationships – Alaska Wild Berries ©WikiC

Interesting Things from Smiley CentralWhat they need to do is build a layer of fat both for calorie storage as well as insulation. So, as winter nears, the berries that have been growing and ripening all summer on various shrubs become more numerous. The high sugar content of the berries’ juice helps the birds to quickly build up fat. The freeze on cold fall mornings even helps to increase the sugar concentration in the berries. Even more amazing is that the various types of berries eaten by the birds ripen in a staggered fashion so that berry season is long and the supplies are always available. For example, as the elderberry supply is just about consumed, highbush cranberries are in production. Often, the summer’s hatchlings’ plumage doesn’t reach full color until they eat the various pigments in the berries, and those pigments are incorporated into the new feathers. In exchange, the birds spread the seeds in the berries.

Cranberries ©Pixabay

Cranberries ©Pixabay

All of these complex, interrelated systems depend on each other in an elegant, fine-tuned design.

Father, thank You for the beauty and song of the birds which bless and enrich our lives. Amen.

Val Cunningham, “Why bushes are better for birds.”

©Creation Moments 2016


More Interesting Things

Designed For Flight – Creation Moments YouTube

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) by Lee

Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) by Lee

“Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:5 KJV)

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28 KJV)

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix


Interesting Things

Creation Moments

Wordless Toucan


Hummingbirds! – by Brian Thomas, M.S.

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) in Flight by Raymond Barlow

Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla) in Flight by Raymond Barlow

That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. (Isaiah 41:20 KJV)

I wanted to share an article from the latest Acts and Facts. Acts and Facts is a monthly magazine from the Institute for Creation Research. Here are a few quotes from “Hummingbirds!”, by Brian Thomas, M.S.

Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) by Judd Patterson

Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) by Judd Patterson

“Who doesn’t pause to marvel when a hummingbird flies by? These tiny, colorful birds perform amazing aerobatic feats, and yet some very smart scientists insist that mere natural forces mimicked a real engineer to construct these fascinating flyers. Authors of a Nature paper on hummingbird flight wrote in 2005 that “the selective pressure on hummingbird ancestors was probably for increased efficiency.”1 They imagine that hummingbirds….”

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) by Michael Woodruff

Violet-headed Hummingbird (Klais guimeti) by Michael Woodruff

“Hummingbird beaks, bones, and feathers differ from those of all other living or extinct bird kinds.3 Their wings don’t fold in the middle. Instead,….”

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

“New hummingbird research has revealed other fascinating features. Birds generate a lot of heat when they fly. Considering their speed, you might expect hummingbirds….”

To read the article  CLICK HERE.


Acts and Facts

“Hummingbirds!”, by Brian Thomas

Institute for Creation Research

Trochilidae – Hummingbirds Family


Arctic Terns Set Mileage Records As Frequent Fliers

Artic Terns 1

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

For  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  as  a  man  travelling  into  a  far country… (Matthew  25:14a)

Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea), which weigh only about a quarter-pound,  are the ultimate example of global migrants, accomplishing the longest-known migrations, every year, from near  the top of the world to near the bottom, then vice versa.  In fact, some Arctic Terns fly >50,000 miles in their pole-to-pole-and-then-back-again migration!  (And, if an Artic Tern lives 30 years, as some do, that could mean about 1½ million miles on his or her lifetime “odometer”, which is comparable to 3 round trips to the moon (i.e., that’s like 3 times, to the moon and back again)!

Imagine how inconvenient it would be for a bird to arrive at the South Pole during May or June, when the weather is freezing cold and food is scarce. Or imagine a similar scenario at the North Pole during November or December, when the weather there is harshest. Thankfully, arctic terns follow the opposite schedule, synchronizing with temperature and seasonal food availability.

Why? These birds are purposefully preprogrammed to operate by these schedules; God fitted them to do so. This programming is critical for these migratory birds to travel over the Atlantic Ocean from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and vice versa, every year. At more than 40,000 miles round trip, they are the ultimate frequent fliers! A recent study pointed out:

The study of long-distance migration provides insights into the habits and performance of organisms at the limit of their physical abilities.

The Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea is the epitome of such behavior; despite its small size (<125 g), banding recoveries and at-sea surveys suggest that its annual migration from boreal and high Arctic breeding grounds to the Southern Ocean may be the longest seasonal movement of any animal. Our tracking of 11 Arctic terns fitted with miniature (1.4-g) geolocators revealed that these birds do indeed travel huge distances (more than 80,000 km [>50,000 miles] annually for some individuals).…

Arctic terns clearly target regions of high marine productivity both as stopover and wintering areas, and exploit prevailing global wind systems to reduce flight costs on long-distance commutes.

Ecologically speaking, it’s all a demonstration of “survival of the fitted”. Arctic terns, like all birds, survive because they are divinely fitted to survive all of the interactive factors in their diverse and geographically extensive environments.

Providentially, the arctic terns select season-synched flight times that repeatedly avoid the harsh winter months at both the North and South Poles. Likewise, the terns select flight plans that take advantage of global wind patterns and incorporate helpful stopovers for rest and refueling.

Timing factors are interactive throughout this cyclical migration: the seasonal weather cycle, wind patterns influenced by daily rotation of the earth, food availability influenced by annual seasons, and the reproductive cycle of the terns themselves.

In all of this, providential programming is both complicated and critical!

[Quoting James J. S. Johnson, “Survival of the Fitted: God’s Providential Programming”, Acts & Facts, 39 (10): 17-18 (October 2010), quoting Carsten Egevang, et al., “Tracking of Arctic terns Sterna paradisaea reveals longest animal migration”, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(5): 2078-2081 (2010).  See also Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, “The Longest Animal Migration in the World Revealed” (press release, n.d.), quoting Carsten Egevang —  and “The Arctic Tern Migration Project” website — showing “the impressive journey of the Arctic tern from the breeding grounds in Greenland to Antarctica and back in this Google Earth Tour combining maps, animations and photos”.]

Artic Tern near Iceberg

Fair Use photo credit:

Arctic Terns are circumpolar, i.e., their range largely covers the polar regions.  Its “normal” turfs include its breeding grounds, spread variously over Arctic lands (like Iceland and Greenland), as well as the sub-Arctic parts of Eurasia (such as Schleswig-Holstein, Germany) and North America, —  plus its migratory “timeshare” stopover lodgings,  — plus its Antarctica wintering grounds (such as Wilkes Land), including “down under” islands near Antarctica, such as Weddell Sea islands or New Zealand’s South Island.

Thus, the historic fame of Thingvellir, Iceland not only derives from hosting the annual Althing events (ever since Viking times), but also from hosting the critical-habitat nesting activities of breeding Arctic Terns!

Unsurprisingly, these noble and courageous seabirds have been celebrated by postage artists and philatelists alike in Nordic countries (and quasi-autonomous jurisdictions), such as the Åland, the Færoe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Sweden   —   as well as in Canada  —  and in other countries (or quasi-countries, like the Isle of Man) that appreciate either the Arctic or Antarctic activities of this globe-flier.

Stamp 1 Stamp 2 Stamp 3

Stamp 4 Stamp 5


Yet even the ever-traveling Arctic Terns have their share of enemies – such as predatory Arctic Foxes who are happy to raid Arctic Tern nests, if they can.  But, Arctic Terns won’t tolerate such predatory thefts without a fight – the Arctic Tern colony defenders will challenge (“mob”) such foxes!         ><> JJSJ



Fair Use photo credit: 

Artic Fox and Artic Tern b©Arkive

Fair Use photo credit: 



James J. S. Johnson

Arctic Tern Family – Laridae



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.


Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets


Birds of the Bible – Who Colored These Originally?

Blue Jay Photo Chopped in Rainbow Colors - From Pinterest by Richard SequinWho Colored These Originally?

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

My Bible tells me in Genesis chapter 1 that God created everything, including all our avian wonders.

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

In fact, we are told specifically that on the fifth day of creation, God created the Birds:

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (Genesis 1:20-23 NKJV)

When the birds were brought forth, judging from today, that they were beautifully arrayed. We can look around at the over 10,000 species today, in spite of being corrupted by the curse (Genesis 3), and see that they are magnificently arrayed in beautiful, fantastic colors and hues.


Nicobar Pigeon - False

Nicobar Pigeon – Falsely Colored

Nicobar Pigeon at Lower Park Zoo by Dan

Nicobar Pigeon at Lower Park Zoo by Dan

Then again in John 1:1-3 we see that the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one who made them.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV)

All of that was stated to establish who the birds were created by. Now for the point of this article.

I belong to Pinterest which is a visual discovery tool that you can use to find ideas for all your projects and interests. You can find all kinds of photos and of course, many bird photos.

Now, the irritation, for me, is that lately many photos of birds have been “photo-shopped” or someone has used other editing software programs to change their colors. No harm intended, but the colors they are adding to the birds, messes up the beauty of their Creator’s original design and color for them.

False - A Rare Red Owl - Snopes_com

False – A Rare Red Owl – Snopes_com

Some people, who are not familiar with what the birds actually look like, may think that is the way they look in the wild. One such case fooled people into believing that a rare Red Owl actually exist. When the asked “Snopes” they found out the truth.

Two more examples:

False - Curl-crested Aricari from Pinterest by Virainova

False – Curl-crested Aricari from Pinterest by Virainova

False - Flicker from Pinterest by Spykee

False – Flicker from Pinterest by Spykee

Now for the real birds in nature. Also, do you realize how easy they would be for birds of prey to catch these? They would stand out boldly in the crowd and would be the first captured. Only a Wise Creator, would provide for the safety of the birds by their proper coloration.

Curl-crested Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) ©WikiC

Curl-crested Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) ©WikiC

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) red-shafted F-left M-right ©WikiC

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) red-shafted F-left M-right ©WikiC

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

Again, I am not condemning those who color their birds in photos, as long as they don’t try to “pass them off” as the “real” bird.

God’s Wisdom, Majesty, and Knowledge cannot be improved upon.

I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.’ (Isaiah 45:5-7 NKJV)


Birds of the Bible

More False Colored Birds

Who Paints The Leaves?

The Amazing Mosquito Hawk Video

Dragonfly cropped by Lee at Circle B

Dragonfly cropped by Lee at Circle B

“Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, And spread its wings toward the south?
(Job 39:26 NKJV)

Flight is a big problem for those who believe that we owe our existence to evolution. Birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, and even some fish fly or at least glide through the air in controlled flight. So many different creatures fly that evolutionists must say that flight evolved several different times.

The dragonfly is among the best fliers in the animal kingdom. The dragonfly can beat its four wings in unison or separately depending on the maneuver it wants to make. Dragonflies can fly at speeds up to 25 miles an hour and even faster. They can hover, take off backward and even make an unbanked turn. The dragonfly eats small insects, including mosquitoes, earning it the nickname “mosquito hawk.” A dragonfly can see a gnat from three feet away, fly to it, capture it and return to its original position in just over one second! One third to one half of its body mass is made up of flight muscles. Its two eyes have a total of 60,000 lenses and are situated so that its range of vision is nearly 360 degrees.

Dragonfly by Raymond Barlow

Dragonfly by Raymond Barlow

Dragonflies not only appear in the fossil record fully formed, but in much greater variety than today. One fossilized dragonfly was the size of a crow! Even the United States Air Force has studied the dragonfly to learn how it flies. The dragonfly is no product of natural selection. It is clearly a specially designed creature whose Designer understands flight better than we do. This Designer is our Creator God.

Prayer: I thank You, dear Father, for the beauty and wonder of the dragonfly. You are truly to be glorified! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Notes: Richard Conniff, “The Lord of Time”, Reader’s Digest, 6/99, p. 142. Photo: Close-up of a dragonfly head. Courtesy of Victor Korniyenko. (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

©Creation Moments Published on Jan 23, 2015

This topic from Creation Moments has been posted before, but this time they did it with a video. Trust you will find this amazing. Our Lord has shown his Great Wisdom again in the Dragonflies design.

Teach Your Children The Right Passwords!

Teach  your  children  the  right  passwords!

~ by James J. S. Johnson

Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus) Juvenile and Female ©WikiC

We will not hide them [“them” refers to God’s prophetic words – see verses 1-3] from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and his wonderful works that He hath done.  For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our [fore]fathers, that they should make them known to their children,  that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born [יִוָּלֵ֑דוּ — niphâl imperfect form of the verb yâlad], who should arise and declare [וִֽיסַפְּר֥וּ — piêl imperfect form of the verb sâphar] them to their children, that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and [that they] might not be as their [fore]fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.   Psalm 78:4-8

Superb Fairywrens teach their children to use passwords, but how?

In this fallen world even bird families have troubles.

One kind of family problem, confronted by many bird parents, is the problem of “brood parasites”, which is really a sneaky kind of “home invasion”.

Brood parasitism” is not a problem of parasitic worms or bugs.  Rather, this is a different kind of parasite – a bold “home invasion” parasite – a “foster child”, from another bird family, who was dropped into a “host” family.  The “host” family is thereafter burdened (unless and until the newcomer is evicted from the nest) with the cost of nurturing the intruding stranger who “moved in” without an invitation.  Worse, the invasive “foster child” often competes with the legitimate nestling birds for food and shelter, sometimes even competing aggressively.

PAS-Icte Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) ©WikiC

Male Brown-headed Cowbird  (Molothrus ater) ©WikiC

One of the best-known examples of such “brood parasitism” practices is those of the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater), an icterid (i.e., member of the blackbird family) with a head that is distinctively chocolate-brown in color.

“A small, black-bodied [and iridescent-plumed] bird, a bit larger than a House Sparrow, with a brown head and a rather finchlike bill.  Females are nondescript gray [like the hue of female grackles] with a finchlike bill.

A brood parasite, the Cowbird lays its eggs in the nests of other birds.”

A Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) chick being fed by a Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia Capensis)

A Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) chick being fed by a Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia Capensis)

[Quoting from Roger Tory Peterson, PETERSON FIRST GUIDE TO BIRDS: A Simplified Field Guide to the Commonest Birds of North America (Houghton Mifflin, 1986), page 102.]

But cowbirds of North America are not the only birds that abuse the (involuntary) charity care of avian “foster parents”;  cuckoos (such as the Common Cuckoo of Eurasia) are known for the same “externalizing” of their parenting costs, producing nestling competitions that result in “changeling” conflicts.

“Once a brood parasite [mother] has managed to slip her egg into a host’s nest, her reproductive role is essentially over.  She leaves each chick to fend for itself, in a [bird] family that did not choose to raise it.

There’s no reason to feel [too] sorry for the uninvited foster chick, however; it is the unwitting adoptive parents that might soon face an unexpected brutality—the ruthless slaying of all their own offspring.

Many brood parasites, such as cuckoos, immediately dispatch of their nest mates [i.e., the children of the caring bird parents who built and maintain the nest that is now compromised] as soon as they hatch by summarily tossing them over the side of the nest.  [So much for refugee gratitude!]

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) Egg in Eastern Phoebe Nest ©WikiC

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) Egg in Eastern Phoebe Nest ©WikiC

African Honeyguides use far deadlier methods to eliminate their [nest] fellows.  Equipped from birth with hooks at the tips of their mandibles, they efficiently wield these needle-sharp barbs against their defenseless nest mates.

Cowbirds do not employ such direct methods, yet they just as effectively eliminate the competition.  Their companions often die of starvation because the larger, more aggressive cowbird grabs all the food [delivered by the nestling-caring parent birds].  It is a wonder that the adults still feed the chick when they realize the disparity in size.  Yet in most cases, the adults accept it [i.e., the cowbird “foster child”], even if it appears double the size of its foster parent and requires twice the care of its [foster] siblings.

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah by Dan

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah by Dan

Not all brood parasites oust their nest mates.  Parents of the whydah family choose species that closely resemble them, such as waxbills.  Not only do the eggs match in coloration, but the chicks resemble their hosts as well.  They even have the same markings in their gaping mouths which signal hunger to an observing adult.  Whylahs blend in with their adopted families instead of destroying them.”

[Quoting from Sharon A. Cohen, BIRD NESTS (Harper Collins, 1993), page 110.]

So cowbird “parenting” is a short-lived experience, somewhat like clandestinely depositing a newborn on the front steps of an orphanage, trusting that the baby will be nurtured (successfully) by others.  But is this surreptitious forced-fostering habit a guarantee of avian reproductive success, at the populational level?

“At first, you may wonder why more birds are not parasites—after all, parasites don’t need to build a nest [for raising their babies], and once they have laid eggs there is no more to it [i.e., to parenting responsibilities on a daily basis]; but there are hidden costs [and risks] to being a [brood] parasite, mainly that the [child-abandoning] bird gives up control over its eggs and young.

Female cowbirds lay an average of forty eggs per year, but only two or three [on average] mature to adulthood.”

[Quoting from Donald Stokes & Lillian Stokes, A GUIDE TO BIRD BEHAVIOR, VOLUME II (Little Brown & Company, 1983), page 213.]

So what does this have to do with avian parents teaching “passwords” to their natural progeny? 

Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) by Ian

Male Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus) by Ian

Consider this amazing news about the Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus) of Australia, which is forced to react to the “child-abandonment” brood parasitism habits of the Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo. (Chrysococcyx basalis).

Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis) by Tom Tarrant

Male Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis) by Tom Tarrant

The Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo deposits its somewhat elongated pink-white egg, with rust-colored spots, into the nest of a fairywren.  The rust-speckled egg looks like a fairywren egg, confusing the fairywren nest owners of its true biogenetic identity.  (This is an avian version of family “identity fraud!)  The fairywren’s upside-down-dome-shaped nest is often dark inside, so visual confusion about which eggs really belong there is common – hence Horsfield’s bronze cuckoos often get by with their “changeling” deceptions, recruiting fairywren parents into fostering cuckoo eggs that hatch into cuckoo nestlings.

After a dozen days of incubation, in a fairywren nest, a bronze cuckoo chick hatches – 2 days before the hatching of fairywren eggs.  The “older” nestling often ejects the fairywren eggs from the nest, displacing the rightful “heirs”.  (What kind of “refugee gratitude” is that?!)

What can fairywrens do about this parasitic (and quasi-predatory) menace?

Is there a way to avoid the involuntary “home invasion” of such Trojan horses?

Yes, there are a few defensive habits that help to protect the fairywren from such home hijackings, including:

(1) nesting in fairywren colonies – so that teamwork is employed to drive off trespassing cuckoos when cuckoos fly near the fairywrens’ nesting colony;

(2) females attend their nests with vigilance, usually, limiting the opportunities that stealthy cuckoos have to access unattended fairywren nests;

(3) when female fairywren recognize a “changeling” in the nest, prior to laying any fairywren eggs therein, the fairywren female may abandon that (cuckoo) egg and build herself a new nest elsewhere;

(4) female fairywrens “teach” their eggs vocal “passwords” to use, to prompt being fed by their mother.  It is this last habit that demonstrates communication from (fairywren) mother to child, before the chick is hatched from its egg!

A few years ago, Diane Colombelli-Négrel, Sonia Kleindorfer, and colleagues from Flinders University in Australia discovered a remarkable way one bird fights back against brood parasites. Female superb fairywrens teach their embryos a “password” while they’re still in their eggs. Each female’s incubation call contains a unique acoustic element. After they hatch, fairywren chicks incorporate this unique element into their begging calls to ask for food. Colombelli-Négrel, Kleindorfer, and colleagues showed that chicks whose begging calls most resembled their mothers’ incubation calls received more food. But the brood parasites of the fairywren, Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoos, produced begging calls that did not so closely resemble the parental password.

[Quoting  Mary Bates, “To Beat a Parasite, Birds Teach their Young a Secret Password”, posted at , accessed 11-23-AD2015.]

If fairywrens observe cuckoos in the neighborhood they become more diligent in their efforts to teach the “please-feed-me” passwords to their unhatched progeny, increasing the likelihood that the babies will successfully beg for food (using the vocal “password”) when they soon become hatchling chicks.

In a new study, Colombelli-Négrel, Kleindorfer, and colleagues again looked at the relationship between superb fairywrens and Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoos to see if a greater threat of brood parasitism would cause the fairywren to up its teaching efforts.

First, the researchers recorded calls from 17 fairywren nests in South Australia. They found the similarity between the mother’s password and the chick’s begging call was predicted by the number of incubation calls produced by the mother: If females made many incubation calls, their chicks ended up producing more similar begging calls.

Next, the researchers conducted a playback experiment at 29 nests. They broadcast either the song of Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoo or a neutral bird. After the cuckoo calls, but not after the neutral bird calls, female fairywrens made more incubation calls to their embryos. In other words, female fairywrens that heard a cuckoo near their nest increased their efforts to teach their password to their embryos.  Colombelli-Négrel and Kleindorfer say their results provide a mechanism for how fairywrens could get better at decision-making and lower the probability of committing an acceptance error for a cuckoo chick or a rejection error for one of their own chicks.  ‘When there are cuckoos in the area, you should call more to your eggs so that they have a higher call similarity after hatching and you can decide if the offspring is yours,’ Colombelli-Négrel and Kleindorfer wrote in an email. ‘We show a mechanism that starts in the nest and involves active teaching and sensorimotor learning in embryos.’”  [again quoting Mary Bates, supra]

This is truly amazing!  Anyone who is not amazed at how God programmed parenting skills into Superb Fairywrens is blind to the facts.

Also, by analogy, there may be a lesson for humans:  be careful about vulnerabilities to intrusive “foster children” that are “accepted” without informed consent  —  your own legitimate children may be put unfairly at risk.

Meanwhile, just as fairywrens teach “passwords” to their children, so should we humans.  But it is much more than “please feed me!” that we must teach our children, and our children’s children.

The vital “words of life” that we must teach, repeatedly, as the words of God, the Scriptures without which there is no real life, because mankind cannot live by physical bread alone, but by every Scriptural saying – every word that proceeds from God (Matthew 4:4).

We will not hide them [“them” refers to God’s prophetic words – see verses 1-3] from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and his wonderful works that He hath done.  For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our [fore]fathers, that they should make them known to their children,  that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born [יִוָּלֵ֑דוּ — niphâl imperfect form of the verb yâlad], who should arise and declare [וִֽיסַפְּר֥וּ — piêl imperfect form of the verb sâphar] them to their children, that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and [that they] might not be as their [fore]fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.   Psalm 78:4-8




Maluridae – Australasian Wrens

James J. S. Johnson’s Articles


The Death Knell of Christianity? (Re-post)


“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”

“I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.” No, those aren’t my words. These words were spoken by atheist Frank Zindler, and they make it very clear what the origins debate is really all about. It is nothing less than the front line in the battle between two incompatible faiths.

American atheist Frank ZindlerIn step-by-step fashion, Zindler described how he reached that conclusion. “The most devastating thing that biology did to Christianity,” he said, “was the discovery of biological evolution.” In other words, he starts out by declaring that evolution has been proven, which, as you know, is very far from the truth.

He goes on to say that evolution means that Adam and Eve never really existed. In his own words, “Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people, the central myth of Christianity is destroyed.

And why is that? He continues, and I quote: “If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin, there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed.

Yes, atheists foolishly think that evolution is the death knell of Christianity. In reality, biology – with its established fact that life comes only from life – points directly to our Creator. Biology is actually the death knell of atheism and evolution.

“Lord Jesus, I pray that You will use me to he lp others see that life comes only from life and that the original Life that started it all was You! Amen.”


Frank Zindler quote taken from debate with William Lane Craig held in 1993 at Willow Creek Community Church. Photo: American atheist Frank Zindler.

©Creation Moments 2015 (with permission)

That is very interesting. I can’t believe how they (evolutionist) just say something is true and that’s it. It is settled, as far as they are concerned. No evidence, no proof, just declare it’s true. My Bible says that God created it and He says He is truth. Science shows many evidences of the Universal Flood and a catastrophe, but evolutionist won’t believe it, because they have “declared” that God doesn’t exist.

The big question for all of us, is who are you going to believe?

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32 KJV)

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17 NKJV)

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, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 1:19-25 KJV)


Who Says God Doesn’t Have A Sense of Humor!

Received this in an e-mail and thought you also would enjoy it. Not sure who to give the credit to for the photos, but I know Who to give the credit to for creating them. Thank You, Lord.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 KJV)

What a wonderful world!
“May God grant you always…
A sunbeam to warm you,
a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you,
Laughter to cheer you.
Faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.” —
An Irish Blessing

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.

Lee’s Addition:

The Bible says it this way, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8 KJV)