So, Who Coos From The Rooftop?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

So, who coos from the rooftop?

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove; mine eyes fail with looking upward; O LORD, I am oppressed — undertake for me. 

(Isaiah 38:14)

On Tuesday afternoon, earlier this week, after commuting home from work, I parked my van in front of my house, preparing to enter my home at the end of a tumultuous day.  But, as I walked from the driveway toward my front door, I heard a strange-sounding bird, emitting a repetition of low-moaning-like noises, like a somewhat-sick dove might sound as it tried to “coo” (which is why some doves are called “mourning doves”).  As I looked above, from where the sounds were originating, I saw an odd bird, much bigger than a dove, perched atop the roof of my house – it was a Greater Roadrunner!

Isaiah the prophet knew that doves can make moaning noises, as if mourning. But other birds can make similar noises, too.

ROADRUNNER Gary Stolz / USFWS (public domain) photo credit

After gazing up at the Roadrunner, who ignored me, I went inside and quickly fetched my handiest bird-book, and soon noticed the following information on the book’s page regarding the Greater Roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus):

“Voice: Six to eight low, dove-like coo’s, descending in pitch.”

[Peterson Field Guides, noted below]

[Quoting Roger Tory Peterson, A FIELD GUIDE TO WESTERN BIRDS (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin / PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, 3rd edition, 1990), page 212.]

Bingo! What a perfect description of what I had been hearing near my front door. 

ROADRUNNER / photo credit

Then my imagination got to thinking.  Imagine a rat, or a snake, that hears that cooing on the ground, behind one of the thick bushes.  What if that hungry rat, or snake, wrongly guessed that the low-moaning cooing noises were clues of a nearby mourning dove nest, where tasty dove eggs (or dove hatchlings) might be located?  If any such rat, or snake, made such a mistaken guess —  OOPS!  Its last thought might be that a hungry roadrunner can sound like a dove!

Such a mistake could be fatal, of course, because roadrunners often eat snakes and small rodents, as well as small lizards, etc.

ROADRUNNER with lizard / U.S. Army (public domain) photo credit

Ironically, mourning doves often frequent the bushes next to my house; sometimes they perch atop the rooftop.  That means our roadrunners sometimes “shadow” the meanderings of our mourning doves. 

Someone once said that “curiosity killed the cat” —  well, sometimes curiosity might kill a rat.

Serpents and Doves

Author’s note: if you’re terrified of snakes, don’t scroll past the first four paragraphs!

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Mourning Dove. Walton County, Georgia. March 24, 2017. ©

Jesus threw an interesting paradox before us when he preached, “Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” The outcome of combining these two critters can be quite perilous… primarily for the dove! Snakes are often found raiding birds’ nests, seeking to devour eggs and chicks. So why this conflicting counsel from our Lord?

A.B. Bruce writes, “The serpent is the emblem of cunning, the dove of simplicity. No creatures can be more unlike; yet Jesus requires of His disciples to be at once serpents in cautiousness, and doves in simplicity of aim and purity of heart. These qualities are not easy to combine; yet the combination is not impossible.”

Christians must have serpent-like wisdom and shrewdness in order to make a stand for righteousness in the arena of worldly politics and social unrest; yet have dove-like care and compassion to peacefully present the gospel and welcome the sin-suffering into the flock of God.

The apostle Paul was wise-as-a-serpent when utilizing his status as a Roman citizen to escape being mauled by a crowd and unlawfully flogged by the local police. Yet, his dove nature remained on top as he stood for Christ while on trial, even though it may not have been advantageous to his personal outcome. And it may have been a prudent idea for Peter to distance himself from a leader that was arrested for insurrection, but the serpent devoured the dove as he publicly declared thrice, “I know not the man.”

Eastern Ratsnake coiled in a kitchen sink. Pantherophis alleghaniensis is a common snake found in the eastern United States. Walton County, Georgia. June 30, 2020. ©

Losing the Balance…

I was a bit saddened this past week to watch events unfold in our small town. Citizens from our city, as well as agitators from out-of-town, gathered to condemn our public safety officers and demand the defunding of the police department. But that is not what saddened me, for peaceful protests are the American way.

Another group of citizens – many from the local churches – also gathered to show support for our people in uniform. Here was the perfect Christian balance: the “dove nature” desired peace and unity in our community; and the “wise-as-serpents nature” was making a stand for righteousness in the political arena. But as passions rose, the serpent began to swallow the dove…

One gentleman who identified himself as local Christian minister, had his microphone snatched away by a protester. In frustration, the minister shoved the protester to the ground. Of course, the media was there to photograph the incident and title it, “Preacher Assaults Protester.” Sadly, the serpent had swallowed the dove when the Christian man lost his temper.


Let us at least be doves…

A.B. Bruce continues, “Happy are they who can be both serpent and dove; but if we cannot, let us at least be doves. The dove must come before the serpent in our esteem, and in the development of our character. If we invert the order, the dove will be devoured by the serpent: the cause of truth and righteousness will be betrayed out of a base regard to self-preservation and worldly advantage.”

The recent social and political issues are causing a rise among many. Passions are brewing and blood is even boiling. Yet as Christians, we must remember to balance our serpent-like shrewdness while engaged in this arena, with our dove-like nature to win the lost to Christ. For what does it profit if we win the worldly battles, but lose many souls? If we can’t balance the serpent/dove natures, let us at least be doves.

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

Jesus And Birds – His Baptism

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17 KJV)

White Dove – Transparent Background PD

Matt. 3:1617. In the process of His baptism, Jesus went up . . . out of the water, the prepositions suggesting that He was completely in the water and came up out from it, again indicating immersion. The descending of the Spirit of God fulfilled the predicted sign to John in order to indicate the true Messiah (cf. John 1:33Is. 11:2). The dove was a symbol of innocence and purity (cf. 10:16) and served as an ideal symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit. The voice from heaven is that of the Father (see also 17:5John 12:28 where He speaks at the Transfiguration and just prior to the Crucifixion), giving His verbal approval to the ministry of His beloved Son. There can be no doubt that all three persons of the Trinity are actively involved here as distinct persons of the Godhead. The Father speaks, the Spirit descends, and the Son is baptized. (King James Study Bible Notes)

Matt. 3:16 Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus not to overcome sin (for he was sinless), but to equip him (see note on Jdg 3:10) for his work as the divine-human Messiah. (Case for Christ Study Bible)

Matt. 3:16 the Spirit of God descending: This was God’s official recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. (NKJV Study Bible)

Here are the other three passages from the Gospel writers:

“And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11 KJV)

Dove PD By Malone

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 KJV)

White Dove – Transparent Background PD

“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34 KJV)

Dove Landing PD

John 1:34 I saw. John gives his final, definitive answer to the Pharisees who were challenging his right to baptize in water. God Himself had sent him to do so (John 1:33), so that when Jesus also would come for baptism (Luke 3:21-22) to “fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), God could identify Him by sending the Holy Spirit upon Him in the form of a dove (John 1:32-33), in order that “He should be made manifest to Israel” (John 1:31). (New Defender’s Study Bible Notes)

I trust you are enjoying and learning from these post of Jesus and the Birds. Stay Tuned for More. (I’m just letting the Word speak for itself.)



Birds Are Wonderful: D, E, and F !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  D,  E,  and  F !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the year of our Lord 2020,  below follows the second advance installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter D is illustrated by Diamond Firetail, Dead Sea Sparrow, and Doves.  The letter E  illustrated by Eiders, Egrets, and Edible-Nest Swiftlet.  The letter F illustrated by Flamingos, Flamebacks, and Frogmouths.

“D” BIRDS:   Diamond Firetail, Dead Sea Sparrow, and Doves.



“E” BIRDS:  Eiders, Egrets, and Edible-Nest Swiftlet.



“F” BIRDS:  Flamingos, Flamebacks, and Frogmouths. 



Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like Edible-Nest Swiftlets and Frogmouths, are a little bit weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)

* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].



Reflecting on Floodwaters (and a Dove): How Do We “Return”?

Returning Earthly Lives to Normalcy, After the Flood:

Yet Whereunto (and How) Do We Return our Souls?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson


ARK ON WAVES, with returning dove   (credit: public domain / Hoshanah Rabbah)

But the dove [Hebrew: yônah] found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned [a form of the verb shûb] unto him [i.e., Noah] into the Ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth; then he [i.e., Noah] put forth his hand, and took her [i.e., the female dove], and pulled her unto himself, unto the Ark.  And he waited yet other 7 days; and again he [i.e., Noah] sent forth the dove from the Ark; and the dove came back [a form of the verb shûb] unto him at evening; and, lo! — an olive leaf, plucked off, was in her [i.e., the female dove’s] mouth!  — so that Noah knew the waters were abated from upon the earth.  And he waited yet other 7 days; and sent forth the dove, who returned [a form of the verb shûb] not again unto him anymore.  (Genesis 8:9-12)

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, in recent weeks, both visited the southeastern United States (as well as some Caribbean islands nearby) with powerful devastation. Thereafter those hurricanes left flooding and turmoil in their wakes.  The need for restoration and a return to normalcy will continue.

Yet imagine how much more devastation faced the human race when only 8 humans were alive, who themselves, for more than a year, had just survived the only worldwide Flood that ever was – or ever will be. What an aftermath!  And what a need for ecological restoration, to say the least!

In fact, that is part of what we read about within the 8th chapter of Genesis.


DOVE (credit: Fanpop Wallpaper)

Furthermore, what an amazing report of scientific research is reported in Genesis chapter 8 – Noah used a dove to take, in effect, an ecological snapshot of the Flood’s aftermath, so that Noah could observe – with the help of a dove (who served his need for information, like a passenger pigeon) – when Earth was drained sufficiently to permit recovered/sprouted olive trees to produce some pluckable leaves, an early sign that Earth was regaining a vegetated condition.


DOVE RETURNS TO NOAH   (image credit: Pinterest)

Thus Noah, as the greatest empirical scientist then alive (not to mention the greatest zookeeper to ever live!), concluded that the Flood’s wake was subsided sufficiently to permit the first stages of ecological recovery. Meanwhile, Noah (and his family, as well as the other Ark-borne animals) remained aboard the Ark, until God Himself instructed Noah that it was safe for their disembarkation (Genesis 8:15-19).


WHITE DOVE   (photo

credit; Journal of Consumer Research)

Much more has been said, and should be said, about Noah’s disembarkation after the Flood. (For example, consider the entire book by Britain’s premier historian, Dr. Bill Cooper, titled AFTER THE FLOOD.)

But for now, however, consider just one Hebrew word, the simple verb shûb. It basically means to “return”, to “come back”.  In Genesis 8:9-12 the dove twice returned, after which she did not return on the third occasion.  What a simple action verb, yet how mighty its meaning in Scripture!  Two other usages of this action verb will be noted, below, to illustrate the importance of this simple verb, the root form of which is only 3 letters in Hebrew (shûb).

In Psalm 23:3 we read that the LORD “restores my soul”  —  literally, God “returns” my soul, because of His shepherdly care for me.  Because God created me, as a unique human (Psalm 102:18), my being began with and by His divine command, so He is the author of my creaturely existence.

However, as a sinner, I have strayed from God my Creator (Isaiah 53:6a), so I cannot belong to Him, so how can I be successfully returned unto Him?  Lamentably, as a sinner, I cannot accomplish a satisfactory solution to my personal predicament – my problem of sin-caused alienation (Isaiah 59:2 & 64:6; Romans 3:23).

Wonderfully, however, without compromising His holiness and justice, God has provided a redemptive solution to my sin problem, the gift of substitutionary atonement (John 3:14-16). Christ has voluntarily and magnanimously accepted the punishment due for my sin (and for all of Adam’s race), to justify the gifted exchange of Christ’s own perfect righteousness (Romans 6:23), generously producing the marvelous result that I can be justified and forgiven (because His blood on the cross paid my sin-debt), so long as I happily accept that redemptive gift by believing that God has chosen to give me that redemption (Ephesians 1:3-14; John 14:6)!

What a privilege to be one of the “sheep” of God’s flock (see Psalm 100).  In John chapter 10, we read that Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-14), Who knows and cares for His sheep, and Who gives unto us, His “sheep”, everlasting life, as a gracious and redemptive gift of His love (John 10:16-18 & 10:26-28).

In other words, like an errant sheep (Isaiah 53:6), I have (as has every human sinner) wandered away from God, yet God has redemptively sought and retrieved me (Luke 15:4-7) as if I was a sheep separated from 99 other sheep, and Christ deemed me valuable enough to find and to fetch, and to safely secure me within His flock!


JESUS THE GOOD SHEPHERD  (image credit: Pinterest)

But notice that the gift of redemption in Christ is not automatically applied to the eternal destinies of every human being – there is a choice to be made, a choice with moral (and everlasting) accountability – the choice must be willingly made, to accept (rather than to decline accepting) Christ as one’s personal Redeemer. No one is forcefully drafted into Heaven against his or her will – there are no “robots” in Heaven!

It is “whosoever will” who enters Heaven by God’s grace in Christ, so no truth-opposing (and thus Christ-rejecting) unbelievers enter the ultimate Haven of rest. And that requirement of believing acceptance of God’s grace, a/k/a saving faith, is the choice that is needed, in order to benefit eternally form Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection (John 1:12 & 3:14-18).

This crucial need to consciously and voluntarily accept, by belief (what is sometimes called a “love of the truth”), God’s promised gift of salvation in Christ, is consistently taught throughout the Holy Bible. Just as the serpent-bitten Israelites needed to believe God’s promise about the only sufficient remedy for deadly snakebites, we must believe God’s promise that looking to the once-for-all crucified Christ is the only sufficient remedy for our own sin problem (John 3:14-16, in light of Numbers 21:7-9).


JOHN 3:14-15 with NUMBERS 21:4-9   (image credit: blog)

That requires us, as individuals, to personally believe the truth of God’s promise of saving grace in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:22-26 & 4:20-25 & 10:13).

Notice that this kind of belief is not the same thing as promising to serve God (or “to follow Jesus”), because real saving belief involves expecting God to give us something, freely and graciously, apart from anything we do (or promise to do) for God.

Oddly, this is hard for many to accept —  the idea that eternal life in Christ really is free is rejected by many, despite the Bible’s clear teaching that salvation in Christ is a GIFT (Romans 6:23).   No one merited the right to be conceived in the womb, or to be born.  Yet it is undeniable that our creaturely lives are gifts we did not earn (or work for) — obviously God made us, or else we would not exist!  So, since our very lives are unmerited gifts from God, to us, why should we have difficulty with the idea that God gives us forgiveness and salvation in Christ, as an unmerited gift that we neither earn nor work for?

Thus, it is simply believing God’s Word (like a trusting toddler would believe a loving parent), —  specifically, believing the promises in God’s Word regarding the Lord Jesus Christ as the unique Messianic Savior (1st Corinthians 15:3-4),  — that constitutes saving faith (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:12 & 3:14-16).  It is that all-important belief that God uses to return our souls unto Himself, the psalmist (David) says in the 19th Psalm:

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting [a form of the Hebrew verb shûbּ  —  literally “returning”] the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)

And it is God Himself Who is our ultimate and only “haven of rest”, our souls’ true “home”.  (See “Why We Want to Go Home”, posted at .)    In other words, although some would say that “home (on Earth) is where you hang your hat”, our eternal home is where we belong forever – with God Himself (and with His forever family), thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:20-21)!

Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 6/18/17


Silver Diamond Dove Female ©MediaCache




“Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”  (Psalm 68:13)

Silver Diamond Dove Female ©MediaCache


More Daily Devotionals


Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 10/15/16


Dove resting on board the Ark



But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” (Genesis 8:9 KJV)

Dove resting on board the Ark Encounter by Lee


More Daily Devotionals


Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 9/24/16


Noah taking the Dove Back on board. the Ark



“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” (Genesis 8:9 KJV)

Noah taking the Dove Back on board the Ark Encounter by Lee


More Daily Devotionals


Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 8/23/16


Inca Dove ©WikiC

Inca Dove ©WikiC



“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. (Genesis 8:9 KJV)

Inca Dove ©WikiC Chan Robbins


More Daily Devotionals


Lee’s Four Word Thursday – 2/18/16


Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©WikiC



And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 KJV)

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©WikiC


P. S.  Sandra took me up on my challenge and today she posted Four-Word Thursday – Lee’s Challenge. She started the challenge and now she is challenged. :)

More Daily Devotionals


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Diamond Dove

Before I get to the Diamond Dove, I have an appeal to any members who have been on the Bird of the Week list since 2003 and who have kept copies of the postings. It’s a long shot I know, but I lost the text of some of the early ones in a hard disk crash and I’ve nearly finished compiling the first volume covering 2002 to 2009 of the ebook Diary of a Bird Photographer. I have all the photos but not the descriptions of: Red-capped Plover 9 March 2003, Bank Myna 1 June 2003, Spinifex Pigeon 2 July 2003, Leaden Flycatcher 29 July 2003, Australian Pelican 7 July 2003 and Noisy Pitta 15 February 2004. If you have them, I’d be very grateful if you’d let me have the text by email and the first six respondents who can provide each of the missing ones will get a free copy of the ebook when it’s published.

Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) by Ian 1Back to the Diamond Dove. Having cut the recent camping trip short, I didn’t come back with the anticipated collection of photos of dry country birds, but here is one such species from earlier trips as compensation. This delightful, tiny dove is found in arid country throughout mainland Australia. It depends on the availability of water and moves long distances in time of drought. It’s comparable in length to its close relative the Peaceful Dove (both about 19-24cm/7.5-9.5in) but has a relatively much longer tail and smaller body. So it tips the scales at a mere 28-43g/1-1.5 compared with 41-66g/1.5-2.3 for the Peaceful Dove.

Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) by Ian

You can see how small it is in the second photo where it is drinking with finches just after dawn – being a late riser I can’t help boasting when I get up early. There are two points of interest in this photo. The finches in question are Gouldian – there had to be a good reason for me to get up in the dark at 5:30am in Kununurra and drive 100km to Wyndham. There are more photos of the Gouldians here. The other point is that the dove is demonstrating the drinking skill of members of the Pigeon and Dove family, the Columbidae. They drink by sucking and swallowing and don’t have to first sip and then tip their heads back like almost all other birds do. Apparently, they can drink six times faster in this way, maybe a useful survival strategy in a very vulnerable situation. Incidentally, I also photographed drinking Crested Dove at the same spot 15 minutes later, by which time the finches had left.

Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) by Ian

Diamond Doves have strikingly red eye-rings, quite unlike the blue-grey ones of Peaceful Doves, and small white spots on the wing coverts which give them their common name. The eye-rings are red in adults, and although those of males are supposed to be larger and brighter than those of females, and females are supposed to have browner plumage, I can’t find any consistent differences. The one in the third photo has a brownish wash on the wings and a very striking eye-ring, which would make it trans-gender according to those criteria. That photo was taken just south of Townsville. 2007 was a very dry year in eastern Australia (see below) and at such times, Diamond Doves may show up quite close to the coast.

Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) by Ian
The bird in the fourth photo is a juvenile and has not yet developed the red eye-ring and red legs of the adult. The barring on the head and breast reveals its close relationship to the Peaceful Dove, but note that it has the diagnostic white spots of the Diamond Dove on the wing coverts.

Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) by Ian

Regarding the Scientific name, Geopelia means ‘ground dove’ in Greek and refers to the feeding habits of member of this genus. Diamond Doves feed predominantly on grass seeds and usually very small ones at that. The specific name cuneata means ‘wedge-shaped’, coming from the Latin cuneus meaning a ‘wedge’. I suppose it must refer to the pointed tail, but it isn’t what I usually think of as a wedge-shaped tail, compared with the wedge-tailed eagle and shearwater.

Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) by Ian

“cuneiform ground dove”

Needless to say, I couldn’t resist Googling deeper into the related word ‘cuneiform’, which refers to the wedge-shaped characters used mainly on clay tablets in ancient Mesopotamia and Persia. This led me to the website of the Pennsylvanian Museum which gives you the opportunity to write your initials as a monogram ‘like a Babylonian’. The above image shows the result for ‘DOVE’, clearly not just any dove of course but a cuneiform ground dove.


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
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Lee’s Addition:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16 KJV)

These doves are quite small in comparison to other members of the Columbidae family. During our trip we saw the Western (Blue) Crowned and Victoria Crowned Pigeons, which are some of the larger members of the family.

The way they drink, by sucking is very interesting. I am sure the Lord had a reason for creating them this way. May have to research that some day.


“Flag That Bird!” (Part 4)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 4)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; unto him who overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.   (Revelation 2:7)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan


The time will eventually come when the words “tree” and “paradise” coincide, in a truly heavenly way.  But until then, we do have a bird of “paradise” that is known for habituating trees, especially the tropical trees of Papua New Guinea.  Various birds, each known as a Bird of paradise, are known for their flamboyant color and beauty, especially long, thin, streamer-like tail feathers that show off the bird’s fancy status as a flying exhibit of heavenly design and construction.

The first of today’s featured creatures, the Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana), is a tropical rainforest bird with feathery flamboyance.  Indeed, extravagant feathers are commonplace for birds-of-paradise, and this variety sports scarlet red, bright green, lemon yellow, black, combined to maroonish-mauve/rusty-brown, comprising a challenge for any wildlife painter!

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

However, as beautiful as Bird-of-Paradise feathers may be, be cautious about buying their feathers from any foreign vendors, because commercial exporting transactions involving these birds are regulated according to Appendix II of a wildlife protection treaty called “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” (a/k/a the “Washington Convention”, usually abbreviated as “CITES” – opened for signature AD1973, adopted by USA  in AD1975).  The USA vigorously enforces CITES protections , internationally, by investigating, arresting, and prosecuting poachers who violate the endangered species provisions of the CITES treaty.

In Flag Those Birds! (Part 1)”,  we considered 4 “banner birds”  –  besides eagles  –  that appear on national flags:  Belgium’s Wallonian Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus); Portugal’s Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis); Burma’s Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus); and Dominica’s Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis).  In Flag Those Birds! (Part 2)”,  we reviewed 2 more “banner birds”:  the British Antarctic Territory’s Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), and the Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a Saint Helena’s skinny-legged “Wirebird” (Charadrius sanctaehelenae).  In Flag That Bird! (Part 3)”,  we showcased 1 more “banner bird”:  Kiribati’s Great Frigatebird Emperor Penguin (Fregata minor), as well as the importance and popularity of Mother’s Day.

In this posting, we have two more “banner birds”:  Papua New Guinea’s bird of paradise, featured on the flag of Papua New Guinea, and the ubiquitous dove, featured on Fiji’s flag (as well as on the royal standard of Tonga).  God willing, we will subsequently review the black swan of Western Australia, the piping shrike of South Australia, the condor of Bolivia; and Uganda’s crested crane.

So for now, let us resume our series with Papua New Guinea’s Raggiana Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana).

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana, f/k/a Gerrus paradisaea).

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) ©WikiC

Birds-of-paradise routinely eat a diet of fruits and bugs, which are plentiful in New Guinea jungles, so no one should expect birds-of-paradise to miss a meal, much less to starve in their tropical habitats!  Birds-of-paradise are known to hybridise, in the wild, wreaking havoc on taxonomy charts.  [See David Chandler & Dominic Couzens, 100 Birds to See Before You Die:  The Ultimate Wish List for Birders Everywhere (San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2008), page 207.]

Raggiana birds-of-paradise especially appreciate tropical fruit, including nutmeg.  After eating jungle fruits the birds-of-paradise serve fruit-trees by dispersing the seeds, post-digestion, with natural “fertilizer”, and thereby promote the planting of the next generation of fruit trees, which eventually germinate and fruit somewhere within the range of the tree-planting bird-of-paradise.

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) by Dan

Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) Lowry Park Zoo by Dan

The Raggiana Bird of Paradise (a/k/a “Count Raggi’s bird-of-paradise”, being named for Marquis Francis Raggi of Genoa, Italy) is the national bird of Papua New Guinea, since AD1971, when it was included on that nation’s national flag and coat-of-arms.

Flag of Papua New Guinea ©PD

Flag of Papua New Guinea ©PD

The next “banner bird” is a dove (which is really a family of similar birds), the most common species of which is the ubiquitous Rock Dove (Columbia livia), a species that includes within it a domesticated subspecies (i.e., breeder’s variety) called the homing pigeon (Columbia livia domestica  –  a/k/a “carrier pigeons” when they carry messages), many of which are completely white.

Of course the world is home to many other common doves and pigeons (e.g., Mourning Dove, Key West Quail-Dove, Inca Dove, White-winged Dove, various Turtle Doves, etc.), but earlier comments about doves and pigeons are now cited, rather than being repeated here,  [See, for examples, Lee’s Birdwatching dove articles at Birds of the Bible – Dove and Turtle Dove,  Birds of the Bible – Descending Like A Dove, and Birds of the Bible – Dove and Pigeon Distribution  —  as well as brief comments on the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), while recalling a wonderful morning of bird-watching (with Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel) in Pond-side Birdwatching In Florida III.]

Flag of Fiji ©PD

Flag of Fiji ©PD

A completely white “dove of peace” appears on the flag of Fiji.  But what variety of “dove” is it?  (Well, it looks like it could be a white homing pigeon, but is that what the Fiji flag designers had in mind?)

Fiji is a tropical archipelago (i.e., cluster of islands) in the South Pacific Ocean.  Ironically, the special habitat of the Fiji archipelago is the only “home” for 3 endemic varieties of fruit-eating doves (a/k/a “fruit doves” or “fruit pigeons”): the Orange Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus victor, a/k/a Flame Dove), Golden Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus luteovirens, a/k/a Lemon Dove or Yellow Dove), and Whistling Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus layardi, a/k/a Velvet Dove or Yellow-headed Dove), —  yet none of those doves are completely white.

So the Fiji flag’s white dove, which derives from the coat-of-arms of the Kingdom of Fiji (AD1871-AD1874), does not match any particular variety of dove that is endemic to the Fiji islands.

White Dove With Olive Branch - Stained Glass ©WikiC

White Dove With Olive Branch – Stained Glass ©WikiC

[ image taken from ]

The olive leaf branch in the white dove’s beak suggests that the dove portrayed (in the flag of Fiji) is the olive-bearing dove that Noah released, received, and released again (see Genesis 8:8-12), which Ark-borne dove many have guessed was all white (although the Bible says nothing about that dove’s color).  Likewise, the royal standard of Tonga depicts a similar all-white dove, bearing a green olive leaf.

Royal Standard of Tonga

Royal Standard of Tonga

There are, of course, some doves that are completely white.  As noted above, one example of a pure-white dove is the white homing pigeon. That is as good a guess as many.  After all, homing pigeons are famous for returning “home”, and the olive-bearing dove returned home (to its “house-boat”) after the Flood, — so maybe Noah’s famous dove was a homing pigeon!

White Homing Pigeon © WikiC

White Homing Pigeon © WikiC

But we probably need to wait — until we have a chance to speak with Noah, himself, because Noah was the bird-handling one (of only 8 humans) who personally knows which variety of “dove” brought back that famous olive leaf unto him, after the year-long global Flood.  (What a voyage those 8 had!)  And the world’s people-groups, to this day, have multifarious records (usually literary, but not always) of remembering the unique ocean voyage that those 8 survivors took, some 4½ thousand years ago  —  as is briefly illustrated in “Genesis in Chinese Pictographs” (posted at ).  For a thoroughly researched and documented cornucopia of ancient flood accounts, see Dr. Bill Cooper’s THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS (Creation Science Movement, 2011 — available through ), 424 pages.

Noah with a Dove ©Drawing WikiC

Noah with a Dove ©Drawing WikiC

And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.  And he [i.e., Noah] stayed yet other 7 days; and sent forth the dove, which returned not again unto him anymore.  (Genesis 8:11-2)

With those short comments, as Noah did centuries ago (Genesis 8:12), we now “release” the dove into the wide wild world, where many of that tribe thrive, faithfully being fruitful, multiplying, and filling the earth (Genesis 1:22 & 9:8-12).

Another day, God willing, we shall consider the black swan of Western Australia,  the piping shrike of South Australia,  the condor of Bolivia,  and Uganda’s crested crane.  So please stay tuned!


“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 1)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 2)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 3)

More Articles by James J. S. Johnson