Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? (Job 37:16 KJV)
This latest I.O.C. list of World Bird Names is quite an undertaking. As these ornithologists from around the world gain information from the DNA studies, their thinking of Bird Families change. When the Lord created the world and the birds, He placed the DNA in living creatures and man, knowing that one day it would be discovered. With that said, they keep arranging birds different families.
I realize many casual birdwatchers do well to put a name on a bird, let alone know what family to which they belong. Yet, when you look in a Bird Guide to find the name of the bird, it helps to know that they are divided into families.
This is just one of the new pages that have been adding to this site with the newest IOC update. Stay tuned, I’m still building pages. I have 8 or 9 more I am in the process of completing.
So, today, we will finish up the family by showing you last group of the “allies.” There is a Large-footed Finch in the Peropetes genus, the only one in the genus actually. Then the Atlapetes genus will be the bulk of the birds (31) and they are all Brushfinches, two finches from the Pselliophorus genus, a Yellow Cardinal from the Gubernatrix, and finish it off with 9 Bush Tanagers in the Chlorospingus genus. Forty-four amazing avian wonders from their Creator for us to enjoy.
The Large-footed Finch is found in the undergrowth of mountain forests, second growth, bamboo clumps, and scrubby pastures from 2150 m altitude to the scrubby páramo at 3350 m. It has a slender bill, a modestly sized tail and very large and powerful feet and legs.
White-naped Brushfinch (Atlapetes albinucha) by Kent Nickell
The next genus, the Atlapetes with their Brushfinches are rather interesting and colorful. Most are found in forest in subtropical or tropical areas. The range from Mexico, Central America and throughout South America.
The Yellow Cardinal is another neat avian creation, Looks just like our Northern Cardinal, but is yellow and in a different family altogether.
Sooty-capped Bush Tanager (Chlorospingus pileatus) by Ian
The last genus in this family, is the Chlorospingus and contains 9 Bush Tanagers. With this last group, we finish up the Emberizidae Family. Trust you enjoyed seeing most of the 181 members over the last few weeks.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11 KJV)
“Worthy The Lamb” ~ Choir and Orchestra at Faith Baptist Church (May 15, 1916)
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. (Psalms 84:3 KJV)
Sunday is here again, and it’s time to continue with the Emberizidae Family of Buntings, New World Sparrows and their allies. First, aren’t we thankful that the Lord has created the world and set up a seven day week. He set the pattern for us to rest after six days of work. He was tired, nor has he stopped working, He was just setting an example, because the human body needs rest. He ought to know, He created us.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 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 2:1-3 KJV) (emphasis mine)
I for one look forward to Sundays. We rest and attend church, eat and fellowship with our friends, and attend the evening service and rest some more. These Sunday Inspirations, which have been going on for some time now, take several hours to put together, and then are scheduled for 1 or 2 minutes after midnight Sunday morning. When WordPress puts them up, I will already be resting in bed and enjoying the start of my Day of Rest. Enough of the personal information, let’s see what these birds are up to this week.
The first Sunday, we showed the Buntings in this family, last week, we showed most of the New World Sparrows in this Emberizidae family, so, let’s see who these “allies” are.
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) by Ray
Towhees typically have longer tails than other emberizids. Most species tend to avoid humans, so they are not well known, though the eastern towhee P. erythrophthalmus is bolder. This species, and some others, may be seen in urban parks and gardens. Also, in with the Melozone genus are four Ground Sparrows.
Arremon is a genus of neotropical birds in the Emberizidae family. With the exception of the green-striped brush finch, which is endemic to Mexico, all species are found in South America, with a few reaching Central America.
“Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.” (Psalms 84:3 KJV)
This week, as we continue in the Emberizidae – Buntings, New World Sparrows and allies Family, the next 50 or so will be highlighted. That will leave us with the last of the Emberizidae Family III and/or IV to finish up this family. Last week’s Sunday Inspiration had most of the Buntings from this Family.
American sparrows are a group of mainly New World passerine birds, forming part of the family Emberizidae. American sparrows are seed-eating birds with conical bills, brown or gray in color, and many species have distinctive head patterns.
Although they share the name sparrow, American sparrows are more closely related to Old World buntings (which are also in the family Emberizidae) than they are to the Old World sparrows (family Passeridae). American sparrows are also similar in both appearance and habit to finches, with which they sometimes used to be classified. (Wikipedia)
Many of the sparrows are just called “Little Brown Jobs” or LBJs. They are very numerous and common, yet they are special to the Lord. Matthew 10 quotes the Lord with these verses:
Crested Bunting (Emberiza lathami) by Nikhil Devasar
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; (Song of Solomon 2:12 KJV)
Our new family we start today is the Emberizidae – Buntings, New World Sparrows and allies. Since there are 181 species in the family, today we will introduce you to the Emberiza genus. It contains 42 Buntings and one Yellowhammer. These are small sparrow-sized birds with conical bills that gives the power to crack open many kinds of seeds. Seeds being their favorite food.
There is one more bunting, the Lark Bunting, that follows next after the Emberiza genus. “Lark buntings are small songbirds, with a short, thick, bluish bill. There is a large patch of white on the wings and they have a relatively short tail with white tips at the end of the feathers. Breeding males have an all black body with a large white patch on the upper part of the wing. Non-breeding males and females look similar and are grayish brown with white stripes.” (Wikipedia)
There are many of these “Emberizidae buntings are boldly patterned on the face and head, or have colorful underparts.” (National Geographic Birds of the World,, p. 356) You will meet the other members of this family later. The Sparrows and others will be very familiar, many referred to as “little brown jobs”
“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27 KJV)
“Triumphantly The Church Will Rise” ~ Faith Baptist Men’s Quintet
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:17-23 KJV)
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellowhammer ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter ~ 2-17-14
Continuing the theme of finches and finch-like birds here’s a photo of a male Yellowhammer along the same lane in Co. Louth as the Eurasian Bullfinch. The Yellowhammer is a bunting and belongs to the family Emberizidae, which includes the New World Sparrows.
When the first photo was taken, the Hawthorn was in full bloom. The second photo was taken 12 days later – on the same day as last week’s Bullfinches – and the Hawthorn is almost finished. Yellowhammers have a characteristic rapid slightly nasal song often rendered as ‘little bit of bread and NO cheese’ with the ‘NO’ higher and the ‘cheese’ lower and longer than the other notes. Sadly, European populations of Yellowhammers have suffered from intensive farming and the removal of hedges.
Like many other European, or more strictly ‘British’ songbirds, Yellowhammers have been introduced into New Zealand where they have done well. Vagrants from the New Zealand population have been recorded on rare occasions on Lord Howe Island, so the Yellowhammer is the only member of the family on the Australian List. The third photo was taken in New Zealand when I was searching at a known site for the extremely rare Black Stilt on the Ahuriri River in the Waitaki Valley on the South Island. I had just parked nearby but stopped to take the Yellowhammer photo on the principle of a bird in the hand . .
In fact, less than ten minutes later I took this photo, which featured as bird of the week three days after I’d taken the photos (I couldn’t wait to show it off!).
The sharp-eyed among you would have noticed that the sequence number of the Black Stilt is 44 greater than that of the Yellowhammer so it was a busy ten minutes and you might wonder what featured in the intervening photos. Well, they were of a smart New Zealand tern called the Black-fronted as there was a small colony of them nesting in the pebbles beside the river. That hasn’t featured as bird of the week, so I’ll hold it over till next time.
also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. (Genesis 7:3 NKJV)
The Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae. It is common in all sorts of open areas with some scrub or trees and form small flocks in winter.
The Yellowhammer is a robust 15.5–17 cm long bird, with a thick seed-eater’s bill. The male has a bright yellow head, yellow underparts, and a heavily streaked brown back. The female is much duller, and more streaked below. The familiar, if somewhat monotonous, song of the cock is often described as A little bit of bread and no cheese, although the song varies greatly in space. Its name is thought to be from the German word ammer meaning bunting.
Its natural diet consists of insects when feeding young, and otherwise seeds. The nest is on the ground. 3-6 eggs are laid, which show the hair-like markings characteristic of those of buntings.
Slate-colored Red Junco of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
From col. F. M. Woodruff.Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.
THE SLATE-COLORED JUNCO.
LACK SNOWBIRD, in most of the United States and in Ontario, where it is a common resident, and White Bill, are names more often applied to this species of Sparrow than the one of Junco, by which it is known to ornithologists. It nests in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania, New York, and New England, and is a resident throughout the year in northeastern Ohio, and in Michigan. In all probability, the Snowbird does not breed, even occasionally, anywhere within the limits of the state of Illinois, though individuals may in very rare instances be found several weeks after others have departed for the north, these having probably received some injury which prevents their migration. Prof. Forbes refers to such an instance, which came under his own observation. He saw on a tree in the edge of a wood, in the southern part of the state, an adult specimen of the Junco, and only one, which, he says, astonished him.
Mr. William L. Kells states that in Ontario this Junco selects a variety of places for nesting sites, such as the upturned roots of trees, crevices in banks, under the sides of logs and stumps, a cavity under broken sod, or in the shelter of grass or other vegetation. The nest is made of dry grasses, warmly and smoothly lined with hair. The bird generally begins to nest the first week of May, and nests with eggs are found as late as August. A nest of the Junco was found on the rafters of a barn in Connecticut.
Almost any time after the first of October, little excursion parties of Juncos may be looked for, and the custom continues all winter long. When you become acquainted with him, as you surely will, during his visit, you will like him more and more for his cheerful habits. He will come to your back door, and present his little food petition, very merrily indeed. He is very friendly with the Chick-a-dee, and they are often seen together about in the barn-yards, and he even ventures within the barn when seeds are frozen to the ground.
“The Doctor,” in Citizen Bird, tells this pretty story of his winter pets:
“My flock of Juncos were determined to brave all weathers. First they ate the seeds of all the weeds and tall grasses that reached above the snow, then they cleaned the honeysuckles of their watery black berries. When these were nearly gone, I began to feed them every day with crumbs, and they soon grew very tame. At Christmas an ice storm came, and after that the cold was bitter indeed. For two days I did not see my birds; but on the third day, in the afternoon, when I was feeding the hens in the barn-yard, a party of feeble, half-starved Juncos, hardly able to fly, settled down around me and began to pick at the chicken food. I knew at a glance that after a few hours more exposure all the poor little birds would be dead. So I shut up the hens and opened the door of the straw-barn very wide, scattered a quantity of meal and cracked corn in a line on the floor, and crept behind the door to watch. First one bird hopped in and tasted the food; he found it very good and evidently called his brothers, for in a minute they all went in and I closed the door upon them. And I slept better that night, because I knew that my birds were comfortable. The next afternoon they came back again. I kept them at night in this way for several weeks, and one afternoon several Snowflakes came in with them.” (See Snowflakes.)
Range—North America; breeds from northern Minnesota to northern New York and southward along the summits of the Alleghenies to Virginia; winters southward to the Gulf States.
Nest—Of grasses, moss, and rootlets, lined with fine grasses and long hairs, on or near the ground.
Eggs—Four or five, white or bluish white, finely or evenly speckled or spotted, sometimes heavily blotched at the larger end with rufous-brown.
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis) by Ian
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25 KJV)
What a neat story about helping the Juncos out of the cold. The Junco the writer is referring to a subspecies the Dark-eyed Junco. The Slate-colored Junco has 3 subspecies of the Dark-eyed, the hyemalis, carolinensis, and the cismontanus. The photo at top is more of the Dark-eyed dominate species. There are over 15 subspecies of Dark-eyed Juncos.
The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is the best-known species of the juncos, a genus of small grayish American sparrows. This bird is common across much of temperate North America and in summer ranges far into the Arctic. With shorter wings, they are more prone to stay during the winters and not migrate. If so, it would only be short distances. They are members of the Emberizidae – Buntings, New World Sparrows & Allies Family
Adults generally have gray heads, necks, and breasts, gray or brown backs and wings, and a white belly, but show a confusing amount of variation in plumage details. The white outer tail feathers flash distinctively in flight and while hopping on the ground. The bill is usually pale pinkish.
Males tend to have darker, more conspicuous markings than the females. The Dark-eyed Junco is 5.1 to 6.9 in (13 to 17.5 cm) long and has a wingspan of 7.1 to 9.8 in (18 to 25 cm). Juveniles often have pale streaks and may even be mistaken for Vesper Sparrows (Pooecetes gramineus) until they acquire adult plumage at 2 to 3 months. But junco fledglings’ heads are generally quite uniform in color already, and initially their bills still have conspicuous yellowish edges to the gape, remains of the fleshy wattles that guide the parents when they feed the nestlings.
The song is a trill similar to the Chipping Sparrow’s (Spizella passerina), except that the Red-backed Junco’s song is more complex, similar to that of the Yellow-eyed Junco (Junco phaeonotus). The call also resembles that of the Black-throated blue warblers, which is a member of the New World Warbler family. Calls include tick sounds and very high-pitched tinkling chips.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
The Song Sparrow for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
THE SONG SPARROW.
Glimmers gay the leafless thicket
Close beside my garden gate,
Where, so light, from post to wicket,
Hops the Sparrow, blithe, sedate;
Who, with meekly folded wing,
Comes to sun himself and sing.
It was there, perhaps, last year,
That his little house he built;
For he seemed to perk and peer
And to twitter, too, and tilt
The bare branches in between,
With a fond, familiar mien.
—George Parsons Lathrop.
E do not think it at all amiss to say that this darling among song birds can be heard singing nearly everywhere the whole year round, although he is supposed to come in March and leave us in November. We have heard him in February, when his little feet made tracks in the newly fallen snow, singing as cheerily as in April, May, and June, when he is supposed to be in ecstasy. Even in August, when the heat of the dog-days and his moulting time drive him to leafy seclusion, his liquid notes may be listened for with certainty, while “all through October they sound clearly above the rustling leaves, and some morning he comes to the dogwood by the arbor and announces the first frost in a song that is more direct than that in which he told of spring. While the chestnuts fall from their velvet nests, he is singing in the hedge; but when the brush heaps burn away to fragrant smoke in November, they veil his song a little, but it still continues.”
While the Song Sparrow nests in the extreme northern part of Illinois, it is known in the more southern portions only as a winter resident. This is somewhat remarkable, it is thought, since along the Atlantic coast it is one of the most abundant summer residents throughout Maryland and Virginia, in the same latitudes as southern Illinois, where it is a winter sojourner, abundant, but very retiring, inhabiting almost solely the bushy swamps in the bottom lands, and unknown as a song bird. This is regarded as a remarkable instance of variation in habits with locality, since in the Atlantic states it breeds abundantly, and is besides one of the most familiar of the native birds.
The location of the Song Sparrow’s nest is variable; sometimes on the ground, or in a low bush, but usually in as secluded a place as its instinct of preservation enables it to find. A favorite spot is a deep shaded ravine through which a rivulet ripples, where the solitude is disturbed only by the notes of his song, made more sweet and clear by the prevailing silence.
Song Sparrow in white flowers by Daves BirdingPix
THE SONG SPARROW.
Dear Young Readers:
I fancy many of the little folks who are readers of Birds are among my acquaintances. Though I have never spoken to you, I have seen your eyes brighten when my limpid little song has been borne to you by a passing breeze which made known my presence. Once I saw a pale, worn face turn to look at me from a window, a smile of pleasure lighting it up. And I too was pleased to think that I had given some one a moment’s happiness. I have seen bird lovers (for we have lovers, and many of them) pause on the highway and listen to my pretty notes, which I know as well as any one have a cheerful and patient sound, and which all the world likes, for to be cheered and encouraged along the pathway of life is like a pleasant medicine to my weary and discouraged fellow citizens. For you must know I am a citizen, as my friend Dr. Coues calls me, and all my relatives. He and Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright have written a book about us called “Citizen Bird,” and in it they have supported us in all our rights, which even you children are beginning to admit we have. You are kinder to us than you used to be. Some of you come quickly to our rescue from untaught and thoughtless boys who, we think, if they were made to know how sensitive we are to suffering and wrong, would turn to be our friends and protectors instead. One dear boy I remember well (and he is considered a hero by the Song Sparrows) saved a nest of our birdies from a cruel school boy robber. Why should not all strong boys become our champions? Many of them have great, honest, sympathetic hearts in their bosoms, and, if we can only enlist them in our favor, they can give us a peace and protection which for years we have been sighing. Yes, sighing, because our hearts, though little, are none the less susceptible to all the asperities—the terrible asperities of human nature. Papa will tell you what I mean: you would not understand bird language.
Did you ever see my nest? I build it near the ground, and sometimes, when kind friends prepare a little box for me, I occupy it. My song is quite varied, but you will always recognize me by my call note, Chek! Chek! Chek! Some people say they hear me repeat “Maids, maids, maids, hang on your teakettle,” but I think this is only fancy, for I can sing a real song, admired, I am sure, by all who love
SONG SPARROW.—Melospiza fasciata.
Range—Eastern United States and British Provinces, west to the Plains, breeding chiefly north of 40°, except east of the Alleghenies.
Nest—On the ground, or in low bushes, of grasses, weeds, and leaves, lined with fine grass stems, roots, and, in some cases, hair.
Eggs—Four to seven; varying in color from greenish or pinkish white to light bluish green, spotted with dark reddish brown.
Song Sparrow by Ray at Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. (Psalms 28:7 NKJV)
Adult song sparrows have brown upperparts with dark streaks on the back and are white underneath with dark streaking and a dark brown spot in the middle of the breast. They have a brown cap and a long brown rounded tail. Their face is grey with a streak through the eye. The Song Sparrow lays 3–5 eggs. The egg coloring is a brown spotted greenish-white.
The male of this species uses its melodious and fairly complex song to declare ownership of its territory and to attract females.
The Song Sparrow’s song consists of a combination of repeated notes, quickly passing isolated notes, and trills. The songs are very crisp, clear, and precise, making them easily distinguishable by human ears. A particular song is determined not only by pitch and rhythm but also by the timbre of the trills. Although one bird will know many songs—as many as 20 different tunes with as many as 1000 improvised variations on the basic theme,—unlike thrushes, the Song Sparrow usually repeats the same song many times before switching to a different song.
Song Sparrows typically learn their songs from a handful of other birds that have neighboring territories. They are most likely to learn songs that are shared in common between these neighbors.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for September 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? (Isaiah 63:2 NKJV)
The Cardinalis genus of the Cardinalidae – Grosbeaks, Saltators & Allies Family includes three species. Oswaldtanager of YouTube caught a great video of the Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus) and I wanted to share it. These are only found in Colombia and Venezuela.
Here in the United States, we get to see the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) by Aestheticphotos
and the Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus). These are the other two genus members.
These are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinctive appearances; the family is named for the red plumage (colored cardinal like the color of a Catholic cardinal’s vestments) of males of the type species, the Northern Cardinal.
The Cardinals or Cardinalidae are a family of passerine birds found in North and South America. The South American cardinals in the genus Paroaria are placed in another family, the Emberizidae.