“F” is for Finches and Flamebacks: “F” Birds”, Part 2

F” is for Finches and Flamebacks: “F” Birds”, Part  2

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Finches and Flamebacks are the focus of this fast “fly-over” birdwatching review. Finches are familiar passerines to many Americans, but what are “Flamebacks”?  Flamebacks are a category of woodpeckers, also known as “Goldenbacks”, due to fiery-gold plumage on their backs.  Think of the Flamebacks as woodpeckers who “wear” their “fiery gold on their backs, as opposed to Christians, whose faith is put through fiery trials in order to produce character valuable as refined gold.

GreaterFlameback.woodpecker-India-Wikipedia

GREATER FLAMEBACK   (Titus John photograph)

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (1st  Peter 1:7)

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  (Revelation 3:18)

As noted in the prior study of this ongoing alphabet-based series (“‘F’ is for Flamingos and Frigatebirds), “F” is for Flamingo, Falcon, Frigatebird, Frogmouth, Fairywren, Flufftail, Fantail, Figbird, Fulvetta, Flatbill, Flycatcher, Flowerpecker, Firetail, Flameback, Flicker, Fieldwren, Foliage-gleaner, Fruitcrow, Fruiteater, Forktail, Francolin, Friarbird, Fody, and/or Finch — plus whatever other birds there are, that have names that begin with the letter F. This current study will ignore Flamingos and Frigatebirds, since they were previously reported, as noted above. Likewise, previous studies (posted on Leesbird.com) have looked at aspects of the password-teaching Superb Fairywrens (“Teach Your Children the Right Passwords!”); versatile Peregrine Falcons (“Northern Raven and Peregrine Falcon”); resourceful Vermilion Flycatchers (“Vermilion Flycatchers”); and a Colorado-dwelling Northern Flicker (“Want a Home in The Mountains?”).

So this study will briefly review some finches and some flame-backs.

CrimsonFinches-breedingpair-Australia.Wikipedia

CRIMSON FINCH breeding pair, Australia  (Wikipedia)

The Amazon-dwelling Saffron Finch has already been reviewed, by Lee Dusing . Also, the Australia-dwelling Crimson Finch has already by featured, as studied by Ian Montgomery. Likewise, the birdfeeder-visiting American Goldfinch has been considered by Lee Dusing. Moreover, ornithologist Lee Dusing has reviewed multifarious categories of finches (as they are generically defined by avian taxonomists), on various occasions (including, e.g.: Sunday Inspiration – Finches I; Finches II; Finches III; Finches IV and Sunday Inspiration – Inca, Warbling and Various Finches; etc.).

So this study will now look at 2 reddish finches that frequent the State of Texas: the Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) and the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). The former finch is famous for having been described by Roger Tory Peterson as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice” [Quoting Roger Tory Peterson, A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF TEXAS AND ADJACENT STATES (PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, (Houghton Mifflin, 1988), page 243.]  Thereafter, a category of woodpeckers, called “Flamebacks”, will be considered.

For starters, consider the ubiquitous House Finch.

HouseFinch-male.GlennBartley-WichitaStateU-pic

HOUSE FINCH male (Glenn Bartley photo)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus, f/k/a Carpodacus mexicanus)

The House Finch is a widespread as any American finch, being a year-round resident in all of the contiguous “lower 48” states. This nationwide range is relatively new in America’s eastern half, as the House Finch was previously reported as a Western range resident.  [See Roger Tory Peterson, EASTERN BIRDS A COMPLETELY NEW GUIDE TO ALL THE BIRDS OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA), 4th edition (Houghton Mifflin/ PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, 1980), page 270 & Map 356.]

Consequently, Easterners who are accustomed to viewing Purple Finches (discussed below) need to look more carefully, because the two are similar enough to be mistaken one for another.

There is another “cousin” who adds to the identity confusion – the Cassin’s Finch (Haemorhous cassinii, f/k/a Carpodacus cassinii), which habituates only America’s West.

CassinsFinch-male.BirdwatchersDigest

CASSIN’S FINCH   (Birdwatchers Digest photograph)

The three finches, together, are grouped as the “Haemorhous Finches”, i.e., the trio of small reddish-on-brownish finches.  [TAXONOMIC CAVEAT:  Although I don’t know of genetic/hybridization studies on Haemorhous finches (yet they recently they became grouped together as a “clade” separate from the Carpodacus “rosefinches”), I won’t be surprised to learn that these American Haemorhous finches can (and do) interbreed, i.e., hybridize; if so, this would prove that they descend from related pairs of Ark-borne ancestors, and ultimately descend from an original created “kind” pair created by God on Day #5 of Creation Week.]

This recent addition to our eastern avifauna [i.e., the House Finch] is often mistaken for the Purple Finch, with which it may associate at the feeding tray. It [i.e., the House Finch] is smaller; male brighter red.  Note the dark stripes on the sides and belly.  The striped brown female [House Finch] is distinguished from the female Purple Finch by its smaller bill and bland face pattern (no heavy mustache or dark cheek patch).  . . . Range: W. U.S. to s. Mexico.  Introduced in ne. U.S. about 1940; spreading.

[Quoting Roger Tory Peterson, EASTERN BIRDS A COMPLETELY NEW GUIDE TO ALL THE BIRDS OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA), 4th edition (Houghton Mifflin/PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, 1980), page 270.]

In other words, when distinguishing a male House Finch from a male Purple Finch, notice that House Finch males has more prominent brownish streaking on the sides of their bellies, whereas the Purple Finch males have less or none.  Also, the reddish color of the Purple Finch really is tinted a bit more purplish, i.e., its red is more of a crimson-fading-into-pink, whereas the House Finch male has more of a scarlet-to-vermilion hue, depending on available lighting.

Thus, nowadays, if you see a finch with a crimson-reddish top and front, that blends into a brownish underside and wings, it is likely a House Finch (as opposed to a Cassin’s Finch or a Purple Finch).  For another view of how the House Finch is less crimson in plumage than the Purple Finch, see the House Finch photograph (by Ian) featured in Lee Dusing’s “Sunday Inspiration – Finches III” (3-20-AD2016).

Ornithologist Fred J. Alsop III describes the House Finch as follows:

Originally confined to the West [as earlier bird-book range maps indicate], this finch was called a Linnet and introduced as a cage bird on Long Island, New York, in the 1940s.  It became abundant in the East, [supposedly there] surpassing the House Sparrow [a/k/a English Sparrow, a passerine introduced form Britain to America many generations ago].  Today, it is among the most widely distributed songbird species in North America.  It often feeds with the Purple Finch, especially in winter.  Some male variants are orange or yellow instead of red.  Juveniles resemble adult females [which are Earth-tone brown in plumage].   . . .  Solitary or in pairs during nesting season.  Gregarious.  Forms small family groups when young become independent.  Larger foraging flocks in winter may join with other finches.  Actively forages on the ground, in fields, and in suburban areas.  Eats mostly seeds but in summer takes insects and fruits.  Drinks maple sap.  Males are conspicuous and sing often.  Studies indicate that the redder the male’s plumage, the more desirable he is to females.  . . .  Abundant over much of North America in a wide variety of habitats, from arid scrub, wooded canyons, cultivated fields, and open woodlands to suburban yards and urban areas.

[Quoting Fred J. Alsop III, BIRDS OF TEXAS (DK Publishing/Smithsonian Handbooks, 2002), page 536.]

HouseFinch-RangeMap.AudubonFieldGuide

HOUSE FINCH range map  (credit: Audubon Field Guide)

The House Finch is resourceful when building a nest.  It may construct a nest using “[t]wigs, grass, leaves, rootlets, bits of debris, and feathers … in tree hollows, cactus, on ground, under eaves of building[s], in bird boxes, abandoned nests, shrub[s], tree[s], etc.”  [Again quoting Alsop, BIRDS OF TEXAS, page 536.]

Now for a look at the Purple Finch, the Haemorhous finch that formerly dominated America’s Eastern seaboard.

PurpleFinch-male.photo-MoDeptConservation

PURPLE FINCH male  (credit: Missouri Dep’t of Conservation)

PURPLE FINCH (Haemorhous purpureus, f/k/a Carpodacus purpureus)

Ornithologist Fred J. Alsop III describes the Purple Finch as follows:

The male [Purple Finch] is easy to identify [sicthis confidence clashes with the conclusion of others, especially now that the ranges of Purple Finch and House Finch overlap as they do] …by its raspberry-colored plumage, brightest on the head, rump, and chest. Foraging in winter flocks, these birds depend on feeders when food supplies are scarce.  Juveniles are similar to adult females [which are brownish with no crimson plumage]; both have two white wing bars.  . . .  Eats seeds, some fruits, insects, and caterpillars in summer.

[Quoting Fred J. Alsop III, BIRDS OF TEXAS (DK Publishing/Smithsonian Handbooks, 2002), page 534.]  The Purple Finch has nesting habits similar to those of the House Finch (q.v., above).  Unlike the ubiquitous year-round range of the House Finch, the range of the Purple Finch is largely migratory.  (See below.)

PurpleFinch-RangeMap.AudubonFieldGuide

PURPLE FINCH range map (credit: Audubon Field Guide)

Pity the Purple Finch – some criticize its name, by stating the embarrassingly obvious: it’s not really “purple” in plumage, it’s more like raspberry red!  The Audubon Field Guide observes:

This species is common in the North and East, and along the Pacific seaboard, but it is very rare in much of the Rocky Mountains region. Purple Finches feed up in trees and on the ground in open woods. They readily come to bird feeders; but they have become less numerous as feeder visitors in the Northeast, where competition with introduced House Sparrows [which appear overpopulate common ranges by double] and then House Finches may have driven them back into the woods.

[Quoting http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/purple-finch .]


Having met two of America’s Haemorhous finches, and noting how their range habits contrast, a brief introduction to Flameback woodpeckers follows — specifically, 3 large woodpeckers from the tropics of southern Asia, including the White-naped Flameback (Chrysocolaptes festivus), the Common Flameback (Dinopium javaneense), and the Crimson-backed Flameback (Chrysocolaptes stricklandi).

CrimsonbackedFlameback-SriLanka-endemic

Crimson-backed Flameback, Sri Lanka endemic    (Pinterest)

FLAMEBACKS (a/k/a “Goldenbacks”, although some plumage “flames” are red!)

Although the plumage coloration is obviously different, the overall form (and crests) of South Asian “flameback” woodpeckers may remind birdwatchers of America’s crow-sized, forest-dwelling Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) or the (perhaps-extinct) Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), and/or of Mexico’s somewhat-similar Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis) or Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis).

CrimsonbackedFlameback-SamindaDeSilva-Flickr

CRIMSON-BACKED FLAMEBACK   (Saminda De Silva photograph)

CRIMSON-BACKED FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes stricklandii)

This flameback is seen in Sri Lanka, the island (formerly known as Ceylon) off the south-central coast of India. Some deem it as a color-variant “subspecies” of (i.e., due to its crimson back-feather plumage, a variety distinguishable from) the Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus – see below), a similar woodpecker (with gold-dominated back feathers) found in India, and elsewhere on parts of the Indian subcontinent, southern China, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

WhitenapedFlameback.Pinterest

WHITE-NAPED FLAMEBACK   (Pinterest)

WHITE-NAPED FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes festivusi)

This insect-snatching woodpecker is seen in parts of the Indian subcontinent (India and Nepal), as well as in Sri Lanka. Unless some other mega-sized woodpeckers, its population dynamics are stable.   Although the more colorful male has a red crown, the female’s crown is yellow.  (Sexual dimorphism is a good thing, especially to birders who want to know what they are viewing!)

CommonFlameback-MikeBirder-MalaysianBirdingBlog

COMMON FLAMEBACK   (Mike Birder / Malaysian Birding Blog)

COMMON  FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javaneense)

The Common Flameback (a/k/a “Common Goldenback”) has a range that includes Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India’s southwestern coastline. Notice the male’s crest is red; the female’s is black.  This woodpecker prefers forest living – as do woodpeckers in general (i.e., they like woods, where they can peck wood!).  This flameback frequents deciduous woodlands, parks, gardens, farmlands, mangrove swamps, and scrublands, as well as higher-elevation pine forests.  Invertebrates (e.g., including larvae) are favored fare for famished flamebacks!

CommonFlameback-female.WikipediaCommons

COMMON FLAMEBACK female   (Wikipedia Commons)


God willing, the next contribution to this alphabetic series will be about some “G” birds – perhaps the Green Jay, Gila Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker, Glossy Ibis, Golden Eagle, Gyrfalcon, Griffon Vulture, Granada Dove, Golden Pheasant, Golden-crowned Emerald, Golden-headed Quetzal, Golden Fruit Dove, Grand Cayman Thrush, Grey Jay, or Grey Heron, — and/or maybe a couple from the varieties of Geese, Grebes, Grouses, Gallinules, Goldfinches, Gnatcatchers, Goldeneyes, Goshawks, Godwits, Guillemots, Guineafowls, Grosbeaks, Grackles, Grassbirds, Grasswrens, Gulls, and/or Go-away-birds!  Meanwhile,  enjoy the fiery faith-trials that produce golden character!      ><> JJSJ   profjjsj@aol.com

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crimson Finch

pas-estr-crimson-finch-neochmia-phaeton-by-ian-1Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crimson Finch ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 11/10/16

Crimson Finch featured as bird of the week a little over eight years ago, but I’ve decided to have it again as a pair appeared in my backyard several weeks ago, the first time I’ve seen any in Bluewater.

Shortly earlier, I’d seen what looked like a female Satin Flycatcher having a splash in the pool. Satin Flycatchers are rare in North Queensland, though they do show up sometimes on migration. This one didn’t hang around for a photo while I got the camera, so I headed off around the property looking for it. Female Satin Flycatchers are notorious difficult to separate from their slightly duller cousins, female Leaden Flycatchers, so a photograph is essential not only for identification but also to convince anyone else.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Female by Ian

I didn’t find the Flycatcher, but I found the Crimson Finches, male in the first photo and female in the second, feeding on some unseasonable Guinea Grass. We’ve had an odd dry season with not much but sufficient rain at intervals to confuse some of the local plants – Guinea Grass usually seeds here at the end of the wet season (April). In North Queensland, Crimson Finches are usually found in dense grassland near wetlands, and these two were only about 50m from Bluewater Creek, which was still running at the time.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Fledgling by Ian

A couple of weeks later I photographed this very young Crimson Finch at the Townsville Town Common. When I approached, it was being fed by an adult male, who flew off leaving the young bird to its fate. You can see the very pale gape, typical of very young birds. Young Crimson Finches just have a reddish flush in the wings and tail.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Male by Ian

A few days after seeing the pair of Crimson Finches in the backyard, a male Crimson Finch obligingly appeared beside the pool when I was having a swim. I thought the plumage was more intensely coloured and with strong white spots on the flanks than the male member of the earlier pair – more like the one in the fourth photo. I wondered whether they were different individuals, with the first one being younger than the second. The one in the fourth photo was taken on a trip to the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia in 2009.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) X Star Hybrid by Ian

On that same trip, I photographed this odd-looking individual at Kununurra. We decided that it was a hybrid between a Crimson Finch and a Star Finch, both of which were present at the time and both of which belong to the same genus, Neochmia, which includes two other Australian species: Red-browed and Plum-headed Finches.

I don’t really keep a yard list as such. If I did, the day I found the Crimson Finches would have been notable. Apart from the possible Satin Flycatcher, later that afternoon I flushed a female King Quail. This time I was armed not with the camera but a brush cutter as part of the fire season preparations.

Several weeks later I had the rest of the long grass cut by a man with a tractor. After he had finished, I went down to inspect the result and spotted a Blue-winged Kookaburra pouncing on something in the cut grass. This proved to be the King Quail, which flew off at high speed pursued by the Kookaburra. The Quail landed safely in some long grass and the Kookaburra perched in a nearby tree. If you ever tried to flush a quail a second time, you’ll know how elusive they are on the ground, so I hope the Kookaburra didn’t have quail for lunch.

Greetings
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

“Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Mat 13:32 KJV)

Thanks again, Ian for another beautiful avian wonder for us to enjoy. That hybrid is quite interesting also. We have seen the Star Finch before, but this is an interesting mix. Also, glad you are putting these Birds of the Week out again.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Birdway Finch photos

Estrildidae – Waxbills, Munias and allies

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Birds Vol 1 #4 – The American Cross Bill and Legend

American Red Crossbill for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

American Red Crossbill for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

From Col. F. M. Woodruff

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. April, 1897 No. 4

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THE AMERICAN CROSS BILL.

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MERICAN CROSSBILLS are notable for their small size, being considered and described as dwarfs of the family. Their food consists exclusively of pine, fir, and larch, which accounts for the fact that they are more numerous in Northern latitudes where these trees abound. When the cones are abundant they visit in great numbers many places where they have not been for years, appearing at irregular intervals, and not confining themselves to particular localities. They are very social even during the nesting season. Their nests are built among the branches of the fir trees, and there they disport themselves gaily, climbing nimbly, and assisting their movements, as parrots do, with their beaks. They will hang downward for minutes clinging to a twig or cone, seeming to enjoy this apparently uncomfortable position. They fly rapidly, but never to a great distance. “The pleasure they experience in the society of their mates is often displayed by fluttering over the tops of the trees as they sing, after which they hover for a time, and then sink slowly to their perch. In the day time they are generally in motion, with the exception of a short time at noon. During the spring, summer and autumn they pass their time in flying from one plantation to another.”

The Crossbill troubles itself but little about the other inhabitants of the woods, and is said to be almost fearless of man. Should the male lose his mate, he will remain sorrowfully perched upon the branch from which his little companion has fallen; again and again visit the spot in the hope of finding her; indeed it is only after repeated proofs that she will never return that he begins to show any symptoms of shyness. In feeding the Crossbill perches upon a cone with its head downwards, or lays the cone upon a branch and stands upon it, holding it fast with his sharp, strong pointed claws. Sometimes it will bite off a cone and carry it to a neighboring bough, or to another tree where it can be opened, for a suitable spot is not to be found on every branch. The nest is formed of pine twigs, lined with feathers, soft grass, and the needle-like leaves of the fir tree. Three or four eggs of a grayish or bluish white color, streaked with faint blood red, reddish brown, or bluish brown spots, are generally laid. The following poem is quite a favorite among bird lovers, and is one of those quaint legends that will never die.


THE LEGEND OF THE CROSSBILL.

(From the German of Julius Mosen, by Longfellow)

On the cross the dying Saviour
Heavenward lifts his eyelids calm,
Feels, but scarcely feels, a trembling
In his pierced and bleeding palm.

And by all the world forsaken,
Sees he how with zealous care
At the ruthless nail of iron
A little bird is striving there.
Stained with blood and never tiring,
With its beak it doth not cease,
From the cross it would free the Saviour,
Its Creator’s son release.

And the Saviour speaks in mildness:
“Blest be thou of all the good!
Bear, as token of this moment,
Marks of blood and holy rood!”

And that bird is called the Crossbill,
Covered all with blood so clear,
In the groves of pine it singeth,
Songs, like legends, strange to hear.

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10 KJV)

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) ©WikiC

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) ©WikiC


Lee’s Addition:

Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:30 NKJV)

The Lord has created another neat bird and provided it with a unique way to feed. This bird belongs to the Finch – Fringillidae Family and are characterised by the mandibles crossing at their tips, which gives the group its English name. Adult males tend to be red or orange in colour, and females green or yellow, but there is much variation. They have a length of 5.5-7.9 in (14-20 cm) and a wingspan of 9.8-10.6 in (25-27 cm) and they weigh .8-1.6 oz (24-45 g).

These are specialist feeders on conifer cones, and the unusual bill shape is an adaptation to assist the extraction of the seeds from the cone. These birds are typically found in higher northern hemisphere latitudes, where their food sources grows. They will erupt out of the breeding range when the cone crop fails. Crossbills breed very early in the year, often in winter months, to take advantage of maximum cone supplies.

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) Female ©WikiC

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) Female ©WikiC

Rather than a defect, as some claim, “the crossed bill is a wonderful adaption to the habits of these birds.  This design makes it possible for the seeds of fir cones from coniferous trees to be picked out with very little difficulty.  These seeds represent the Crossbill’s main food although apple pips are also a favoured treat.  These birds will also feed happily on insects and other fruit seeds in the winter, at which time they will travel in any direction on the compass to visit deciduous forests, gardens, flat plains and groves in search of food.” (Wonder of Birds)

“A crossbill’s odd bill shape helps it get into tightly closed cones. A bird’s biting muscles are stronger than the muscles used to open the bill, so the Red Crossbill places the tips of its slightly open bill under a cone scale and bites down. The crossed tips of the bill push the scale up, exposing the seed inside.” (All About Birds)

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 April 1897 No 4 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for April 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.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

* (Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – Bird Day In The Schools

Previous Article – Smith’s Painted Longspur

Wordless Birds

Links:

Crossbill – The Bird and its Unusual Bill by Wonder of Birds

Legend of the Crossbills

Fringillidae – Finches

Red Crossbill – All About Birds

Crossbill ~ Common Crossbill ~ Two-barred Crossbill by Wikipedia

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Black Rosy Finch – The Grace Seeker..

Black Rosy Finch – The Grace Seeker ~ by ajmithra

Black Rosy Finch (Leucosticte atrata) ©©Michaelandhelencox

Black Rosy Finch (Leucosticte atrata) ©©Michaelandhelencox

The Black Rosy-Finch breeds in the high mountains of the northern Great Basin. This encompasses the area from northeastern Nevada to southwestern Montana. It is not a long-distance migrant, but moves to lower elevations away from the breeding area as snow cover increases. In some winters these flights reach southward to Colorado, New Mexico, and rarely Arizona and California. Although population appears to be stable, it is uncommon over its very small breeding range.

The Black Rosy-finch breeds on the barren tundra of mountain summits, usually on rocky or grassy areas and near glaciers and continual snowfields. It winters at lower elevations in open areas such as fields, cultivated lands, roadsides, and human-made structures. Departure to higher elevations from the wintering grounds is by April. Nest building occurs between mid-June and mid-July, in a crevice or hole in near-inaccessible locations such as on vertical cliffs. The nest is made of grasses, moss, and sometimes feathers mixed with grass and animal hair, and contain four to five eggs on average. The diet consists of seeds of grasses and weeds except in summer when supplemented by insects.

Black Rosy Finch (Leucosticte atrata) ©WikiC

Black Rosy Finch (Leucosticte atrata) ©WikiC

These birds seem to know the secret of living in secret. They know that living on mountain summits, would be inaccessible for its predators. When the name of THE ROCK becomes our strong tower, it not only becomes inaccessible but also impossible for satan to even locate us.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. (Psalm 18:10)

There is not only protection on the rock, there is honey in its crevice too.

But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. (Psalm 81:16)

The Black Rosy Finch builds a cup nest in a cavity on a cliff. Most birds migrate short distances to lower elevations and further south and return to the alpine areas in April. These birds forage on the ground, may fly to catch insects in flight. They mainly eat seeds from weeds and grasses and insects, often in areas where snow is melting, uncovering food items and new plant shoots.

God fed the Israelites with the dew wrapped Manna, bread of the angels.. God’s goodness is fresh each new morning and His goodness is like morning dew, underneath His dew lies our due. But do we seek for His dew every morning? Remember, as the sun goes up, the manna melts. His goodness too would melt if we don’t seek Him early in the morning isn’t it? When His dew melts our lives dry up..

O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. (Hosea 6:4)

Black Rosy Finch (Leucosticte atrata) ©©Michaelandhelencox

Black Rosy Finch (Leucosticte atrata) ©©Michaelandhelencox

They often feed in small flocks, as the male will defend its female’s territory during breeding season, not just the nest but where ever she goes. This behavior is common with the rosy finches. When breeding both males and females develop throat pouches, known as gular pouches or gular skin, to carry food to their chicks.

God’s flock too is small, for He has promised to be present where two or three are gathered. These male birds remind us of how our Lord too defends our territories, though we haven’t yet taken steps to breed for the extension of His kingdom. We have an awesome God, who not only defends our territories but also followed us where ever we went and ended up giving His precious life for you and me.. What a mighty God we serve!!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra

Please visit us at:
Crosstree

ajmithra21

See more of aj’s articles – Click Here

Nice photo of a Black Rosy Finch

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American Goldfinch – The Latecomers…

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) by Daves BirdingPix

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) by Daves BirdingPix

Goldfinch – The Latecomers… ~ by ajmithra

Hello everyone,

This morning I happened to read an article on Goldfinch in http://www.wild.enature.com, and that inspired me to write about these amazing late nesters.. Having just entered into the month of July, I thought it would be apt to just ponder over these awe inspiring July nesters..

By July, most songbirds are in the final stages of raising their young, but not the American Goldfinches.  These appealing, colorful birds are just getting started. Notoriously late nesters, goldfinches have been waiting for the thistles to bloom.

Do we wait for God’s timing in our lives?

  • We may feel bad when everyone is moving ahead of us.

But, God’s plan for our lives is not as same as it is for the others…

  • David was anointed by Samuel when he was just a kid..
  • He did not turn into a King immediately after the anointing..
  • He had to wait for more than thirty years..
  • He did wait without grumbling, always rejoicing in the Lord and you know what?
  • David is still considered the greatest king ever lived..
  • So great that God chose to be born in his family tree..

Wait for God’s plan to bloom, like how these Goldfinches wait for the thistles to bloom..

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) on Thistle by Fenton

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) on Thistle by Fenton

When this happens in July, it signals the goldfinches that they can start building their nests which are made primarily of the silver fibers and down of thistle blooms. Generally, the nest is built in the fork of a horizontal tree limb, 4 to 14 feet above the ground. The female builds a durable, neat cup of thistle and cattail fibers, so dense that it will hold water.Medieval writers believed that thistle can heal headaches, plague, canker, sores, vertigo, and jaundice. Do these birds know the thistles’ medicinal value?

  • God expects His bride to build a church that is durable and so dense, so that it can hold The Living Water…
  • God has promised to pour His spirit on all flesh during the last days and we do know that we are in the last days…
  • God pours so much anointing in every service in church, but we still haven’t reached the unreached yet. Why?
  • Is it because of the leak that is found in our spirit?

Are these female birds showing us how to build our nest so as to hold The Living Water?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) by Lee thru window

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) by Lee thru window

In it she lays 4 to 6 pale blue to white eggs and then she incubates them for 12 to 14 days, until they hatch. The attentive male often feeds his mate while she sits on the nest. By the time the eggs hatch, the thistle has gone to seed, which is perfect timing for feeding young goldfinches.

God’s timing is awesome..

See how well the birds know that the nest material will also become food for their chicks, And they don’t have to wander in search of food..

That is God’s timing..

We tend to think that God is late, but we fail to understand that He is always on time.. There are so many instances where God has asked His servants to look out for His timing..

  • Joseph had to wait for God’s time to become a Prime Minister..
  • Moses had to wait for God’s time to become a leader..
  • Sometimes God even asks us to wait for nature’s signal, like how he asks David to wait for the mulberry leaves to quiver before he falls over the enemy camp..
  • Do we wait or wilt under pressure..
  • Do not wait for a man or for an opportunity, just wait for the Lord..

Waiting to the Lord releases super power…You know?

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)

The parents nourish this chicks by consuming the thistle seed themselves, and then regurgitating the partially digested, milk like cereal into the mouths of their nestlings. This is as close as birds come to mammals that feed their young milk from mammary glands.

Baby goldfinches are fully feathered and out of the nest 10 to 16 days later. Almost immediately, they join their parents at bird feeders across America. That’s when many people suddenly notice so many goldfinches as the summer progresses. If these birds were normal nesters like the other song birds, they would’ve faced a sever threat on their existence, which is based upon the thistle….

Masterpieces are not made overnight.. It may take weeks, months or even years to make one..

  • Do you want people to take notice of you?
  • Just wait…
  • You are destined to be the Master’s masterpiece, so just wait….

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14)

Have a blessed day!

Yours in YESHUA,
a j mithra

Please visit us at:
Crosstree

ajmithra21


Lee’s Addition:

See a j’s other articles – Click Here

The American Goldfinch is in the Finches – Fringillidae Family of the Passeriformes Order.

*

New Finch Species Shows Conservation

Medium Ground Finch (Geospiza fortis) ©Wiki

Medium Ground Finch (Geospiza fortis) ©Wiki

New Finch Species Shows Conservation, Not Macroevolution
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

“Darwin’s finches” are a variety of small black birds that were observed and collected by British naturalist Charles Darwin during his famous voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle in the early 1800s. Years later, Darwin argued that subtle variations in their beak sizes supported his concept that all organisms share a common ancestor (a theory known as macroevolution). The finches, whose technical name is Geospiza, have since become classic evolutionary icons.
…..
In the fourth generation, “after a severe drought, the lineage was reduced to a single brother and sister, who bred with each other.”1 Their descendants have carried on the family traits. The Grants reported in a study on the birds published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that “our observations provide new insight into speciation and hence, into the origin of a new species.”2 But the details show that this new “species” is just a variation within the finch kind, and is therefore irrelevant to big-picture evolution.

 

Large Cactus Finch (Geospiza conirostris) ©WikiC

Large Cactus Finch (Geospiza conirostris) ©WikiC

Genus Geospiza contains six species, and these are usually distinguished by the songs that the males sing primarily to attract breeding partners. However, if a father bird dies while his chicks are young, and all they hear is the neighboring song of a different species, for example, young birds can learn the wrong songs. When these mature, they sing the song of, and breed with, the foster father’s species. Other scenarios result in crossbreeding between Geospiza species. ……”

To read the whole the article – CLICK HERE

From Institute for Creation Research

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Masked Finch

Masked Finch (Poephila personata) by Ian

Masked Finch (Poephila personata) by Ian

Newsletter: 12/26/2009

Here is yet another beautiful finch from northern Australia, the Masked Finch, which we encountered on the recent trip to Cape York Peninsula. There are two races. This one, the ‘White-eared Finch’ (Poephila personata leucotis) occurs only on Cape York, while the nominate brown cheeked race (personata) occurs from northwestern Queensland through the top end of the Northern Territory to the Kimberley district of northern Western Australia. Both races are distinguishable from the closely related Black-throated and Long-tailed Finches (P. cincta and P. acuticauda respectively) by having large yellow bills, brown, rather than grey, crowns and only a small area of black on the chin.

Masked Finch (Poephila personata)2 by Ian

Masked Finch (Poephila personata)2 by Ian

We encountered these individuals at the fruit quarantine station near Coen in central Cape York Peninsula. The station provides a bird bath in the small park where we finished off some fruit and the bath was popular with both Masked Finches and the northern (black-rumped) race of the Black-throated Finch.

Masked Finches feed, like their, relatives mainly on grass seeds. So they feed mainly on the ground, but will retreat into bushes and trees when disturbed. The easiest way to find them is usually at waterholes in the dry season where they come in, often in large numbers, to drink and bathe. Masked Finches build globular nests in bushes and trees and will sometimes use the old burrows of kingfishers in termite mounds.

Links:
Black-throated Finch
Long-tailed Finch
Masked Finch (including the western brown-cheeked race)
Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta) by Ian

Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta) by Ian

Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda) by Ian

Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda) by Ian

Lee’s Addition:

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? (Luke 12:6 KJV)

These are in the Estrildidae – Waxbills, Munias & Allies family of the Passeriformes Order.

“The Masked Finch (Poephila personata) is a small passerine bird in the estrildid finch family, Estrildidae. The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They can be classified as the family Estrildidae (weaver-finch), or previously as a sub-group within the family Passeridae, which also includes the true sparrows.[It is a common resident of dry savanna across northern Australia, from the Kimberley, across the Top End, the Gulf country and the southern part of Cape York Peninsula, as far east as Chillagoe, but always near water.

It is 12.5-13.5 cm (4.9-5.3 in) long. The male is larger but the sexes are otherwise similar. It is cinnamon-brown above and paler below with a white rump, black mark on the flanks and black face mask. It has a heavy yellow bill and a pointed black tail. The eastern subspecies P. p. leucotis has whitish cheeks.

Pairs or small flocks forage through the day, mostly on the ground for fallen grass seeds. In the evenings and early mornings, large numbers—sometimes thousands— can gather around waterholes to drink, bathe, and preen, flicking their tails sideways and chattering incessantly.

Pairs build a domed nest from grasses, lined with fine grass, feathers, and charcoal, in the late wet season or early dry. The nest position varies: it can be as high as 20 metres or simply hidden in long grass. Five to six white eggs are laid.” -From Wikipedia