Avian And Attributes – Majestic

Avian And Attributes – Majestic

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

“But there the majestic LORD will be for us A place of broad rivers and streams, In which no galley with oars will sail, Nor majestic ships pass by” (Isaiah 33:21 NKJV)

“After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.” (Job 37:4-5 NKJV)


Avian and Attributes – Majestic

MAJES’TIC, a. [from majesty.] August; having dignity of person or appearance; grand; princely. The prince was majestic in person and appearance.
1. Splendid; grand.
2. Elevated; lofty.
3. Stately; becoming majesty; as a majestic air or walk.


Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Female ©WikiC

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Female ©WikiC

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)

The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is a seabird of the frigatebird family Fregatidae. With a length of 89–114 centimetres (35–45 in) it is the largest species of frigatebird. It occurs over tropical and subtropical waters off America, between northern Mexico and Ecuador on the Pacific coast and between Florida and southern Brazil along the Atlantic coast. There are also populations on the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific and the Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic.

The magnificent frigatebird is a large, lightly built seabird with brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. The male has a striking red gular sac which it inflates to attract a mate. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a white breast and belly. Frigatebirds feed on fish taken in flight from the ocean’s surface (often flying fish), and sometimes indulge in kleptoparasitism, harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food.


More Avian and Attributes

Birds whose first name starts with “M”

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

What Is The Fate of the Barbuda Warbler?

Barbuda Warbler (Setophaga subita) ©WikiC

“The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.” (Job 27:21 KJV)

“But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:27 KJV)

While working on the last Attributes and Avian article, – Bounty/Bountiful, I was using the “B – First Name of Birds” list to find a bird to use. The Barbuda Warbler (Setophaga subita) caught my attention. Also, one of our readers wrote a comment, wondering what happened to the birds during a hurricane.

The tiny island of Barbuda took a direct hit by Hurricane Irma and basically destroyed at least 95% of all structures. They have now evacuated all residents off of the island. [inhabited for the last 300 years] (BoingBoing article Not One Single Human Left on the Island) “With 95% of the island’s structures completely destroyed, all 1,800 residents have evacuated to nearby Antigua, and now live in shelters or with relatives. The only living creatures left on Barbuda are pets and livestock, which the non-profit group World Animal Protection are trying to feed and rescue.” So, what about the birds?

Barbuda Warbler (Setophaga subita) ©WikiC

The Barbuda Warbler is endemic to Barbuda. “In addition to the catastrophic impact on Barbuda’s human residents, concern turned to the storm’s effects on the island’s wildlife. The island’s only endemic bird, the near-threatened Barbuda warbler, numbered less than 2,000 individuals prior to the hurricane. It is unknown if the warbler survived the hurricane or its aftermath. Barbuda’s Codrington Lagoon, home to the largest colony of magnificent frigatebirds in the Caribbean, with an estimated 2,500 nesting pairs, was also inundated by the storm surge.” From Hurricane Irma article on Wikipedia. Also, from Wikipedia, “The Barbuda warbler (Setophaga subita) is a species of bird in the Parulidae family. It is endemic to the island of Barbuda in Antigua and Barbuda. Its natural habitat is tropical dry shrubland near wetland areas. It is threatened by habitat loss. It once was considered a subspecies of the Adelaide’s Warbler.”

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

Searching the internet, I couldn’t find out too much about the Barbuda Warbler, but here are a few articles about other bird species that you will find interesting.

Hurricane Irma Disaster Response team assess damage to wildlife populations on Barbuda  – The Bananaquit was found

Hurricane Irma hits Caribbean birds hard, forces closure of Everglades and other parks – BirdWatching – Mentions the Barbuda Warbler

“Irma left the island of Barbuda in ruins; about 95 percent of structures were destroyed or damaged, and nearly all residents were evacuated last week as Hurricane Jose threatened to hit. The fate of Barbuda Warbler, an endemic species that likely numbered less than 2,000 birds before Irma, is unknown.

Jeremy Ross, a scientist with the University of Oklahoma, wonders if Irma was an extinction-level event for the warbler.

Barbuda’s Codrington Lagoon, a RAMSAR-designated wetland and national park, was home to the largest colony of Magnificent Frigatebirds in the region (around 2,500 pairs). According to BirdsCaribbean, the lagoon “was breached during the storm and the sea has flowed in.”

“Thousands of birds must have perished,” said Andrew Dobson, president of BirdsCaribbean, in an article posted on Bernews.com.

Hurricane Irma Rare Bird Round-Up

Dan’s American Flamingo Gardens Photos

One article I wish I hadn’t found, tells about the destruction of so many Flamingo. Translated as “Hundreds of flamingos killed in Cayo Coco by Hurricane Irma

Barbuda Warbler by HBW

Our prayers go out to those who have had to be evacuated from Barbuda, but, also, to all those who have been visited by the Hurricanes this year.

” And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:4-7 KJV)

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Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 6/25/17

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Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Male ©WikiC

AND THE STRETCHING OUT

OF HIS WINGS

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“And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” (Isaiah 8:8 KJV)

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Male ©WikiC

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“F” is for Flamingos and Frigatebirds: “F” Birds, Part 1

“F”  is  for  Flamingos  and  Frigatebirds:  “F” Birds,  Part  1

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Flamingo: [Fair Use photo credit: Palm Beach Post/ South Florida Water Management District]

41 Let Thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even Thy salvation, according to Thy word.  42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in Thy word.  43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in Thy judgments.  44 So shall I keep Thy law continually for ever and ever.  45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts.  46 I will speak of Thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.  47 And I will delight myself in Thy commandments, which I have loved.  48 My hands also will I lift up unto Thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in Thy statutes.  (Psalm 119:41-48 KJV)

F” is for Flamingo, Frigatebird, Frogmouth, Fairywren, Flowerpecker, Flufftail, Fantail, Figbird, Fulvetta, and/or Finch — plus whatever other birds there are, that have names that begin with the letter F.

This present study (i.e., “‘F’ Birds, Part 1”) will focus on Flamingos and Frigatebirds.  But first, because this blogpost-article calmly continues an alphabet-based series on birds, we first look at Psalm 119:41-48, — thereafter we review two categories of birds that start with the letter “F”, namely, Flamingos and Frigatebirds.

https://i0.wp.com/www.floridagardener.com/misc/free/Flamingos.jpg

Flamingos ©Florida Gardener

Fair Use photo credit: Florida Gardener

THE HEBREW ALPHABET HELPS TO TEACH US ABOUT GOD’S TRUTH

Using alphabet letters, to order a sequence of information, has Biblical precedent, as is demonstrated in the five earlier articles in this series of “alphabet birds”:

A Birds  A is for Avocet, Albatross: “A” Birds, Part 1, & A is for Accipiter and Alcid: “A” Bird, Part 2
B Birds”  B is for Bluebird and Bittern: “B” Birds, Part 1, & B is for Bobwhite and Buteo: “B” Birds, Part 2
C Birds”  C  is  for  Cardinal  and  Cormorant:   “C”  Birds,  Part  1, & C  is  for  Coot  and  Corvids:   “C”  Birds,  Part  2
D Birds”  D is for Ducks, Dabblers and Divers: “D” Birds, Part 1, & D is for Dunlin and Dark-eyed Junco: “D” Birds, Part 2
E Birds”  E is for Eagles and Eiders: “E” Birds”, Part 1, & E is for Egrets and Emus: “E” Birds, Part 2

The perfect example is the “acrostic” pattern of Psalm 119, the longest psalm (having 176 verses!), which psalm has 22 sections (comprised of 8 verses per section), representing the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (Compare that to the English alphabet, which has 26 alphabet letters, and/or to the Norwegian alphabet, which has 29 alphabet letters.) The sentences in each section start with the same Hebrew letter: Verses 1-8 start with ALEPH, Verses 9-16 with BETH, Verse 17-24 with GIMEL, and so forth.  The such alphabetic-acrostic grouping of verses is Psalm 119:41-48, each of which verses begin with the Hebrew letter  VAV [also written as WAW],  —  which is translated (in English) as a “V” or “W” if used as a consonant, or translated as long “O” or long “U” if used as a vowel.

Fair Use Image Credit: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Vav/vav-h.gif

In this serial study’s lesson, the sixth octet of verses in Psalm 119 (i.e., Psalm 119:33-40), each sentence starts with VAV (also written as WAW, and pronounced “vahv”, like the English word “valve” without the L sound), serving variously as the Hebrew consonant equivalent to the English letters “V”, “W”, “O”, and “U”.  (More on that below.)

The Hebrew word based upon this letter is VÂV (a/k/a WAW, like the letter itself, pronounced “vahv”, like the word “valve” without the L sound), which is routinely translated as “hook”  (13x) in the Old Testament (see YOUNG’S ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE, Index-Lexicon to the Old Testament, page 52, column 3), i.e., in Exodus 26:32; 26:37; 27:10; 27:11; 27:17; 36:36; 36:38; 38:10; 38:11; 38:12; 38:17; 38:19; & 38:28.  Thus, the concept of “connection”/“joinder”, illustrated by the use of a connecting tent-hook/peg (used in assembling/fastening pieces of the Mosaic Tabernacle), is the concept to be expected when the Hebrew letter VÂV is used.

And the 20 pillars thereof and their 20 sockets shall be of copper; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver.  And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of 100 cubits long, and its 20 pillars and their 20 sockets of copper; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.  [Quoting Exodus 27:10-11.]

And he made thereunto 4 pillars of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold; their hooks were of gold; and he cast for them 4 sockets of silver.  [Quoting Exodus 36:36.]

An etymologically related verb, LAVAH (apparently combining the concepts of toward [L], hook/joinder [V], and distance/position [H], to indicate “joined/belonging to that position”) is routinely translated as “join” [in the niphâl form], e.g., in Esther 9:27; Isaiah 56:3 & 56:6; Jeremiah 50:5, and as “cleave” in Daniel 11:34.

So, because VAV is the sixth letter in the Hebrew alphabet, each verse (in Psalm 119:41-48) literally starts with that letter as the first letter in the first word (although the first Hebrew word may be differently placed in the English translation’s sentence):

41 And shall come [vîbō’ūnî], unto me, Thy mercy, O Lord, even Thy salvation, according to Thy word.

42 And I will answer [ve’e‘eneh] him who reproaches me, a word, because I trust in Thy word.

43 And don’t-let-escape [ve’al—tatsêl], from my mouth, the word of truth, very much; because I have hoped in Thy judgments.

44 And I will safeguard [ve’eshmerâh] Thy law, completely, forever and ever.

45 And I will walk [ve’ethallekâh] in largeness [i.e., with great liberty], because Thy precepts I have sought.

46 And I will speak [va’adabberâh] of Thy testimonies, before kings, and I will not be shamed.

47 And I thoroughly-delight-myself [ve’eshta‘sha‘] in Thy commandments, which I have loved.

48 And I raise [ve’essâ’] my hands up, unto Thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate within Thy statutes.

As noted before, Psalm 119 is all about God’s revelation of truth – especially truth about Himself – unto mankind (in a comprehensive “A to Z” panorama). The most important revelation of truth that God has given to us, and the most authoritative form of truth that we have, is the Holy Bible – the Scriptures (2nd Peter 1:16-21). Here, the octet of verses in Psalm 119:41-48 is dominated by references to the Scriptures, using the terms “the Word” (DABAR in verses 42 & 43; IMRAH in verse 41), “Thy law” (verse 44), “Thy commandments” (verses 47 & 48), “Thy testimonies” (verse 46), “Thy statutes” (verse 48), “Thy ordinances” (verse 43), and “Thy precepts” (verse 45).

Notice how the positional/relational connectedness “theme” of the Hebrew noun VAV appears frequently in this section of Psalm 119 – because God’s salvation mercifully comes unto (i.e., joins) the psalmist according to God’s Word; the psalmist confrontationally give an answer unto (i.e., enjoins) his opponent, in reliance upon God’s Word; the psalmist does not want God’s true Word to depart from (i.e., escape by disjoining) out of the psalmist’s mouth, because the psalmist relies upon God’s providential judgments; the psalmist continually safeguards (i.e., secures/keeps close to himself) God’s law; the psalmist’s walk stays joined/connected to the large pathway of God’s precepts; the psalmist confronts (i.e., enjoins) king with God’s testimonies; the psalmist loves — delighting within himself – God’s commandments, such that God’s law is in the psalmist’s heart, wherefrom the psalmist devotionally meditates thereupon, in reverence and love.

The thematic idea of Psalm 119:41-48, that “joins” these 8 verses together (pardon the pun), is that the psalmist connects all of the important aspects of life – salvation, resisting enemies, being a good steward of God’s Word, walking, talking, facing rulers, and heart priorities – by joining God’s Word to those life activities.  (And so should we!)

https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/fb/91/14/flamingo-sign.jpg

Flamingo Sign ©TripAdvisor

Fair Use Credit:  TripAdvisor.com

After that lesson (from Psalm 119:41-48), let us rejoin (pardon another pun) our study of “F” birds, beginning with FLAMINGOS, a long-legged wading shorebird well-known to Floridians.

PHOTO CREDIT: Flamingo, posing on 1 leg (Paul Marcellini)

PHOTO CREDIT: Flamingo, posing on 1 leg (Paul Marcellini)

FLAMINGOS

Regarding American Flamingos, see Lee Dusing’s Phoenicopteridae — Flamingos”. See also Ian Montgomery’s description of the Greater Flamingo, at Ian’s Bird of the Week – Greater Flamingo.

American Flamingos are tall and thin.  With a descriptive summary, Roger Tory Peterson notes:

An extremely slim rose-pink [but sometimes flamboyantly bright orange-red or pink-salmon] wading bird as tall as a Great Blue Heron but much more slender.  Note the sharply bent bill or broken ‘Roman nose’.  Feeds [e.g., shrimp and other small tidewater crustaceans] with the bill or head immersed [in shallow water].  In flight it shows much black in the wings; its extremely long neck is extended droopily in front and the long legs trail behind, giving the impression that the bird might as easily fly backward as forward.  Pale washed-out birds may be escapes [i.e., escapees] from zoos as the color often fades under captive conditions [unless a carotene-rich diet is supplied and digested, e.g., carotene-pigmented pellet containing carrots, red peppers, and/or dried shrimp].  Immatures are also much paler than normal adults.

[Quoting Roger Tory Peterson, EASTERN BIRDS  (PETERSON FIELD GUIDES),  A COMPLETELY NEW GUIDE TO ALL THE BIRDS OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA), 4th edition (Houghton Mifflin, 1980), page 110.]    Slat flats and saline lagoons are a favorite habitat for American Flamingos in Florida.

Magnificent Frigatebird pair on nest ©Jim Burns

Magnificent Frigatebird

PHOTO CREDIT:  Jim Burns

FRIGATEBIRDS

Regarding those huge-winged oceanic birds we call Frigatebirds, see Ian Montgomery’s “Great Frigatebird”, as well as Ian Montgomery’s “Lesser Frigatebird”.   See also, “Flag that Bird! (Part 3)”, a part of which article is reprinted hereinbelow.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor).  The Great Frigatebird is found soaring above tropical oceans all over the world.  Because it is almost always seen at sea, it is not surprising that English sailors (centuries ago) called it the “man-of-war”, a term that indicated a fast-sailing oceanic warship, the same kind of ship that the French called a “frigate” (la frégate). If you ever watch a frigatebird in the air, contextualized by a background (or foreground) that provides distance indexing – as I once did (a Magnificent Frigatebird “cousin”, actually, near the shoreline of Grand Cayman, one of the Cayman Islands), – you too will be impressed with the frigatebird’s speedy flight maneuvers.  In fact, its habit of stealing food (such as fish) from other seabirds is so well-known that the bird might have been better labeled the “pirate-bird”.   Why?  Frigatebirds often harass seagulls carrying fish, in the air, repeatedly, until the seagull drops – abandons – his or her piscatorial food-catch, in order to escape the threatening frigatebird.  As the bullied victim (seagull) flees the scene of the crime, empty-beaked, the buccaneering frigatebird swoops down after the plummeting food, snatching it out of the air before it drops into the water. The physical appearance of a frigatebird is not to be easily forgotten.  Frigatebirds are mostly black, with long angular wings, with a long sharply forked tail that looks pointed when “closed”.  (Males are almost all black, except for the red gular pouch (described below); the females have a white “bib” covering most of the neck-to-chest area (but have no gular pouch).  Frigatebirds “have long, thin, hooked bills and the males [each] possess an inflatable gular pouch which can be blown up to form a huge scarlet ball during courtship”.  [Quoting Marc Dando, Michael Burchett, & Geoffrey Waller, SeaLife, a Complete Guide to the Marine Environment (Smithsonian Institute Press, 1996), page 248.]  The male’s bright red “gular pouch” is a skin-covered (i.e., featherless) inflatable throat sac that connects the lower half of the bird’s beak down to and below the bird’s neck.  This inflatable throat sac, quite conspicuous during breeding season, is showcased during courtship displays, swelling into a balloon-like inflation (like a bullfrog), for a timeframe that may exceed 15 minutes!  The noise produced by this throat sac “sound-box” is the frigatebird’s rattling equivalent to yodeling.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

The Great Frigatebird is usually seen soaring above ocean waters, or swooping through the air near island beaches, looking (“on the fly”) for a meal.  In fact, frigatebirds are rarely seen on land during daylight, though they must use land for sleeping and for nesting activities, such as laying and hatching their eggs.  [See www.icr.org/article/why-we-want-go-home/ — citing Tony Soper, Oceans of Birds (London:  David & Charles Press, 1989), pages 82-83.] Oceanographer Tony Soper describes the winged magnificence of this oceanic flier:  “Frigatebirds live up to their reputation [i.e., “frigate” = seafaring warship] with spectacular manoeuvres in aerial pursuit and piracy, stalling and turning with total control in a way which outclasses any competition.  Supremely aerial seabirds, they can hang seemingly motionless in the sky for hours [gliding], waiting to pounce.  The air is their daytime medium, they alight on the water only at their peril, for they have small oil glands and their plumage is not waterproof. … They are equally at a disadvantage on dry land, for their legs are short and hopelessly inadequate for walking.  They must shuffle and climb to a point from which they can take off [and “land” on a rising thermal air current, as if it was an elevator].  By night they roost on a tree or bush which offers a convenient launch-pad when the sunrise brings a thermal lift.  They have huge wings, up to 7ft. (2.1m) in span….  With their shapely wings they float effortlessly in dynamic soaring flight, plunging only to retrieve food items from the surface or to snatch a flying fish.  Sometimes they chase other seabirds to relieve [i.e., rob] them of their catch. “   [Quoting Tony Soper, Oceans of Birds (London:  David & Charles Press, 1989), pages 82-83.] Frigatebirds congregate in breeding colonies, often near colonies of other seabirds (such as cormorants, pelicans, and boobies), not infrequently mooching food collected by their avian neighbors.

[QuotingFlag that Bird! (Part 3)”]

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God willing, the next contribution to this alphabetic series will be some more “F” birds – perhaps Finches, Frogmouths, and Fairywrens!

Meanwhile, in accordance with Psalm 119:41-48, may you and I use God’s Word, always, to connect the priorities of daily life, as we “join” with our daily opportunities to follow and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

><>  JJSJ profjjsj@aol.com

Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 3/1/17

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FrigateBird©Sciencealert

HAD THE BAG

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“This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”   JOHN 12:6

Frigatebird©Sciencealert

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Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 7/2/16

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Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

ONE OF YOU BE PUFFED UP

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“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV)

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

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The Sun Is Finally Back Out!

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) by Lee at Ding Darling NWR

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) by Lee at Ding Darling NWR

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (Mark 4:39-40 KJV)

Here in central Florida, we have been dealing with Tropical Storm Colin for the last few days. In fact, we had 3.31 inches of rain this morning and with yesterday’s count, we have had 4 inches of rain in two days. Our birds have been rather wet. Also, I stayed off of the computer because of the lightning in the rain storms. These are not my reports, because I have been home, out of the rain, still fighting my bronchitis.

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©WikiC

But, what I want to tell you about, is the reports that are coming in about sightings of Frigatebirds. Florida has a listing service where people report sightings of birds. Usually they are rare sightings. When storms like Colin are in the area, birds get blown off course and birdwatchers get the joy of seeing more rare birds. Many are pelagic, which means they normally fly out over the gulf and oceans. They are rarely seen in towns.

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©WikiC

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©WikiC

“Saw a lone Frigatebird at 9:30 am on B. B. Downes below Cross Creek Blvd.  Storm blown!” that is from a birder in North Hillsborough County, basically, North Tampa area. Here’s another report, “25 counted over Dunedin Causeway late yesterday afternoon between bands of rain. So cool they were flying at eye level on the bridge. M.R., Dunedin” Magnificent Frigatebirds report in Hernando and Pasco counties. And one more, “While stopped at the traffic light at Nebraska and Fowler. I noticed a group of ten frigatebirds circling just to the North about 8:30 this morning..”

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) ©USFWS

Across the state several sea-going birds were spotted. A Fea’s Petrel off Miami, European Storm-Petrel, and a Promarine Jaeger. Needless to say, there are some happy, though wet birdwatchers that have enjoyed these spottings.

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Drinking Water ©WikiC

Back to the Frigatebirds. The top photo was one of the few times I have had the privilege of seeing one of the Frigatebirds. Frigatebirds are members of the Fregatidae Family of the Suliformes Order.

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Male ©WikiC

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Male ©WikiC

“All have predominantly black plumage, long, deeply forked tails and long hooked bills. Females have white underbellies and males have a distinctive red gular pouch, which they inflate during the breeding season to attract females. Their wings are long and pointed and can span up to 2.3 metres (7.5 ft), the largest wing area to body weight ratio of any bird.” (Wikipedia)

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Female ©WikiC

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Female ©WikiC

“Able to soar for days on wind currents, frigatebirds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night. Their main prey are fish and squid, caught when chased to the water surface by large predators such as tuna. Frigatebirds are referred to as kleptoparasites as they occasionally rob other seabirds for food, and are known to snatch seabird chicks from the nest. Seasonally monogamous, frigatebirds nest colonially. A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands. A single egg is laid each breeding season. The duration of parental care is among the longest of any bird species; frigatebirds are only able to breed every other year.” (Wikipedia)

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) by Ian

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) by Ian

“The magnificent frigatebird is the largest species of frigatebird. It measures 89–114 cm (35–45 in) in length, has a wingspan of 217–244 cm (85–96 in) and weighs 1,100–1,590 grams (2.43–3.51 lb).[12] Males are all-black with a scarlet throat pouch that is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. Although the feathers are black, the scapular feathers produce a purple iridescence when they reflect sunlight, in contrast to the male great frigatebird’s green sheen. Females are black, but have a white breast and lower neck sides, a brown band on the wings, and a blue eye-ring that is diagnostic of the female of the species. Immature birds have a white head and underparts.” (Wikipedia)

These magnificent creations from the Lord, their Creator, have been written about before. Just wanted to share them again. Even though we have storms in life, “Colin”, the Lord always seems to give us blessings, if our eyes and heart are open to Him.

Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:28-31 KJV)

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Our Daily Bread – Life’s Storm-Tossed Sea

“Flag That Bird!” Part 3

SULIFORMES – Gannets, Cormorants, Frigatebirds, Anhingas

Fregatidae-Frigatebirds Family

MagnificentFrigatebird – Wikipedia

Suliformes Order – Wikipedia

“Flag That Bird!” (Part 3)

“Flag that bird!”  (Part 3)

 As birds flying [‘aphôth = “winging” in air], so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it. (Isaiah 31:5)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

Some birds are known for perching – we call them passerines.  Some wade in shoreline tidewaters – we call them waders.  Some birds don’t even fly at all – the flightless penguins only “fly” underwater!  Many other birds, however, we rarely see doing anything but flying — winging in the air (to use the Biblical Hebrew’s word-picture). Today’s featured creature, the Great Frigatebird, is truly a bird of flight – it is conspicuous in the air, and its wings are both acrobatic and enormous. Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female by Ian In Flag those Birds! (Part 1)”,  we considered 4 “banner birds”  –  besides globally popular 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 considered 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). As promised, this mini-series is continuing with more “flagged birds”, this time, with the Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor), the soaring seabird officially featured on the flag of Kiribati, a Pacific Ocean nation. God willing, we will subsequently review Papua New Guinea’s bird of paradise (on the flag of Papua New Guinea), the ubiquitous dove (on Fiji’s flag, as well as on the royal standard of Tonga), the black swan of Western Australia,  the white piping shrike of South Australia,  the condor of Bolivia;  and Uganda’s crested crane. So for now, let us consider the frigatebird, which appears on the flag of Kiribati. In case you haven’t visited Kiribati yet, the Republic of Kiribati is an archipelago  —  a cluster of islands — located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Specifically it is comprised of 34 islands, one of which (Banaba) is a “raised coral” island, and the rest of which are reef islands or atolls. The term “middle” (in the phrase “middle of the Pacific”) is fitting, because Kiribati straddles the equator and the International Date Line. To avoid confusion about what “day” it is, — because it would be awkward for neighboring islands to be simultaneously experiencing different “days” on the calendar (e.g., some government offices were closed, observing Sunday, while others were open for business, observing Monday!), — the International Date Line is indented, so that now the Kiribati Islands are, technically speaking, Earth’s farthest frontal time zone (called “UTC+14”, meaning “Universal Time Coordinated”, a/k/a Coordinated Universal Time, f/k/a Universal Time [UT] or Greenwich Mean Time [GMT], — so UTC+14 is 14 hours ahead of the time observed in Greenwich, London,  at the Royal Observatory).   Sorry for taking so much time on this digression’s details. 

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) pair ©Flickr Len Blumin

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) pair ©Flickr Len Blumin

Interestingly, Kiribati’s time-of-day matches that of Hawaii – but it is deemed one “day” ahead on the calendar.  (Hawaii’s time zone is very “late” in the Earth’s rotational “day”,  a fact that I recall because I worked with some lawyers who took advantage of that once — when a contract option deadline appeared to be lost, because locking in a particular contract option required a signature before 5:00pm on a certain day, but no time zone was specified – the solution was to FAX the contract papers to the Hawaii office and have them signed there, before it was 5:00pm Hawaii time!). Previously Kiribati was within (and almost synonymous with) the Gilbert Islands, just west of the old “date line” – when it was a British colony.  (In fact, the name “Kiribati” is how the native language says “Gilberts”.)   And, if you think that is confusing, you should check out how “daylight saving time” (which may locally vary from “UTC” time, during parts of the year) is applied in the central Pacific Ocean and to some of the neighboring island nations, such as Tonga, Samoa, and Tokelau!

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor).  The Great Frigatebird is found soaring above tropical oceans all over the world.  Because it is almost always seen at sea, it is not surprising that English sailors (centuries ago) called it the “man-of-war”, a term that indicated a fast-sailing oceanic warship, the same kind of ship that the French called a “frigate” (la frégate). If you ever watch a frigatebird in the air, contextualized by a background (or foreground) that provides distance indexing – as I once did (a Magnificent Frigatebird “cousin”, actually, near the shoreline of Grand Cayman, one of the Cayman Islands), – you too will be impressed with the frigatebird’s speedy flight maneuvers.  In fact, its habit of stealing food (such as fish) from other seabirds is so well-known that the bird might have been better labeled the “pirate-bird”.   Why?  Frigatebirds often harass seagulls carrying fish, in the air, repeatedly, until the seagull drops – abandons – his or her piscatorial food-catch, in order to escape the threatening frigatebird.  As the bullied victim (seagull) flees the scene of the crime, empty-beaked, the buccaneering frigatebird swoops down after the plummeting food, snatching it out of the air before it drops into the water. The physical appearance of a frigatebird is not to be easily forgotten.  Frigatebirds are mostly black, with long angular wings, with a long sharply forked tail that looks pointed when “closed”.  (Males are almost all black, except for the red gular pouch (described below); the females have a white “bib” covering most of the neck-to-chest area (but have no gular pouch).  Frigatebirds “have long, thin, hooked bills and the males [each] possess an inflatable gular pouch which can be blown up to form a huge scarlet ball during courtship”.  [Quoting Marc Dando, Michael Burchett, & Geoffrey Waller, SeaLife, a Complete Guide to the Marine Environment (Smithsonian Institute Press, 1996), page 248.]  The male’s bright red “gular pouch” is a skin-covered (i.e., featherless) inflatable throat sac that connects the lower half of the bird’s beak down to and below the bird’s neck.  This inflatable throat sac, quite conspicuous during breeding season, is showcased during courtship displays, swelling into a balloon-like inflation (like a bullfrog), for a timeframe that may exceed 15 minutes!  The noise produced by this throat sac “sound-box” is the frigatebird’s rattling equivalent to yodeling.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

The Great Frigatebird is usually seen soaring above ocean waters, or swooping through the air near island beaches, looking (“on the fly”) for a meal.  In fact, frigatebirds are rarely seen on land during daylight, though they must use land for sleeping and for nesting activities, such as laying and hatching their eggs.  [See www.icr.org/article/why-we-want-go-home/ — citing Tony Soper, Oceans of Birds (London:  David & Charles Press, 1989), pages 82-83.] Oceanographer Tony Soper describes the winged magnificence of this oceanic flier:  “Frigatebirds live up to their reputation [i.e., “frigate” = seafaring warship] with spectacular manoeuvres in aerial pursuit and piracy, stalling and turning with total control in a way which outclasses any competition.  Supremely aerial seabirds, they can hang seemingly motionless in the sky for hours [gliding], waiting to pounce.  The air is their daytime medium, they alight on the water only at their peril, for they have small oil glands and their plumage is not waterproof. … They are equally at a disadvantage on dry land, for their legs are short and hopelessly inadequate for walking.  They must shuffle and climb to a point from which they can take off [and “land” on a rising thermal air current, as if it was an elevator].  By night they roost on a tree or bush which offers a convenient launch-pad when the sunrise brings a thermal lift.  They have huge wings, up to 7ft. (2.1m) in span….  With their shapely wings they float effortlessly in dynamic soaring flight, plunging only to retrieve food items from the surface or to snatch a flying fish.  Sometimes they chase other seabirds to relieve [i.e., rob] them of their catch. “   [Quoting Tony Soper, Oceans of Birds (London:  David & Charles Press, 1989), pages 82-83.] Frigatebirds congregate in breeding colonies, often near colonies of other seabirds (such as cormorants, pelicans, and boobies), not infrequently mooching food collected by their avian neighbors.

Republic of Kiribati, adopted AD1979 ©PD

The frigatebird appears to be soaring in sunrise-dominated sky above the ocean waters, in the colorful flag of Kiribati, with the three white stripes representing the three island subsets of Kiribati, the Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and some of the Line Islands.   (The national coat-of-arms is similar.) Earlier, when Kiribati belonged to the British colony of “Gilbert and Ellice Islands”, the colonial flag included the image of a yellow frigatebird (within a coat-of-arms emblem) soaring in the sunrise above ocean waters.

Gilbert and Ellice Island, as a British colony, AD1937 ©PD

Gilbert and Ellice Island, as a British colony, AD1937 ©PD

Kiribati is a nation that celebrates its past, including its providential heritage as a colony Christianized by the British.  Its official public holidays not only include Easter (celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ) and related days (“Good Friday”, “Holy Saturday”, and “Easter Monday”)), as well as Christmas (celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ), but also “Gospel Day” (a moveable holiday scheduled on or near July 11th), to celebrate the coming of the Christian faith to these Pacific islands, thanks to God sending Christian missionaries.  Now that’s a day worth celebrating! (See Romans 10:20.) Other national holidays celebrate elderly men (“Unimwane Day”), elderly women (“Unaine Day”),  youth (“Youth Day”), servants (“Boxing Day” – for giving boxed Christmas presents to men and women who serve), and women in general (“International Women’s Day”).   So why not have a holiday to celebrate the value of men in general?  Maybe the omission should be compared to the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as they are celebrated in most churches.  On Mother’s Day the typical sermon raves about how wonderful and precious mothers are (and they are applauded, given roses, etc.),  —  but on Father’s Day the typical sermon castigates men for being such sorry fathers, failing, failing, and failing yet again to carry their paternal responsibilities properly — why won’t they do a better job?  (Yet consider this related fact about ingrates:  God the Heavenly Father, Who never fails, knows the ugly ingratitude of billions of humans who fail to appreciate His wonderful, caring providences.  The Lord Jesus was a “man of sorrows”, the Holy Spirit is sometimes “grieved”, and surely God the Father is often disappointed.) The next scheduled bird, on this mini-series list, is the Bird of Paradise, but that bird must wait for another day.  Please stay tuned (and don’t forget Mother’s Day)!

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“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 1)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 2)

More Articles by James J. S. Johnson

Orni-Theology

Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Great Frigatebird

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Great Frigatebird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8/28/14

This week’s good news is that the ebook Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland is now available on the iTunes store (in 51 countries). So if you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac (running OS X Maverick) this is for you! Here is the link: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/where-to-find-birds-in-northern/id912789825?mt=11&uo=4. To make a connection with this week’s bird, the Great Frigatebird, here is a screen shot from iBooks to show you what you can expect. All the text items highlighted in purple and links to either other places in the book – typically places, birds or lists – or external websites. The images are the same size as the ones that are included in the bird of the week, so if you double-click, or double-tap, on them, you can enlarge them to full size.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) by Ian

If you think about birds in northern Queensland, perhaps iconic rainforest species like the Cassowary or Victoria’s Riflebird come to mind. Fair enough, but there is much more to this region than rainforest, important though that is.The area also has wonderful wetlands, tropical savannah forest, mountain ranges, dry country habitats and, last but not least, the coast with its Barrier Reef, beaches, mangroves, mudflats, continental islands and coral cays. So it should be no surprise that over 400 species of birds occur here and you need a reference devoted to the region to do it justice. I’ve chosen a dramatic seabird to make the point.

The term ‘frigate’ was first applied in the 17th century to warships built for speed and manoeuvrability and frigates were often used by pirates to attach merchant shipping. Frigatebirds, also called Man o’ War Birds, got their name for their piratical habitats of harrying other seabirds like boobies and tropicbirds to make them drop their prey. In fact, studies have shown that piracy accounts for perhaps only 20% of their food, and they are expert fishers as well. They fish by snatching prey, such as squid and young turtles, from the surface of the sea or in flight, in the case of their favourite prey, flying fish.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female by Ian

Despite their naval name, frigatebirds are wonderfully adapted for flying and are poor swimmers to the extent that they are reluctant to land on water, as they can take off only in strong winds and their plumage is not waterproof. They have very light bones making up only 5% of the body, huge pectoral muscles, enormous wing area, long forked tails for rudders and streamlined bodies with small heads. Despite their size, they are very light, soar effortlessly in good winds and are very acrobatic. Female Great Frigatebirds, larger than males, are about 1m/40in long, have a wingspan to 2.3m/90in but weight only 1.2-1.6kg/2.6-3.5lb.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Female by Ian

The male Great Frigatebird, first photo, is the only all-black frigatebird occurring in Australia – the other all-black males are the Magnificent Frigatebird of Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Pacific and the Ascencion Frigatebird of the east Atlantic. Frigatebirds are unusual among seabirds in drinking freshwater if they can get it, and this male is drinking at the mouth of freshwater stream on Christmas island by snatching a beak-full of water in flight. Frigatebirds also bathe in flight by splashing into the surface of the water and flying off. You can also see its red gular pouch. This is inflated to enormous size to impress females during courtship. I haven’t got a photo of displaying Great Frigatebird, but you can see a Magnificent Frigatebird doing so here: Magnificent_Frigatebird.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by Ian

Female Great Frigatebirds have white breasts and care needs to be taken in distinguishing them from other female and juvenile frigatebirds – Lesser Frigatebirds of both sexes have white ‘spurs’ in the axil of the underwing, and Christmas Island Frigatebirds of both sexes, have white bellies. Birds in Indian Ocean waters in Australia belong to the nominate race minor, distinguished by the females having pink eye-rings, second photo. Birds in the Pacific belong to palmerstoni and usually have blue eye-rings, third photo, though doubt exists as to the validity of the races and the reliability of the fieldmarks.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by IanBecause of their need for consistent winds, frigatebirds are restricted to tropical waters where they can rely on the trade winds. Adults are sedentary and remain close to their roosting sites and breeding colonies, mostly on small isolated islands. Non-breeding birds and immature birds are pelagic and move over huge distances. Trade winds are unusual in that they form cumulus clouds and hence thermals over water both by day and night, and frigatebirds make great use of these to soar as high as the cloud base and will fly at night if conditions are right. Pelagic frigatebirds use the front of storms to move around and can cope with high winds very well. This is why they appear in coastal areas after cyclones and are supposed to be called ‘rain-brothers’ by Australian aborigines, though I haven’t been able to verify this.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by IanThe range of the Great Frigatebird includes the tropical Pacific, southern tropical Indian and western Atlantic Oceans. In Australia it breeds colonially on islands along the outer Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea and on Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, usually in mangroves. The juvenile in photos five and six was photographed on East Diamond Islet, about 600km east of Cairns http://www.satelliteviews.net/cgi-bin/w.cgi?c=cr&UF=34304&UN=456541&DG=ISL. Breeding birds form pair bonds and both parents share in the incubation and feeding of the young. The young develop very slowly. This is thought to adapt them to periods of starvation when the adults have trouble finding food, and remain under parental care for many months.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female attacking Red-tailed Tropicbird by IanThe last photo shows a hapless Red-tailed Tropicbird near Christmas Island being harried by a female Great Frigatebird who has grabbed it by the tail-streamers. Frigatebirds hang out near seabird colonies waiting for birds carrying prey or with full crops returning to feed their young. It’s hard enough work being a parent without having to put up with this!

Greetings
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Lee’s Addition:

but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 HCSB)

Thanks again, Ian, for introducing us to another interesting bird. We have seen the Magnificent Frigatebirds here in Florida, but these Great ones are also amazing. That fact about only 5% of their weight being the bone structure is another fantastic design from their Creator.

Frigatebirds belong to the Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family which only has five species in it.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Lesser Frigatebird

Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family

Great Frigatebird – Wikipedia

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Lesser Frigatebird

 

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) male by Ian

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) male by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Lesser Frigatebird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 3/2/11

This is the third of the post-cyclone Yasi birds of the week. The first dealt with survival of small birds; the second with birds like fruit-doves that move after the cyclone in search of food. Another category of birds greatly affected by cyclones are seabirds, particularly those that spend much time on the wing and these often appear in places where they are not usually seen or get blown inland, sometimes over great distances.

The Lesser Frigatebird is common in oceanic waters of northern Australia and breeds in colonies both on the northern mainland and on cays and islands. Adult birds are normally sedentary, remaining in the vicinity of the colonies, though immature birds may travel widely over the oceans. Frigatebirds not normally seen in places like Townsville, distant from breeding colonies, except after cyclones and cyclone Yasi was no exception with both Great and Lesser Frigatebirds being recorded along the coast. I was surprised to see a pair of Lesser Frigatebirds near my place at Bluewater, 11km from the coast and the birds looked quite out of place soaring over the hills south of the house.
Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) female by Ian

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) female by Ian

Lesser Frigatebirds are easily distinguished in all plumages from Great Frigatebirds by having white ‘armpits’ or spurs. The first photo shows a male bird, black except for these spurs and male Great Frigatebirds are entirely black. Male Frigatebirds have inflatable red throat pouches used to spectacular effect in displays (for example this male Magnificent Frigatebird in Ecuador: http://www.birdway.com.au/fregatidae/magnificent_frigatebird/source/magnif_frigatebird_27662.htm ). The second photo shows a female Lesser Frigatebird and the third an immature one.
Frigatebirds are huge. Even the Lesser, the smallest of the 5 global species, is 70-80cm/28-32in. in length with a wingspan of 1.8-1.9m/5.9-6.2 feet. They are very light for their size, having very light bones, and are adapted to soaring effortlessly in the trade winds where they are usually found. They are famous as pirates, forcing other seabirds, particularly boobies, to disgorge their prey ( http://www.birdway.com.au/fregatidae/greater_frigatebird/source/greater_frigatebird_39356.htm ), but they are also adept fishers in their own right, snatching flying fish in flight and other fish and cuttlefish from the surface of the water. They have tiny feet, useful only for perching in trees when nesting or roosting and quickly become water-logged if forced to land on water which they normally avoid. They will bathe and drink fresh water in flight ( http://www.birdway.com.au/fregatidae/greater_frigatebird/source/greater_frigatebird_40675.htm ).
Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) imm. by Ian

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) imm. by Ian

11km from the coast is nothing to a frigatebird and it is likely that cyclone-distributed frigatebirds can find their way home (like swifts, they often take advantage of storm fronts). Less fortunate perhaps was the Petrel recorded post-Yasi on the Atherton Tableland by Alan Gillanders, though the record for Yasi goes to a Bridled Tern rescued ‘in bad shape’ in Alice Springs by Chris Watson, probably as far away from the ocean as you can get in Australia.

The latest addition to the website is a taxonomic index of Australian birds ( http://www.birdway.com.au/aus_taxonomic.htm ), showing Orders and Families and with links to the 97 of 103 families of Australian birds represented on the website. The 6 unrepresented families are also shown but lack links. Some of these missing families are merely rare vagrants such as Northern Storm-Petrels and Leaf Warblers (the Arctic Warbler) or introductions like the Ostrich but others such as Penguins (there are only photos of African Penguins) are to be regretted and I hope to rectify this before the year is out. The other two – Scrub-birds and Sheathbills – are in the very hard baskets, and I can’t make any promises. If classification is your thing, this page is for you and you can find it under the grey navigation button ‘Indices to Australian Birds’ formerly singular. There are also instructions on the home page: http://www.birdway.com.au/index.htm#news .
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

Lee’s Addition:

The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:8-9 NKJV)

The frigatebirds are a family, Fregatidae, of seabirds. There are five species in the single genus Fregata. They are also sometimes called Man of War birds or Pirate birds. Since they are related to the pelicans, the term “frigate pelican” is also a name applied to them. They have long wings, tails and bills and the males have a red gular pouch that is inflated during the breeding season to attract a mate. They are part of the Suliformes Order.

Frigatebirds are pelagic piscivores which obtain most of their food on the wing. A small amount of their diet is obtained by robbing other seabirds, a behavior that has given the family its name, and by snatching seabird chicks. Frigatebirds are seasonally monogamous, and nest colonially. A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands. A single egg[citation needed] is laid each breeding season. The duration of parental care in frigatebirds is the longest of any bird.

Frigatebirds are found over tropical oceans and ride warm updrafts. Therefore, they can often be spotted riding weather fronts and can signal changing weather patterns.

These birds do not swim and cannot walk well, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week, landing only to roost or breed on trees or cliffs. (Wikipedia)

Dan and I had the privilege of see a Magnificent Frigatebird flying over Ding Darling NWR.

Some Christmas Birds

Christmas White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

Christmas White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

Luke 2:15-20 KJV

(15) And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

(16) And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

(17) And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

(18) And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

(19) But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

(20) And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Flag of Christmas Island

Flag of Christmas Island©WikiC

While searching to find birds to write about with a Christmas theme, I came across the Territory of Christmas Island which belongs to Australia. It is in the Indian Ocean and only has a population of 1,403 residents who live in a number of “settlement areas” on the northern tip of the island.

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Abbott's Booby (Papasula abbotti) by Ian

Abbott's Booby (Papasula abbotti) by Ian

The island’s geographic isolation and history of minimal human disturbance has led to a high level of endemism (or state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type, and found only there) among its flora and fauna, which is of significant interest to scientists and naturalists. 63% of its 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi) is an Australian national park. There exist large areas of primary monsoonal forest.

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) by Ian

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) by Ian

Christmas Island is a focal point for sea birds of various species. Eight species or subspecies of sea birds nest on the island. The most numerous is the Red-footed Booby that nests in colonies, in trees, on many parts of the shore terrace. The widespread Brown Booby nests on the ground near the edge of the seacliff and inland cliffs. Abbott’s Booby nests on tall emergent trees of the western, northern and southern plateau rainforest. The Christmas Island forest is the only nesting habitat of the Abbott’s Booby left in the world. The endemic Christmas Island Frigatebird (listed as endangered) has nesting areas on the north-eastern shore terraces and the more widespread Great Frigatebirds nest in semi-deciduous trees on the shore terrace with the greatest concentrations being in the North West and South Point areas. The Common Noddy and two species of bosuns or tropicbirds, with their brilliant gold or silver plumage and distinctive streamer tail feathers, also nest on the island.

Christmas Imperial Pigeon (Ducula whartoni) by Ian Montgomery

Christmas Imperial Pigeon (Ducula whartoni) by Ian Montgomery

Of the ten native land birds and shorebirds, seven are endemic species or subspecies. This includes the Christmas Island Thrush, and the Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon. Some 86 migrant bird species have been recorded as visitors to the Island.

Christmas Boobook (Ninox natalis) by Ian

Christmas Boobook (Ninox natalis) by Ian

The list of birds from the I.O.C., which I use, lists five birds starting with Christmas. The Christmas Boobook (or Christmas Island Hawk-Owl), Christmas Frigatebird, Christmas Imperial Pigeon, Christmas Shearwater, and the Christmas White-eye.

Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis) ©WikiC

Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis) ©WikiC


Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) by Bob-Nan

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) by Bob-Nan

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Some information from Wikipedia and other internet sources.

See Also:

Christmas Island – Wikipedia

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