Sunday Inspiration – Storks

Wood Storks on top of tree at Circle B -7-22-11 by Lee

Wood Storks on top of tree at Circle B by Lee

“Where the birds make their nests; The stork has her home in the fir trees.” (Psalms 104:17 NKJV)

Wow! While searching through the index of this blog, I realized that the “Sunday Inspiration” was started in January of 2014. I had no idea it has been that long ago. Also, I realized that we are just about back to where it began.  Over the last three and a half years, you have been exposed to almost every family of birds in the world. They were randomly produced, then the Taxonomic order was begun with the Passerines, Singing and Perching Birds. It was finished up and then we started through taxonomically several months ago. Do you have any idea of the numbers of avian wonders that you have have been exposed to? Neither do I. :)

Currently, there are 10,681 species named with I.O.C., plus all the subspecies. I trust as you have seen their photos and listened to Christian music in the background, that it has been more pleasant than looking through guide books. :)

All of this has been said to let you know that if the “Sunday Inspiration” starts skipping over certain families, then it was already covered. The links to the skipped over ones will be listed. Most of you, like me, probably had no idea of what order the birds are listed in. We have all been learning as we have produced these Inspirations in order.

Marabou Stork LP Zoo by Lee

Storks are members of the Ciconiidae family and the only family in the Ciconiiformes Order. Storks are large to very large waterbirds. They range in size from the marabou, which stands 152 cm (60 in) tall and can weigh 8.9 kg (20 lb) the Abdim’s stork, which is only 75 cm (30 in) high and only weighs 1.3 kg (2.9 lb). Their shape is superficially similar to the herons, with long legs and necks, but they are heavier-set. There is some sexual dimorphism (differences between males and females) in size, with males being up to 15% bigger than females in some species (for example the saddle-billed stork), but almost no difference in appearance. The only difference is in the colour of the iris of the two species in the genus Ephippiorhynchus.

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) by Ian

The bills of the storks are large to very large, and vary considerably between the genera. The shape of the bills is linked to the diet of the different species. The large bills of the Ciconia storks are the least specialised. Larger are the massive and slightly upturned bills of the Ephippiorhynchus and the jabiru. These have evolved to hunt for fish in shallow water. Larger still are the massive daggers of the two adjutants and marabou (Leptoptilos), which are used to feed on carrion and in defence against other scavengers, as well as for taking other prey. The long, ibis-like downcurved bills of the Mycteria storks have sensitive tips that allow them to detect prey by touch (tactilocation) where cloudy conditions would not allow them to see it. The most specialised bills of any storks are those of the two openbills (Anastomus.), which as their name suggested is open in the middle when their bill is closed.

Saddlebill Stork at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

“Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)

The storks vary in their tendency towards migration. Temperate species like the white stork, black stork and Oriental stork undertake long annual migrations in the winter. The routes taken by these species have developed to avoid long distance travel across water, and from Europe, this usually means flying across the Straits of Gibraltar or east across the Bosphorus and through Israel and the Sinai. Studies of young birds denied the chance to travel with others of their species have shown that these routes are at least partially learnt, rather than being innate as they are in passerine migrants. Migrating black storks are split between those that make stopovers on the migration between Europe and their wintering grounds in Africa, and those that don’t.

Abdim's Stork (Ciconia abdimii) ©©MichelleBartsch

Abdim’s Stork (Ciconia abdimii) ©©MichelleBartsch

The Abdim’s stork is another migrant, albeit one that migrates within the tropics. It breeds in northern Africa, from Senegal to the Red Sea, during the wet season, and then migrates to Southern Africa. Many species that aren’t regular migrants will still make smaller movements if circumstances require it; others may migrate over part of their range. This can also include regular commutes from nesting sites to feeding areas. Wood storks have been observed feeding 130 km (81 mi) from their colony. [Information from Wikipedia, with editing.]

The birds in Taxonomic order are listed here: IOC World Bird List

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“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39 KJV)


“Amazing Grace” and “I Love You” – Orchestra and Choir combined”.
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More Sunday Inspirations
Birds of the Bible – Storks
Wordless Birds

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Sunday Inspiration – Cardinalidae Family of Cardinals Plus

Northern Cardinal M-F ©BackyardBirdLover

Northern Cardinal M-F ©BackyardBirdLover

Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? (Isaiah 63:2 KJV)

Today, you are being introduced to the Cardinalidae Family, which is the last family, in taxonomy order, of the Passeriformes Order. Since February 1, 2016, we began the journey with the first four families in More Amazing Birds. Now we have arrived at the last of the 131 families of this order. I trust you have enjoyed the journey through these many Sundays. Hopefully you have been blessed by the great variety of Avian Wonders from our Lord, their Creator. The Passeriformes Order contains well over half of all the birds in the world; around 6,000 plus of the 10,659 species on the latest update. (6.3)

The Cardinalidae – Cardinals, Grosbeaks and allies has 69 species in the family. Because of that number, this family will be presented in two segments. Growing up in Indiana, the Northern Cardinal was a favorite of most of us. It is the “State Bird” of Indiana along with six other states. [Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia] The family members are found in North and South America. The South America Cardinals of the genus Paroaria are placed in another family, the Thraupidae (previously placed in Emberizidae). Even though the family name is Cardinalidae, there are only two “cardinals” among the members.

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) ©WikiC

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) ©WikiC

Also known as cardinal-grosbeaks and cardinal-buntings, this family’s members “are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. The family ranges in size from the 12-cm (4.7-in), 11.5-g (0.40-oz) and up orange-breasted bunting to the 25-cm (9.8-in), 85-g (2.99-oz) black-headed saltator. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinctive appearances. The northern cardinal type species was named by colonists for the male’s red crest, reminiscent of a Catholic cardinal’s biretta.

The ‘North American buntings’ are known as such to distinguish them from buntings. The name ‘cardinal-grosbeak’ can also apply to this family as a whole.”(Wikipedia)

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell

The family starts off with 11 Tanagers in the Piranga genus, which used to be in with the tanagers, but were relocated here recently. “They are essentially red, orange or yellow all over, except the tail and wings and in some species also the back. Such extensive lipochrome coloration (except on the belly) is very rare in true tanagers, but is widespread among the Cardinalidae in the Piranga genus.

These songbirds are found high in tree canopies, and are not very gregarious in their breeding areas. Piranga species pick insects from leaves, or sometimes in flight. They will also take some fruit. Several species are migratory, breeding in North America and wintering in the tropics.”

Red-throated Ant Tanager (Habia fuscicauda) by Michael Woodruff

Red-throated Ant Tanager (Habia fuscicauda) by Michael Woodruff

Next are the Ant Tanagers in the Habia genus. “These are long-tailed and strong billed birds. The males have a red crest and plumage containing red, brown or sooty hues. Females may resemble the males or be largely yellowish or brown in colour.” Following these are four more tanagers in the Chlorothraupis genus. These are the last of the tanagers that were moved to this family.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) by Rob Fry

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) by Rob Fry

The next genus, Pheucitcus has six Grosbeaks.  Typical of the genus, they lay two to five pale bluish to greenish eggs with heavy brown and gray speckling. The cup nest is built at medium height in a bush or small tree.” (Wikipedia)

Red-breasted Chat (Granatellus venustus) ©WikiC

There are three Chats in the Granatellus genus; Red-breasted Chat, Grey-throated Chat, and the Rose-breasted Chat. They range from North America through Central America into northern South America. Their natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests.

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) ©Flickr Don Faulkner

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) ©Flickr Don Faulkner

We will finish this first half of the family with three of my favorites, the Cardinalis genus. Our Northern and Vermilion Cardinals and the Pyrrholixia (which I saw for the first time last year) are hard to miss with their bright set of feathers the Lord provided for them. These range across North America and into northern South America.

“He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.” (Matthew 16:2 KJV)

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“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)

“Written in Red” – Faith Baptist Choir and Orchestra

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:16-19 KJV)

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More Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – More Amazing Birds

PASSERIFORMES – Passerines

Cardinalidae – Cardinals, Grosbeaks and allies

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Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Dacnis, Honeycreepers, Conebills

Continuing through the Tanagers of the Thraupidae, we have some more beautiful birds to let you enjoy. Our Lord must have loved creating this kind of bird. He sure created enough of them through their interbreeding. We are about half way through the Traupidae family. This is the fifth installment. Not sure how many more it will take to finish up this family. Trust you are enjoying them.

Black-faced Dacnis (Dacnis lineata) ©WikiC

Black-faced Dacnis (Dacnis lineata) ©WikiC

The Dacnis genus are from the Columbia and other nearby countries in South America. Some I could not find photos of that gave permission to use, so enjoy the ones that could be shown. The most common Dacnis seems to be the Blue Dacnis. Typical of this genus, they “occur in forests and other woodlands, including gardens and parks. The bulky cup nest is built in a tree and the normal clutch is of two to three grey-blotched whitish eggs. The female incubates the eggs, but is fed by the male. These are social birds which eat mainly insects gleaned from foliage, flowers or bromeliads. Fruit is often taken and usually swallowed whole, but nectar is rarely consumed.” (Wikipedia) There is one more Dacnis that is in the Xenodacnis genus.

Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza) Male Immature ©BirdPhotos.com

Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza) Male Immature ©BirdPhotos.com

The next three genera, Cyanerpes, Chlorophanes, and Iridophanes are Honeycreepers. They have longer tails than the Dacnis and you will notice a little more down curve on their bills. The four Cyanerpes species have colourful legs, long wings and a short tail. The males are typically glossy purple-blue and the females greenish.

Guira Tanager (Hemithraupis guira) Male ©BirdPhotos.com

Guira Tanager (Hemithraupis guira) Male ©BirdPhotos.com

“Yellow-rumped” clade of Tanagers include the Heerospingus, Chrysothlpis, and Hemithraupis genera. These small to medium tanagers are found in the moist forests of Central and South America.  The females are duller than the males.

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

White-browed Conebill (Conirostrum ferrugineiventre) ©WikiC

The Conebills from the Conirostrum genus, finish our group of beautiful birds from the Tanager Family for this week. “They are small tanagers (9–14 cm) found in the forests of South America. They feed in pairs or small flocks by gleaning insects from foliage.” Following these here is a Giant Conebill (Oreomanes fraseri) in its own genus.

“The genus consists of two rather distinct subgenera: The first, Ateleodacnis, possibly deserving full generic status, is confined to lowland areas. They are mostly grey in colour and inhabit deciduous woodlands, mangroves or riverbank habitats. The second group, the nominate Conirostrum subgenus, inhabits the forests of the Andes. They are somewhat more colourful combining grey or blue backs with rufous underparts. Their thin bills led to them being formerly classified as wood-warblers or honeycreepers but genetic data places them firmly in the tanager family and they are now generally considered to belong in the Thraupidae.” (Wikipedia)

Enjoy the Slideshow and the music below.

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That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:7-10 KJV)

“Amazing Grace & I Love You Written In Red” – Choir and Orchestra at Faith Baptist

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More Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies I

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies II

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies III

Sunday Inspiration – Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies IV

Traupidae Family – Tanagers and Allies

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die

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