Bible Birds – Sea Gulls Introduction

Bible Birds – Sea Gulls Introduction

Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) by Ian

Bible Birds – Sea Gulls

“the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind;” (Leviticus 11:16 NKJV)

“and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kinds;” (Leviticus 11:16 JPS)

The Sea Gull or Sea-mew is mentioned in many versions of the Bible. It is unclear if this is the correct bird, but many believe so. This bird is listed with others on the “Do Not Eat” list. The Jewish people were reminded not to eat some birds.

Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14 have those lists. The LORD was protecting His people from becoming sick. Also, some birds were not to be eaten because “God said not to”. Have your parents ever told you not to eat something because it would make you sick. Did you do it anyway? That is disobedience. These people were to be obedient, just as you and I are supposed to obey.

Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) by Ian

Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) by Ian

The Gulls or Seagulls are seabirds in the Laridae family. They are closely related to the terns and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. An older name for gulls is mews, cognate with German Möwe, Danish måge, Dutch meeuw, and French mouette; this term can still be found in certain regional dialects.

Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls; stout, longish bills; and webbed feet. Most gulls are ground-nesting carnivores which take live food or scavenge. Live food often includes crabs and small fish. Gulls have unhinging jaws which allow them to consume large prey. Gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely going far out to sea, except for the kittiwakes.

The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Large white-headed gulls live long, with a maximum age of 49 years recorded for the herring gull.

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) chick-egg nest ©USFWS

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) chick-egg nest ©USFWS

Gulls nest in large, densely packed, noisy colonies. They lay two or three speckled eggs in nests composed of vegetation. The young are relatively mature from the moment of birth, born with dark mottled down and mobile upon hatching.

Laughing Gull landing on Brown Pelican

Laughing Gull landing on Brown Pelican by Lee

Gulls are resourceful, inquisitive, and intelligent, the larger species in particular. For example, many gull colonies display mobbing behavior, attacking and harassing predators and other intruders. Certain species have exhibited tool-use behavior, such as the herring gull, using pieces of bread as bait with which to catch goldfish, for example.

More Information:

Story of the Wordless Book

Lee’s Five Word Friday – 8/11/17


Mom and Baby Penquins ©Pinterest



“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Psalms 119:9 NKJV)

Mom and Baby Penguins ©Pinterest


More Daily Devotionals


Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 12/10/16


Momma Mallard and 2 Babies at Lake Morton



“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17 KJV)

Momma Mallard and 2 Babies at Lake Morton by Lee



More Daily Devotionals


Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 5/25/16


Walking Chicks ©GettyImages-



“And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”  (Exodus 18:20)

Walking Chicks ©GettyImages


More Daily Devotionals


Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 2/23/16


Mallard Duck army marching (I know it's not a King, but it's cute) ©WikiC



And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, “Follow me!” And he arose, and followed him. (Matthew 9:9 KJV)

Mallard Duck and Followers ©WikiC


More Daily Devotionals


The Naughty Little Sick Snowbird

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) by Ray

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) by Ray


The Bird Began to Recover.

The Bird Began to Recover.



Daddy had been encouraging Jack and Evelyn to feed the little birds that came outside the window. So one evening when it was time for their story he told them about the Christmas a little snowbird had had the year before.

“He was a very self-willed little fellow,” commenced daddy, “and he thought no one knew so much about life as he did. During the autumn he had become very chummy with the sparrows. His daddy and mother didn’t like that much, as they were afraid he would become as rude and noisy as the sparrows were.

“When the cold weather came the snowbirds decided to leave, but the little wilful snowbird was nowhere to be found. ‘Where could he have gone?’ asked Mother Snowbird, and daddy said, ‘Oh, probably he left this morning with the robins and wrens, for I saw him playing with them!’ That eased Mother Snowbird’s fears, and off they started.

“When the little snowbird saw that his family had flown away he came out from his hiding-place. He really felt a little homesick and was sorry he hadn’t gone, too; but, of course, he didn’t dare admit it, for the sparrows had told him only stupid children were obedient. They admired his naughty disobedience and thought it was a great joke to worry his family.

“A few weeks went by, and the days became colder and colder. One night he felt so cold and so unhappy that he flew away from the sparrows, expecting to die any moment.

“The next morning he was found, half dead, by a little girl. She took him in her house, warmed his frozen feet and fed him bits of crumbs and drops of water. Slowly he began to recover.

“It was the day before Christmas, and he was perched on the window-sill in the sun, when, to his huge joy, he saw Daddy and Mother Snowbird outside the window. He flew against the window-glass. The little girl came rushing into the room to see what the trouble was. She was sure from his joyous actions that the other two snowbirds were his daddy and mother, so she opened the window, and the little bird flew out.

“‘Oh, dear, we’ve been so frightened!’ said Mother Snowbird.

“‘Yes,’ said Daddy Snowbird; ‘we’ve been on ever so many trips looking for you, but now we’ll hurry down home and fly fast, so as not to get cold, and then we’ll be there in time for Christmas day. All the little birds will be there waiting for the Christmas party.’

“You may be quite sure the little snowbird never had a happier Christmas, and he realized that the older birds knew what was best for him.”

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) by J Fenton

It might have been a Snow Bunting by J Fenton

Lee’s Addition:

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20 NKJV)


Another Bird Tales


Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories – Gutenberg ebooks


Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

Daddys Bedtime Story Images


These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.

Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner - 1917

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917



Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr



  Bird Tales






  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories




Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC


  Wordless Birds





Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) by J Fenton



 Calcariidae – Longspurs, Snow Buntings – Family



Bible Birds – Mother Birds and Their Young – (Re-post)

My Mom and Me 26

Yesterday’s My Mom And Me – Email blog inspired me to write a new article for the Birds of the Bible For Kids. It is called:”

Bible Birds – Mother Birds and Their Young.

Please check it out. It is geared for a younger audience.


Bible Birds – Mother Birds and Their Young

My Mom and Us

My Mom and Us

Yesterday, in My Mom and Me – Photos, you saw many photos of Mother Animals and Mother Birds with their young ones. Does the Bible mention mother birds and their young or eggs. Yes, it does.

“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young;

you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days. (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 NKJV)

That is very interesting verse. It tells us not to take both the mother and the young or eggs. Do you know why? Look at the last verse; it says “may be well with you and you will prolong your days (live longer). Do you know another reason not to take both? The Lord commanded the animals and birds to have babies and fill the earth. If you kill them both, then none of that family will be able to have more baby birds or the young will not get to grow up and have baby birds. Soon, there wouldn’t be any more of those kinds of birds and they would become “extinct.”

The Lord told us from the very beginning of the Bible to have “dominion” over the birds and animals. That does not mean to be mean to them, but more like to watch over them and care for them. That is what our verse above is telling us. Not to destroy all of them, but to leave some of the family alive to carry on.

Gather the people–men, women, children, and foreigners living within your gates–so that they may listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and be careful to follow all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 31:12 HCSB)

Wordless Birds


More Bible Birds


Bible Birds – Thrush Introduction Article

Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush by Peter Ericsson

Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush by Peter Ericsson

Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)

See – Thrush Introduction)

This was duplicated by mistake.

Birds of the Bible – Name Study – Swamphen or Waterhen

Purple Gallinule by Lee at Lake Hollingsworth by Lee

Purple Gallinule by Lee at Lake Hollingsworth by Lee

And the swan, and the bittern, and the porphyrion. (Leviticus 11:18 DRB)

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture; (Leviticus 11:18)

et cygnum, et onocrotalum, et porphyrionem, (Leviticus 11:18 clVulgate)

A quote from the article mentioned in Birds of the Bible – Names of Birds Study Introduction from Kosher Animals – Birds about the “porphyrion”:

“An additional complexity arises from the fact that the porphyrion has not yet been identified, and classical Greek literature merely identifies a number of species that are not the porphyrion, including the peacock, grouse, and robin, and implies that the porphyrion is the cousin of the kingfisher; from these meagre clarifications, the porphyrion can only be identified as anything from the Lilac-breasted Roller, Indian Roller, or Northern Carmine Bee-eater, to the flamingo.”

This caused studying to find out more about this. Working so much with the names of birds of the world that I list, a search of that database came up with these Latin named birds with similar spelling and the Waterhen listed in some Bible translations, so it is listed also.:

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
African Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis)
White Swamphen (Porphyrio albus) † Extinct
Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) † Extinct
Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri)
Allen’s Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni)
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus)
Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris)

Purple-throated Cotinga (Porphyrolaema porphyrolaema)  ©Cincinnati Zoo
Blue Finch (Porphyrospiza caerulescens) Wikipedia

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Interesting. The Cotinga and the Finch, I believe could be eliminated as birds not on the unclean list. The birds left are all part of the Rails, Crakes and Coots-Rallidae Family. Also looking back over previous posts, the Water-hen was written about in Birds of the Bible – Water-hen or Water hen. Some insight was discovered in that article.

Which bird is intended by the Bible? I have no definite answer. But, for the sake of learning more about birds, let’s look at the ones left on the list above. Notice that “purple” does show up in most of these birds.

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) by Bob-Nan

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) by Bob-Nan

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), also known as the Pūkeko, African Purple Swamphen, Purple Moorhen, Purple Gallinule or Purple Coot, is a large bird in the family Rallidae (rails). From its name in French, talève sultane, it is also known as the Sultana Bird. This chicken-sized bird, with its huge feet, bright plumage and red bill and frontal shield is easily-recognisable in its native range. It should not be confused with the American Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica.

There are 13 or more subspecies of the Purple Swamphen (depending on the authority) which differ mainly in plumage colour.
The species makes loud, quick, bleating and hooting calls, which are hardly bird-like in tone. It is particularly noisy during the breeding season. Despite being clumsy in flight it can fly long distances, and it is a good swimmer, especially for a bird without webbed feet.

The Purple Swamphen is occasionally recorded as an escape from captivity in Britain and elsewhere. An introduced population exists in Florida, though state wildlife biologists are trying to eradicate the birds.

The Purple Swamphen was introduced to North America in the late 1990s due to avicultural escapes in the Pembroke Pines, Florida area. The birds multiplied and can now be found in many areas of southern Florida. Ornithological authorities consider it likely that the swamphen will become an established part of Florida’s avifauna.

The Florida birds are mostly or entirely of the gray-headed race poliocephalus, native to the area around the Caspian Sea.

The most common call from the Florida birds is a loud, high-pitched “creek,” often doubled.


White Swamphen (Lord Howe) (Porphyrio albus) † Extinct ©WikiC

White Swamphen (Lord Howe) (Porphyrio albus) † Extinct ©WikiC

The Lord Howe Swamphen or White Gallinule, Porphyrio albus, was a large bird in the family Rallidae endemic to Lord Howe Island, Australia. It was similar to the Purple Swamphen, but with shorter and more robust legs and toes. Its plumage was white, sometimes with a few blue feathers, and it was probably flightless, like its other close relative the Takahe. Similar, entirely blue birds were also described, but it is not clear if they belong to this species or are simply Purple Swamphens (which can also be found on the island). The feathers on the two extant skins are white.

This bird was first described by John White in his Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales (1790), which also contained an illustration. It was not uncommon when the bird was first described, but was soon hunted to extinction by whalers and sailors.
There are two skins of the bird in existence, one in the collection of the World Museum in Liverpool and the other in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien in Vienna. There are also several paintings, and some subfossil bones.

Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) † Extinct (North Island Takahē) ©WikiC

Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) † Extinct (North Island Takahē) ©WikiC

The North Island Takahē or Mōho, or Mohoau (Porphyrio mantelli) is an extinct rail that was found in the North Island of New Zealand. This flightless species is known from subfossils from a number of archeological sites and from one possible 1894 record (Phillipps, 1959). It appeared to have been even larger than the South Island Takahē and, if it did survive until the 1890s, would have been the largest rail in historic times. The decline of the species has generally been attributed to the increasing incursion of forest into the alpine grasslands through the Holocene, although hunting by the Māori also played a major role.

Traditionally the North Island Takahē was considered conspecific with the threatened South Island Takahe P. hochstetteri. Trewick (1996) presented evidence that the two taxa were independently derived from flying ancestors, so proved to be separate species.

Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri) by Nick Talbot

Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri) by Nick Talbot

The Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) or South Island Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand and belonging to the rail family. It was thought to be extinct after the last four known specimens were taken in 1898. However, after a carefully planned search effort the bird was rediscovered by Geoffrey Orbell near Lake Te Anau in the Murchison Mountains, South Island, on 20 November 1948.

The Takahē is the largest living member of the Rallidae family. Its overall length averages 63 cm (24.8 in) and its average weight is about 2.7 kg (6 lbs) in males and 2.3 kg (5 lb) in females, ranging from 1.8-4.2 kg (4-9.2 lbs).  The standing height is around 50 cm (20 in). It is a stocky bird, with reduced wings, strong legs and a massive bill.

The adult Takahē is mainly purple-blue in colour, with a greenish back and inner wings. It has a red frontal shield and red-based pink bill. The legs are pink. This is a noisy species with a loud clowp call. Contact call is easely confused with that of the Weka (Gallirallus australis), but is generally more resonant and deeper.

Allen's Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni) ©WikiC

Allen’s Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni) ©WikiC

The Allen’s Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni), formerly known as the Lesser Gallinule is a small waterbird of the family Rallidae. Its former binomial name is Porphyrula alleni.
Its breeding habitat is marshes and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa. They build a floating nest in marshes and swamps, laying 2-5 eggs. This species is partially migratory, undertaking seasonal movements.
Remarkably, this apparently weakly flying bird is not only the only species with a purely sub-Saharan African range to have reached Great Britain, but has done so twice. It has also occurred as a vagrant in several other European countries.

They are similar in size to the only slightly larger Water Rail. The Allen’s Gallinule has a short red bill, greenish back and purple upperparts. They have red legs with long toes, and a short tail which is white with a dark central bar underneath. Breeding males have a blue frontal shield, which is green in the female. Immature Allen’s Gallinules are sandy brown with a buff undertail. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.
These birds probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and aquatic animals. They nod their heads as they swim.

Allen’s Gallinules are very secretive in the breeding season, particularly in the dense swamps they favour, and are mostly heard rather than seen. They are then rather noisy birds, with a sharp nasal pruk call. They can be easier to see on migration or when wintering.

This bird is named after British naval officer Rear-Admiral William Allen (1770-1843).


Framed Purple Gallinule by Dan

Framed Purple Gallinule by Dan

The (American) Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) is a “swamp hen” in the rail family Rallidae. This is a medium-sized rail, measuring 26–37 cm (10–15 in) in length, spanning 50–61 cm (20–24 in) across the wings and weighing 141–305 g (5.0–10.8 oz). Males, averaging 257 g (9.1 oz) in mass, are slightly larger than females, at 215 g (7.6 oz) on average. The adult Purple gallinule has big yellow feet, purple-blue plumage with a green back, and red and yellow bill. It has a pale blue forehead shield and white undertail. Darkness or low light can dim the bright purple-blue plumage of the adult to make them look dusky or brownish, although the forehead shield color differentiates them from similar species such as Common Gallinules.

Juveniles are brown overall with a brownish olive back. These gallinules will fly short distances with dangling legs. Their breeding habitat is warm swamps and marshes in southeastern states of the United States and the tropical regions of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. This species is resident in southern Florida and the tropics, but most American birds are migratory, wintering south to Argentina. The nest is a floating structure in a marsh. Five to ten eggs are laid. Their coloration is buff with brown spots.

The diet of these rails is omnivorous, being known to include a wide variety of plant and animal matter, including seeds, leaves and fruits of both aquatic and terrestrial plants, as well as insects, frogs, snails, spiders, earthworms and fish. They have also been known to eat the eggs and young of other birds.

This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe and southwestern Africa. There is a similar species in southern Europe, the Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio, but that bird is much larger.

This species is sometimes referred to by the alternative name, Yellow-legged Gallinule.

Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) ©Arthur Grosset

Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) ©Arthur Grosset

The Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) is a species of bird in the Rallidae family. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, and Venezuela.

The bill and frontal shield is a pale greenish-yellow.The wing coverts are greenish-blue while the back and tail are browner. The throat and underparts are white while the legs are yellow.

It is found in freshwater marshes where there is floating vegetation and this includes marshy edges of rivers and lakes. Nest is an open cup of leaves concealed in dense marsh vegetation. Clutch size is 4-5 eggs, incubated by both parents. Diet consists of invertebrates, insects and seeds taken from water and vegetation. Climbs in reed stems to bend them over water to pick up food.

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) by Nikhil Devasar

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) by Nikhil Devasar

The White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) is a waterbird of the rail and crake family Rallidae that is widely distributed across Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. They are dark slaty birds with a clean white face, breast and belly. They are somewhat bolder than most other rails and are often seen stepping slowly with their tail cocked upright in open marshes or even drains near busy roads. They are largely crepuscular in activity and during the breeding season, just after the first rains, make loud and repetitive croaking calls.

Adult White-breasted Waterhens have mainly dark grey upperparts and flanks, and a white face, neck and breast. The lower belly and undertail are cinnamon coloured. The body is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. They have long toes, a short tail and a yellow bill and legs. Sexes are similar but females measure slightly smaller. Immature birds are much duller versions of the adults. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.


The other reference to the Porphyrion is found in Deuteronomy 14:16 with that list of unclean birds. Again, the translations give a wide variation in which bird is meant. Swan, owl, water-hen,

The little owl and the great owl and the water-hen; (Deuteronomy 14:16 BBE)

the little owl and the great owl, the water hen (Deuteronomy 14:16 NRSVA)

and G2532 heronG2064.1 and G2532 swanG2945.2 and G2532 ibisG2395.1 (Deuteronomy 14:16 ABP+)

The little owl, the great owl, the horned owl, (Deuteronomy 14:16 AMP)

The litle Owle, the great Owle, nor the Redshanke. (Deuteronomy 14:16 Bishops)

Neither the litle owle, nor the great owle, nor the redshanke, (Deuteronomy 14:16 Geneva)

and the heron, and the swan, and the stork, (Deuteronomy 14:16 Brenton)

herodium ac cygnum, et ibin, (Deuteronomy 14:16 clVulgate) (Cygnus is the Latin word for swan, the romanized form of the ancient Greek κύκνος (kyknos) “swan”.)
the little owl, and the eared owl, and the barn owl, (Deuteronomy 14:16 LITV-TSP)

The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

(H853) The little owl,H3563 and the great owl,H3244 and the swan,H8580 (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV+)

the little H3563b owl H3563b, the N1great H3244 owl H3244, the white H8580 owl H8580, (Deuteronomy 14:16 NASB+) (This translation of H8580 amazes me. They translate it white owl yet here is what it says in H8580)

H8580 (Strong’s LXX)
From H5395; properly a hard breather, that is, the name of two unclean creatures, a lizard and a bird (both perhaps from changing color through their irascibility), probably the tree toad and the water hen: – mole, swan.


But, if you look at some of the others:

H8580 (Brown-Driver-Briggs)
BDB Definition:
1) an unclean animal of some kind
1a) an unclean bird
1a1) perhaps the ibis, water-hen, species of owl, barn owl
1b) an unclean lizard
1b1) perhaps the chameleon
1c) perhaps an extinct lizard or bird, exact meaning unknown
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H5395
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1433b


H8580 (This is a combo of many BTSCTVM+)

– Original: תּנשׁמת
– Transliteration: Tanshemeth
– Phonetic: tan-sheh’-meth
– Definition:
1. an unclean animal of some kind
a. an unclean bird
1. perhaps the ibis, water-hen, species of owl, barn owl
b. an unclean lizard
1. perhaps the chameleon
c. perhaps an extinct lizard or bird, exact meaning unknown
– Origin: from H5395
– TWOT entry: 1433b
– Part(s) of speech: Noun Feminine

– Strong’s: From H5395; properly a hard breather that is the name of two unclean creatures a lizard and a bird (both perhaps from changing color through their irascibility) probably the tree toad and the water hen: – mole swan.
Total KJV Occurrences: 3
• mole, 1

• swan, 2
Lev_11:18; Deu_14:16


Well, I don’t know about you, but I still don’t have a definite answer. Though, isn’t it enjoyable to study God’s Word. Like it was posted before, what ever bird it was is not as important as the obedience that was involved. They knew which birds they were not to eat and they were expected to obey. Today, when we read the Bible, we come across clear commands and we are expected to obey. (Bonus – I was birdwatching in Scripture)

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22 KJV)

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16 KJV)


See also:

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Water-hen

Birds of the Bible – Swans

Birds of the World – Rallidae – Rails, Crakes & Coots

List of animals in the Bible – Wikipedia

Porphyrion (Greek Mythology) – Wikipedia

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, plus the e-Sword program)


Birds of the Bible – Demoiselle Crane

Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) by Lee LPZoo 12-28-2011

Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) by Lee LPZoo 12-28-2011

“The Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo), is a species of crane that breeds in Central Asia and winters in India, with a few found in Cyprus and eastern Turkey as well. The crane annually migrates to Africa and South Asia in winter. The bird is symbolically significant in the culture of North India and Pakistan, where it is known as the koonj.

It has a loud trumpeting call, higher-pitched than the Common Crane. Like other cranes it has a dancing display, more balletic than the Common Crane, with less leaping, but with calling, bowing and head-bobbing.

Call – Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) from

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)


Demoiselle Cranes have to take one of the toughest migrations in the world. In late August through September, they gather in flocks of up to 400 individuals and prepare for their flight to their winter range. During their migratory flight south, Demoiselles fly like all cranes, with their head and neck straight forward and their feet and legs straight behind, reaching altitudes of 16,000-26,000 feet (4,875-7,925 m). Along their arduous journey they have to cross the Himalayan mountains to get to their over-wintering grounds in India, many die from fatigue, hunger and predation from birds such as eagles. Simpler, lower routes are possible, such as crossing the range via the Khyber Pass. However, their presently preferred route has been hard-wired by countless cycles of migration (placed in them by their creator). At their wintering grounds, Demoiselles have been observed flocking with Common Cranes, their combined totals reaching up to 20,000 individuals. Demoiselles maintain separate social groups within the larger flock. In March and April, they begin their long spring journey back to their northern nesting grounds.

In Khichan, Rajasthan in India, villagers feed the Cranes on their migration and these large congregations have become an annual spectacle.

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

Watch this amazing video of them crossing the Himalayan mountains by AZPanorama:


When the Lord created the Crane kind, they were programmed for future variations like this Demoiselle Crane. They act like many other birds that pretend they are injured. This helps them lead the preying bird or animal away to protect their young. The Demoiselles also are the smallest cranes.  They have shorter toes and bills than other cranes which allows them to travel on ground that is hard and dry. The shorter bills aid in their choice of food. Their survival is being provided by their Designer and Creator.

Our verses:

Isaiah 38:14

Geneva Bible Translation Notes – I was so oppressed with sorrow, that I was not able to utter my words, but only to groan and sigh.

CC Commentary – 14.) – As a crane, or a swallow. Hezekiah cannot satisfy himself in explaining the severity of his anguish. He now says that he was reduced so low that he could not utter an articulate voice, but muttered some confused sound, like persons who are almost at the point of death. Hence it is evident that his distress was excruciating; for the severity of the pain took away his voice, and his voice, he says, stuck in his throat; nothing was heard but indistinct groans.
Such is the import of these metaphors of “the crane and the swallow,” which the Prophet employs. Still it is certain that this indistinct sound of the voice is nevertheless heard by God; though all our senses are oppressed by pain, and our throat is choked by grief, still God beholds our hearts and listens to godly sighs, which will be even more powerful than plain and direct words, provided that the Spirit is present, who produces in us those “groanings that cannot be uttered,” of which Paul speaks. (Rom_8:26.) There is no believer who does not feel that in prayer, when his heart is oppressed by any heavy sorrow, he either stammers or is almost dumb.

Bible Knowledge Commentary – b. Hezekiah’s song of thanksgiving (Isa_38:9-20)
(1) Hezekiah’s statement about his condition.
After he was healed Hezekiah wrote a song to express his thanks to God. His illness came, he said, in the prime of his life. Death was referred to figuratively as having gates through which a person entered (cf. Job_38:17; Psa_9:13; Psa_107:18). His statement that in death he would not… see the Lord does not mean he had no hope of heaven. It probably means that he would no longer have the benefit of enjoying God’s blessings in this life. He would be without friends (Isa_38:11) as his house (his body) was dismantled. By death he would be cut… off like a cloth being cut from a weaver’s loom. He had hoped he would get well (Isa_38:13) but he got worse (Isa_38:13-14). His illness was as if God were a lion breaking all his bones, a figure of speech depicting his deep inner anguish. In some way his cries of pain were like the sound of a bird and his mourning like the doleful sound of a dove (cf. Isa_59:11; Nah_2:7). Hezekiah realized that this experience should humble him because God had brought on this illness.

Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) Memphis Zoo by Dan

Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) Memphis Zoo by Dan

Jeremiah 8:7

Bible Believer’s Commentary – 8:1-7 – …Unlike those who fall and rise again, who sin and repent, Judah refused to return to Jehovah. As far as the law was concerned, the people compared unfavorably with the stork, the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow, which are obedient to their appointed laws of migration.

CC Commentary – Here again Jeremiah condemns the shameful insensibility of the people, — that they had less wisdom than birds, not endued with reason and understanding. He then says, that the Jews were more foolish than cranes, swallows, and storks. He no doubt deeply wounded the feelings of the people by so severe a reproof; but it was necessary thus sharply to reprehend the despisers of God; for it appears evident by these words, that they were become exceedingly hardened in their vices. No wonder, then, that the Prophet declares that they were more silly than cranes and swallows.

Kelly Commentary – Moreover, the prophet was to remonstrate with the people of Jerusalem on their perpetual and unrepentant backsliding (Ver. 4-6), more heedless than familiar birds, great or small, which attend to their fit times, yet with all assumption of wisdom. (Ver. 7, 8.) But what wisdom is in those who reject the word of the Lord? Their covetousness and perfidious neglect of the true interests of Israel must meet with due retribution at His hands.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes – He accuses them in that they are more ignorant of God’s judgments, than these birds are of their appointed seasons to discern the cold and heat.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary – The stork in the heaven – The birds of passage know the times of their going and return, and punctually observe them; they obey the dictates of nature, but my people do not obey my law.

P.S. I have to share an incident that happened while I was teaching 4th grade in a Christian School. On a Friday, I had forgotten to write up the weekly Bible Quiz so I quickly put 5 Essay Questions on the board. We had been discussing King Hezekiah that week so one of the questions was “Tell me about King Hezekiah.” Well, while grading the papers, I almost fell out of my chair laughing. One of my students had told all about how he had been sick and that the Lord had – (here’s the verse – “Isaiah 38:8 Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.”). My student went on to say that because the sun dial went back an hour, “that is why we now have Daylight Savings time.” Oh, the pleasures of teaching!

The Crane Family, Gruidaes, has 15 species. They are one of 6 families in the Gruiformes (Cranes, Rails, Coots and allies) Order.


Birds of the Bible – Cranes

Birds of the Bible – Cranes I

Birds of the Bible – Cranes II

Gruidae – Cranes

Sharing the Gospel



Birds of the Bible – The Law Of The Birds

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) by Dan

Eurasian Collared Dove (a “clean” bird) by Dan

This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten. (Leviticus 11:46-47 NKJV)

The phrase “law of the animals and the birds” caught my eye while looking at Leviticus 11. We have written other articles on the “Clean and Unclean” birds in this chapter, but I like the way the verse is worded in the NKJV. See Clean vs Unclean and Deuteronomy 14:11-18 Visualized. In those articles the birds were named whether clean or unclean.

This “law of the birds” was given to the Israelites for instruction on which birds could be eaten and which were to be avoided as cuisine. But why were they selected and what significance does this have today for Christians? Here are some of the commentator’s remarks on this verse.

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by Derek

Long-eared Owl (an “unclean” bird) by Derek

Believer’s Bible Commentary – “In giving this law concerning clean and unclean creatures, God was teaching lessons concerning His holiness and the necessity for His people to be holy as well (vv. 44-47).
In Mark 7:18-19, the Lord Jesus declared all foods to be ceremonially clean. And Paul taught that no food should be refused if it is received with thanksgiving (1Tim_4:1-5). However, even that would not include foods that are contaminated, culturally unacceptable, or digestively disagreeable to a person.”

So we know it was to teach God’s holiness and for the people to be holy. Also stated by:

Bible Knowledge Commentary – c. Summary and theological conclusion (Lev 11:41-47)
“The whole set of food laws is summarized by the repetition of selected examples (Lev 11:41-43). As God’s people were to distinguish between clean and unclean animals, so God had distinguished between them and other nations. These food regulations were to serve as a perpetual reminder of the holiness of God and His grace in choosing Israel (Lev 11:45).”

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Lee at LPZoo

Wild Turkey (a “clean” bird) by Lee at LPZoo

The practical applications for today are given in several of the commentaries such as:

Matthew Henry’s Condensed Commentary – “These laws seem to have been intended,
1. As a test of the people’s obedience, as Adam was forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge; and to teach them self-denial, and the government of their appetites.
2. To keep the Israelites distinct from other nations. Many also of these forbidden animals were objects of superstition and idolatry to the heathen.
3. The people were taught to make distinctions between the holy and unholy in their companions and intimate connexions.
4. The law forbad, not only the eating of the unclean beasts, but the touching of them. Those who would be kept from any sin, must be careful to avoid all temptations to it, or coming near it. The exceptions are very minute, and all were designed to call forth constant care and exactness in their obedience; and to teach us to obey. Whilst we enjoy our Christian liberty, and are free from such burdensome observances, we must be careful not to abuse our liberty. For the Lord hath redeemed and called his people, that they may be holy, even as he is holy. We must come out, and be separate from the world; we must leave the company of the ungodly, and all needless connexions with those who are dead in sin; we must be zealous of good works devoted followers of God, and companions of his people.”

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

Steppe Eagle (an “unclean” bird) by Peter Ericsson

“It is God who makes the sharp distinction between the clean and the unclean. Holiness in little things is essential. This is the real test of God’s man. The acid test of any life of any of God’s people is this. God says, “I am your Lord. I am holy. Be ye holy.”
My friend, you must make the decision as to whether you are going to walk with God and for God in this contaminated world. This is the lesson for us from his chapter of the clean and the unclean.”

We are told in Scripture that the birds can teach us:

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)
Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, And makes us wiser than the birds of heaven? (Job 35:11 NKJV)

Maybe we should watch and observe things about them and also comprehend truths taught about them from the God who created them.

Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 42:6 NKJV)