Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 3/12/17

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Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) -Viera Wetlands by Dan

UPON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK

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Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:2 KJV)

Osprey Eating – Viera Wetlands by Dan

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More Daily Devotionals

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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida II

Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida,

from Chaplain Bob’s Backyard: Part 2

 by James J. S. Johnson

Moscovy Duck

Muscovy ducklings in the rain   (photo credit: J Pat Carter / AP)

For He [i.e., God] maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof, which the clouds do drop and distil [literally, pour down and drop down] upon man abundantly.  (Job 36:27-28)

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

[photo above: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02298/ducklings_2298053k.jpg ]

A pond is not a pond unless it has standing [“lentic”] water, — yet a pond will eventually dry up (and thus cease to be a “pond”) if cloud-dumped rains fail to refill its standing waters!  (The same is true of running [“lotic”] waters – see 1st Kings 17:7.)  Why?  Because rain-provided water is always escaping ponds by evaporation.  (That’s why swimming pool owners must continually add more water to their pools.)

Accordingly, every pond needs rain (or snow that melts into rain-like liquid water), sooner or later, to be a pond!  Obviously, steady rainfall impedes birdwatching, so ideal birdwatching is done when it is not raining.  Even so, all bird-watchers should appreciate the rains that God sends, from time to time!  In fact, rain is a major part of God’s program for how our world and its diverse lifeforms function:  birds need rain, other animals need rain, people need rain, plants need rain, even microörganisms needs rain, — and all of that water is continually recycled throughout the earth!  In fact, Earth itself is mostly water!

As the prophet Isaiah noted [above]—and as every Gideon knows — God’s providentially sustained hydrologic cycle is comparable to how, all over the world, God carefully manages and orchestrates the specific influence and productivity of His written Word.  For more Scriptures relevant to Earth’s water cycle, see also Deuteronomy 8:7 & 32:2; Job 26:8; Ecclesiastes 1:7 & 11:3; Amos 5:8 & 9:6; Psalm 19:1-2 (noting that solar heat affects the sky) & 65:9-10 & 72:6 & 104:10-18 & 135:7; Isaiah 30:23; Jeremiah 10:13 & 14:22 & 51:16; Zechariah 10:1; — and especially Luke 12:54.

This birding report follows “Part 1” of this mini-series.   As noted in Part 1, I happily observed the busy birds at the pond that borders the backyard of Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel (of St. Petersburg, Florida) on the morning of February 9th (AD2015), a Monday, when we saw 14 birds and heard (but did not see) a mourning dove.  As noted before, those birds were busy  —  quacking, splashing, swimming, perching on shoreline tree branches, dabbling, diving, and with several of them sporadically flying here and there.

Already, 5 of those lacustrine birds were described in Part 1 (Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, Mallard, Double-Crested Cormorant, and Black Vulture).  This Part 2 will feature 5 more:  Wood Stork, Lesser Scaup, Osprey, Snowy Egret, and Common Moorhen.  (Hopefully, the remaining 5 birds will be mentioned in an anticipated “Part 3” of this series.)

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) By Dan'sPix

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) By Dan’sPix

WOOD STORK   (Mycteria americana).

The Wood Stork (in some places nicknamed “Flinthead”, and f/k/a “wood ibis”) is a huge, long-legged wading bird, built somewhat like a large egret, heron, ibis, or spoonbill.  This bird is tall!  — with adults growing from 3 to almost 4 feet high!  The Wood Stork sports a long, flexible, blackish-grey, featherless neck.  Its ibis-like head is likewise featherless and not likely to be called beautiful (except by its mother).  Its powerful and prodigious bill is stout and slightly curved, well-fitted for probing in mud or muddy water, and for gobbling up fish, frogs, snakes, bugs, and worms located in wetland mud.  Storks sometimes eat small birds, small mammals, and even baby alligators!  The feathers of the Wood Stork are mostly white, except for the tail-feathers and black edge of its wings, which trail behind when the stork is flying.  Its feet are noticeably reddish in color.

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) sitting by Dan

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) sitting by Dan

The Wood Stork is typically mute (i.e., no vocal calls), communicating in other ways, such as by “bill-clattering”.  Being very large – and therefore heavy — birds, Wood Storks try to conserve their food-provided energy when flying.  Like other heavy birds (e.g., eagles, vultures, hawks), storks locate and “ride” thermal air currents, soaring and gliding when they can.  A true wetland bird, the Wood Stork is comfortable in a variety of wet habitats (such as ponds, marshy pastures, and swampy woodlands).  Storks construct huge nests for their families, typically as part of a stork colony (which may include literally thousands of stork pairs), often adding size to them year after year – some being built to about 6 feet in diameter and about 10 feet in depth!  Usually storks are monogamous (i.e., a male and female stay paired till one dies) although, for reasons not understood, sometimes pairs can get separated during a migration.  The dependability of the stork, in its migratory movements, is reflected in its Hebrew name (chasidah) which means “faithful” — see Jeremiah 8:7, explained in “A Lesson from the Stork” (posted at  http://www.icr.org/article/lesson-from-stork ).  Although they often migrate – spending summer in the southeastern states, these storks are known to reside in Florida (and parts of Georgia) year-round.  (See range map in Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [Little, Brown & Co., 1996], page 47, — as well as National Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Birds – Eastern Region [Alfred A, Knopf, 1994 revised edition], co-authored by John Bull & John Farrand, Jr., at page 379-380.)

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) by Ray

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) by Ray

LESSER  SCAUP   (a/k/a “LITTLE BLUEBILL”:  Aythya affinis).

The Lesser Scaup looks a lot like the Greater Scaup, but there are two ways to distinguish these look-almost-alike ducks:  (1) different shapes of their respective heads and bills; and (2) different winter ranges of territory where they live.  Donald and Lillian Stokes note the following traits:  “Head and bill shapes are most useful characteristics distinguishing [the Lesser Scaup] from the Greater Scaup … [on the] Lesser Scaup the head comes to a peak at the top or near the back [of the head]; [the Lesser Scaup] bill is slightly shorter and narrower [than that of the Greater Scaup].”  (Quoting Stokes & Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], page 75.)  Regarding the respective ranges of scaups, the typical winter range territories of the Lesser Scaup includes the East Coast, Gulf Coast, West Coast, and non-mountainous regions of states (including most of Texas) that include the greater Mississippi River Valley’s tributary drainage basin.

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) by Ray

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) by Ray

The Greater Scaup, however, has a winter range that usually includes only the northern portions of the West Coast and East Coast, plus regions near the Great Lakes.  (Compare the sparser ranges indicated in Stokes & Stokes, Eastern Region, at page 75, with the range maps in Roger Tory Peterson, A Field Guide to the Birds Eastern Birds:  A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America, abbreviated as “Eastern Birds” [Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin, 1980], at maps M43 & M44, with field notes at pages 58 & 72.)   In other words, if it’s a scaup on a Florida pond, it’s probably a Lesser Scaup!  The male of this duck has an easy-to recognize color pattern:  its bill is pale blue, its head, breast, and tail are dark-blackish; its flanks are white, and its back is mottled grey. In bright sunlight the male’s head has a purplish iridescence.   The female is mostly dark grey-brownish and black, with a noticeable white patch-like spots on both sides of her dark bill. (As with ducks generally, the easiest way to spot a female Lesser Scaup is to watch for a dark duck that pairs with a male Lesser Scaup!)   These ducks are divers – they dive into pond-water to catch and consume submergent plant seeds, insects, snails, and small crustaceans.  These duck are seen on ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshlands (including “prairie potholes” and estuarial saltmarshes).  Lesser Scaups, like ducks generally, are social creatures – sometimes they aggregate in hundreds or even thousands!  In many places, due to the availability of needed resources – which may be indicted by the size of a lake or pond, less than a hundred (maybe only a dozen) will group together.   Bird-books sometimes allege irresponsible and irrational opinions about how scaups supposedly “evolved” (e.g., Bull & Farrand, Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 403), without any forensic evidence for such science fiction. The real truth is that all Lesser Scaups (like all other ducks) ultimately descend from ducks that disembarked Noah’s Ark, about 4500 years ago, which Flood survivors were themselves s directly descended form ducks that God made on Day #5 of Creation Week (see Genesis 1:21).

Osprey at Circle B by Lee

Osprey at Circle B by Lee

OSPREY    (a/k/a “FISH HAWK”:  Pandion haiaetus).

The Osprey is rightly nicknamed the “fish hawk” – they love to catch and eat fish! And, to the delight of bird-watchers, ospreys are not afraid to display their fish-eating lifestyle to nearby humans. Donald and Lillian Stokes make this interesting observation about osprey behavior:  “Among our birds of prey the osprey is one of the most amenable to living near humans.  Its main requirements are open water [such as a Florida pond!] where it can hunt for fish and a platform or strong tree where it can build its nest.  Ospreys have occasionally built nests [or use habitual perching sites] right next to homes [such as a large tree in the Webels’ backyard, bordering the pond], in parking lots, and in public parks.  Although they do not prefer being near humans [especially busy humans who move around a lot, causing distraction], they do seem to tolerate human presence, an ability that is a big asset for the survival of any species.” (Quoting “Osprey”, by Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, in Bird Behavior, Volume III (Little, Brown & Co., 1989), page 159.]  The Osprey has a range that includes river systems in America’s Great West (e.g., Wyoming’s Snake River), a well as coastlines on the West Coast, Gulf Coast, and East Coast.  (See Stokes & Stokes, Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 94.)  This “fish hawk” is relatively slender, for a hawk, but obviously stouter than a falcon.

Osprey Catching Fish - Viera Wetlands

Osprey Catching Fish – Viera Wetlands by Dan

The Osprey is long-winged, white underneath (except the outer feathers of its wings, and its tail, which are brown), with a mottled brown pattern above; its head is mostly white, with a dark side-streak that passes “through” each eye and on the side of the hawk’s face.  The talons of this fish-grabber are opened for prey, when the Osprey dives into water, tightly clutching any fish it succeeds in seizing after it splashes into the water.  Sometimes a dead Osprey is seen hanging onto a riverine fish.  How did that happen?  Occasionally a strong fish flees when attacked by an Osprey, diving deeper with the Osprey still attached, as the desperate fish tries to avoid its avian pursuer.  If the Osprey’s talons are embedded in the diving fish’s flesh, the fish may cause the Osprey to die by drowning, if the Osprey cannot shake loose its talons in time to escape.   (Fishing always has its hazards, as any fisherman knows!) If the Osprey is successful, it quickly re-surfaces and flies off with its fish, adjusting its hold on the fish so that the fish’s face is pointed forward – for safe eating.  Ospreys are sloppy eaters.  If Ospreys eat chunks of their catch while perched in tree branches that spread over where you are sitting, watch out!  Fish scraps may fall on your head – or something worse (!) might drop onto your head.  Therefore, a wide beach umbrella (like one that Bob and Marcia Webel have, and use in their backyard, while bird-watching) is a good “shield” to have when Ospreys are eating above you.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Notice Yellow Feet by Lee at Circle B

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Notice Yellow Feet by Lee at Circle B

SNOWY  EGRET   (Egretta thula).

This beautiful white-feathered egret looks like a small version of the Great Egret (a/k/a Great White Egret), except it has its trademark “golden slippers” – i.e., its long skinny black legs end with feet that are conspicuously bright-yellow (unlike the black feet of a Great White Egret).  Also, the slender Snowy Egret has a thin black bill, in contrast to the thicker golden-yellow bill of the stouter  Great White Egret.   (See Roger Tory Peterson, Eastern Birds [noted above, in entry on the Lesser Scaup], pages 102-103 & map M93 & M444.)   Sometimes the Snowy Egret’s feathers, at the back of its head, “hang loose” (i.e., these feathers won’t lay down close to the bird’s head/neck), looking somewhat like a comb-over that won’t “sit down”).   Its feet stir up opportunities to find food:  “When feeding [it] rushes about, shuffling [its] feet to stir up food.”  (Quoting Peterson, Eastern Birds, at page 102.)

Snowy Egret Circle B 8-3-12 by Lee

Snowy Egret Circle B by Lee

Like other egrets, the Snowy Egret habituates the marshy edges of lakes and ponds, as well as other marshy areas, eating fish and almost anything else it can grab with its bill. The summer range of this elegant egret is broad – it can be found at and near many lakes, ponds, estuarial marshlands, and even wet pasturelands throughout America’s lower 48 states.  During winter it can be found all over Florida , as well as all along the Gulf Coast, along the East Coast as far north as North Carolina, plus parts of California (See Stokes & Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds –  Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 35.)  notwithstanding taxonomic “splitting”, this is basically the same bird that Europeans call the “Little Egret” (Egretta garzetta), which winters in northern Africa.  (See, accord, Chris Kightley, Steve Madge, & Dave Nurney, Pocket Guide to Birds of Britain and North-West Europe [British Trust for Ornithology/Yale University Press, 1998], page 19.)

CommonMoorhen (Gallinula chloropus) by Reinier Munguia

CommonMoorhen (Gallinula chloropus) by Reinier Munguia

Candy-Corn

Candy-Corn

FLORIDA  GALLINULE   (a/k/a “COMMON MOORHEN” & “COMMON GALLINULE”:   Gallinula chloropus).

This gallinule (i.e., chicken-sized marsh-fowl) is almost all black, with a characteristic and conspicuous yellow-tipped scarlet-red bill.  (Actually the scarlet part of the bill can fade to a less vibrant reddish hue during winter.)  Due to the specific color pattern and shape of this gallinule’s bill, ornithologist Lee Dusing aptly calls this the “candy corn” bird.  (Some of us remember “candy corn” as a trick-or-treat candy.)  This waterfowl makes a variety of noises, including chicken-like clucking noises (befitting its nickname “moorhen”).  The Florida Gallinule is quite similar to the American Coot (which, though a similarly shaped black gallinule, is distinguishable by its all-white bill) and the Purple Gallinule (which is distinguishable due to its male’s iridescent peacock-blue, indigo, and slightly purplish breast and neck feathers, and its glossy green back feathers).  The long “fingers” (i.e., toes) on their feet enable this gallinule to spread out their modest body weight so that they can “walk” on lily pads and similar vegetation that floats in marshy lentic waters.  This gallinule (or “moorhen”) habituates lakes, ponds, and marshy wet places, often near cattails, summering in states east of and within the Mississippi River Valley, plus a few coastal place on the West Coast.  (See Stokes & Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], page 139; Bull & Farrand, Eastern Region [noted above, in entry on the Wood Stork], at page 459.)  Its diet includes marshy vegetation (especially seeds), snails, land bugs, and water bugs.  This rail-like bird is entertaining to watch, routinely bobs its head while swimming across a pond.  Like coots they confidently swim in open-water contexts where they are easily observable to appreciative bird-watchers (like me).

Wow!  That’s another 5 of the 15 birds that the Webels and I observed, that morning, from the Webels’ pond-side backyard.   Stay tuned!  God willing, the remaining 5 birds will be given their proper recognition, at this excellent bird-site!

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On the morning of February 9th, AD2015, from the pond-side backyard of Bob & Marcia Webel (while enjoying breakfast and Christian fellowship with the Webels), I saw 14 birds:  Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, Mallard, Double-Crested Cormorant, and Black Vulture  –  as reported previously – plus Wood Stork, Lesser Scaup, Osprey, Snowy Egret, White Ibis, Common Tern, and Florida Gallinule,   — as reported above  —  as well as Muscovy Duck, Great Egret, White Ibis, and Common Tern, plus the cooing of a nearby Mourning Dove was clearly recognizable.  It is hoped (God willing) that one more report will supplement this one, so the remaining 5 birds will be properly recognized for their lacustrine appearances on that Monday morning.

James J. S. Johnson loves duck ponds, having formerly taught Environmental Limnology and Water Quality Monitoring for Dallas Christian College, as well as other courses on ecology and ornithology.  The hydrologic cycle Scriptures (quoted at the beginning of this bird-watching report) are especially appreciated by Jim, as a Certified Water Quality Monitor, certified by and serving the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, providing reports on Furneaux Creek to the Trinity River Authority of Texas.  Like us all, birds need clean water!  Accordingly, backyard pond habitats are for bird-watching!

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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida I

Other Articles by James J. S. Johnson

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Circle B After Recent Rains

On Wednesday morning, July 16th, we decided to go out to Circle B Bar Reserve and see how the water levels were doing. We have had quite a bit of rain recently and figured that it had to be better than last time. It was quite dry then.

We were not disappointed. The marsh actually looked like a marsh for a change. There weren’t too many birds, but then again this time of the year most are up north.

Removing the huge fallen Oak tree at Circle B

Removing the huge fallen Oak tree at Circle B

If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. (Ecclesiastes 11:3-5 NKJV)

We were greeted at the parking lot by a crew working on a huge oak tree that had fallen. They were removing it. Sure glad no cars had been parked there at the time it came down.

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) With Fish

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) With Fish

We managed to see quite a few Ospreys, one eating a huge fish up in a tree. There were at least five Tricolored Herons, one of them a juvenile, a Snowy Egret, two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, some Common Gallinules, an Anhinga and lots of Black and Turkey Vultures circling overhead.

 

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Juvenile Circle B by Lee

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Juvenile Circle B by Lee

It was hot, humid, and it began to sprinkle, so we left after about 50 minutes or so. None the less, it is always enjoyable to get out and enjoy the Lord’s creations. I am also thankful that the Lord gave the rain recently to fill up the marsh again and water to drink. We had cool water in the car and did it ever “hit the spot.”

Here are some of my photos and videos that I took.

How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. (Daniel 4:3 KJV)

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Birds Vol 2 #2 – The American Osprey

The American Osprey for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897 From col. F. M. Woodruff

The American Osprey for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

THE AMERICAN OSPREY.

Here is the picture of a remarkable bird. We know him better by the name Fish Hawk. He looks much like the Eagle in July “Birds.” The Osprey has no use for Mr. Eagle though.

You know the Bald Eagle or Sea Eagle is very fond of fish. Well, he is not a very good fisherman and from his lofty perch he watches for the Fish Hawk or Osprey. Do you ask why? Well, when he sees a Fish Hawk with his prey, he is sure to chase him and take it from him. It is for this reason that Ospreys dislike the Bald Eagle.

Their food is fish, which as a rule they catch alive.

It must be interesting to watch the Osprey at his fishing. He wings his way slowly over the water, keeping a watch for fish as they appear near the surface.

When he sees one that suits him, he hovers a moment, and then, closing his wings, falls upon the fish.

Sometimes he strikes it with such force that he disappears in the water for a moment. Soon we see him rise from the water with the prey in his claws.

He then flies to some tall tree and if he has not been discovered by his enemy, the Eagle, can have a good meal for his hard work.

Look at his claws; then think of them striking a fish as they must when he plunges from on high.

A gentleman tells of an Osprey that fastened his claws in a fish that was too large for him.

The fish drew him under and nothing more was seen of Mr. Osprey. The same gentleman tells of a fish weighing six pounds that fell from the claws of a Fish Hawk that became frightened by an Eagle.

The Osprey builds his nest much like the Bald Eagle. It is usually found in a tall tree and out of reach.

Like the Eagle, he uses the same nest each year, adding to it. Sometimes it measures five feet high and three feet across. One nest that was found, contained enough sticks, cornstalks, weeds, moss, and the like, to fill a cart, and made a load for a horse to draw. Like the Crows and Blackbirds they prefer to live together in numbers. Over three hundred nests have been found in the trees on a small island.

One thing I want you to remember about the Osprey. They usually remain mated for life.


Osprey Catching Fish - Viera Wetlands

Osprey Catching Fish – Viera Wetlands by Dan

THE AMERICAN OSPREY.

N interesting bird, “Winged Fisher,” as he has been happily called, is seen in places suited to his habits, throughout temperate North America, particularly about islands and along the seacoast. At Shelter Island, New York, they are exceedingly variable in the choice of a nesting place. On Gardiner’s Island they all build in trees at a distance varying from ten to seventy-five feet from the ground; on Plum Island, where large numbers of them nest, many place their nests on the ground, some being built up to a height of four or five feet while others are simply a few sticks arranged in a circle, and the eggs laid on the bare sand. On Shelter Island they build on the chimneys of houses, and a pair had a nest on the cross-bar of a telegraph pole. Another pair had a nest on a large rock. These were made of coarse sticks and sea weed, anything handy, such as bones, old shoes, straw, etc. A curious nest was found some years ago on the coast of New Jersey. It contained three eggs, and securely imbedded in the loose material of the Osprey’s nest was a nest of the Purple Grackle, containing five eggs, while at the bottom of the Hawk’s nest was a thick, rotten limb, in which was a Tree Swallow’s nest of seven eggs.

In the spring and early autumn this familiar eagle-like bird can be seen hovering over creek, river, and sound. It is recognized by its popular name of Fish-Hawk. Following a school of fish, it dashes from a considerable height to seize its prey with its stout claws. If the fish is small it is at once swallowed, if it is large, (and the Osprey will occasionally secure shad, blue fish, bass, etc., weighing five or six pounds,) the fish is carried to a convenient bluff or tree and torn to bits. The Bald Eagle often robs him of the fish by seizing it, or startling him so that he looses his hold.

The Osprey when fishing makes one of the most breezy, spirited pictures connected with the feeding habits of any of our birds, as often there is a splashing and a struggle under water when the fish grasped is too large or the great talons of the bird gets entangled. He is sometimes carried under and drowned, and large fish have been washed ashore with these birds fastened to them by the claws.

Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright says: “I found an Osprey’s nest in a crooked oak on Wakeman’s Island in late April, 1893. As I could not get close to the nest (the island is between a network of small creeks, and the flood tides covered the marshes,) I at first thought it was a monstrous crow’s nest, but on returning the second week in May I saw a pair of Osprey coming and going to and fro from the nest. I hoped the birds might return another season, as the nest looked as if it might have been used for two or three years, and was as lop-sided as a poorly made haystack. The great August storm of the same year broke the tree, and the nest fell, making quite a heap upon the ground. Among the debris were sticks of various sizes, dried reeds, two bits of bamboo fishing rod, seaweeds, some old blue mosquito netting, and some rags of fish net, also about half a bushel of salt hay in various stages of decomposition, and malodorous dirt galore.”

It is well-known that Ospreys, if not disturbed, will continue indefinitely to heap rubbish upon their nests till their bulk is very great. Like the Owls they can reverse the rear toe.


Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

Lee’s Addition:

And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, (Leviticus 11:13 KJV)

We have the privilege of seeing Ospreys all the time. On a daily basis we spot them on their platforms that have been put up for them in this area. If they don’t place them there, then you find their nest in trees with bare branches that they can anchor the nest and have a good place to watch for fish.

Ospreys are in the Pandionidae – Ospreys Family and they are one of the Birds of the Bible.
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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

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

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Sora Rail

The Previous Article – Old Abe

The Gospel Presentation

Links:

Birds of the Bible – Osprey
Birds of the Bible – Osprey II
Birds of the Bible – Osprey III
Birds of the Bible – Ospreys in the Storm
Nave’s Topical Bible – Osprey

Osprey – WhatBird.com
Osprey – Wikipedia

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Birds of the Bible – Ospreys in the Storm

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) ©©Mike Bowler

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) ©©Mike Bowler

Yesterday we had very heavy rain and wind. We were under Tornado Warnings most of the day. In the afternoon, it turned very bad as a tornado was being tracked just south of our house. Our flagpole went down as well as the concrete sign at the entrance to our community. There were plenty of trees and branches strewn around and planes tossed around at the Fun n Sun festival in Lakeland, Florida.

We went down to Bartow this afternoon and took the Old Bartow road, that I have renamed, the “Osprey Road.” There are many Osprey nest in the power lines down through there and also the electric companies have placed platforms for the Osprey to raise their babies.

One of the main food source for the Osprey is fish. We have had several very cold snaps these last two winters and many of the fish were killed off. Without a good source of food to raise their young, the numbers of Osprey have decreased in this area.

Osprey Road by Dan - (Old Bartow Road)

Osprey Road by Dan – (Old Bartow Road) 2007

This year we had already seen fewer Osprey’s raising their young. Now many of those nests were destroyed or left bedraggled by the storm yesterday. What a shame. Then again, had there been lots of active nest, there would have been more killed or injured birds.

We are reminded through Scripture that:

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (Matthew 10:29 KJV)

They were not Sparrows, but I know that promise applied to them also. God, the Father, knows all about what happened to them. He is not so busy that He doesn’t take notice of such things. That is why that passage is so special, because, it goes on to say:

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:31-32 KJV)

Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

Another thing about Ospreys as well as the other birds is that they were commanded to “multiply and fill the earth.” What I haven’t mentioned is that on the way down and back we saw four different sets of birds mating. I imagine that they lost their young and are busy planning the next clutch of birds to raise. Birds have emotions, and I am sure they feel the loss, but they have picked themselves back up and have begun repairing nests and starting new families.

May we be reminded that the Lord knows all about the things that happen to us. Sometimes the events aren’t so much “fun.” How do we handle situations when this happens. Do we keep our eyes on the Lord and trust Him to see us through it, or do we blame Him and become angry and miserable?
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Ospreys are in the Pandionidae Family of the Accipitriformes Order. There is an Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) and a Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus).

See also:

Birds of the Bible – Osprey
Birds of the Bible – Osprey II
Birds of the Bible – Osprey III

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Birds of the Bible – Osprey III

But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, (Deuteronomy 14:12 KJV)
“But these are the ones which you shall not eat: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, (Deuteronomy 14:12 NASB)

Osprey Family by Phillip Simmons

Osprey Family by Phillip Simmons

I decided to revisit the Osprey because they have been actively nesting in the area the last few months and also have some new photos to share. The photo to the right is neat in that both are working to feed the little ones. They usually mate for life. Normally the male does the fishing while the female guards the nest. The Ospreys were greatly endangered with DDT, but they are making a great recovery. For the first “Birds of the Bible – Osprey,” CLICK HERE

While preparing (with e-Sword) the above verse, I again reminded that not all the translations use “osprey or ospray”. Some use “vulture” (ESV, NASB, NKJV & others) and Darby uses “sea-eagle.” This was investigated in “Birds of the Bible – Osprey II.”

The research that is being done with the DNA of birds is changing the classification of several birds. The Osprey is being affected by these changes also. They were with the New World Vultures and now that is being rethought.

There are four subspecies of Osprey (Pandionidae):

Eastern Osprey Stamp-Australia

Eastern Osprey Stamp-Australia

Australia and New Guinea have an Pandion cristatus – Eastern Osprey  (non-migratory) They even have stamps with their photos. The smallest subspecies.

North America – halietus carolinensis (migratory)

Eurasia – P.h. haliaetus

P.h. ridgwayi in the Caribbean; “Caribbean subspecies Pandion haliaetus ridgwayi. Known for their very pale head and breast plumage.”

“Poole (1994) points to an interesting fact: despite its long history, Osprey has not evolved into different species.” I can believe that.

The typical lifespan is 20-25 years.

See the Osprey Page for more links, plus photos and videos. Osprey Photos

Osprey Ridgwayi from Rutland Ospreys
Osprey Ridgwayi from Rutland Ospreys

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Eastern Osprey by Birdway

Eastern Osprey by Birdway

Birds of the Bible – Osprey II

Osprey by Anthony

Osprey by Anthony

The Osprey or Ospray (depending on which version of Bible) listed in Leviticus 11:13 or Deuteronomy 14:12, gives an interesting challenge. According to my e-Sword Bible Program, an Osprey or ospray is listed in the ASV, BBE, Bishops, CEV, Geneva, JPS, KJV,  MKJV, RV, WEB, Webster, and YLT versions. Yet, the Darby calls it a sea-eagle. The ESV, GW, LITV, MSG, NASB, and the NKJV versions call it a type of Vulture. I am not sure why the different versions do that, but most of them call it the Osprey or sea-eagle which is another name used for it. The WhatBird article had this to say about it, “The Osprey, Pandion haliaetus–whose species name is derived from the Greek ‘hals’ (salt or sea) and ‘aetos,’ or eagle–is the only bird of prey that feeds exclusively on live fish.”
Smith’s Bible Dictionary says, “Osprey. The Hebrew word occurs in, Lev_11:13 and Deu_14:12, as the name of some unclean bird. It’s probably either the osprey, (Pandion haliaetus), or the white-tailed eagle, (Haliaetus albicella).”
Faussett Bible Dictionary says, “Ospray

Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

ozniah (Lev_11:13; Deu_14:12). The sea eagle or fish hawk, Pandion haliaetus, the Septuagint. Or the short-toed eagle that feeds upon reptiles. The ossifrage (peres, means “the bone-breaker,” the lamergeyer, Gypaetus (eagle and vulture combined) barbatus, “the bearded vulture.” “Ospray” is a corruption of “ossifrage.” It flies in easy curving lines, and then pounces perpendicularly with unerring aim on a fish.”
International Standard BibleEncyclopedia says, “Ospray
os´prā́ (עזניּה, ‛oznīyāh; ἁλιάετος, haliáetos; Latin Pandion haliaetus): A large hawk preferring a diet of fish. The word is found in the list of abominations only. See Lev_11:13; Deu_14:12. The osprey was quite similar in appearance to some of the smaller eagles, and by some it is thought that the short-toed eagle is intended. But the eagle and the gier-eagle had been specified, and on account of the osprey plunging into water for food and having feet bare to the lower leg-joint and plumage of brighter and more distinctive marking, it seems very probable that it was recognized as a distinctive species, and so named separately. Moreover, the osprey was not numerous as were other hawks and eagles. It was a bird that lived almost wholly on fish, and these were not plentiful in the waters of Palestine. This would tend to make it a marked bird, so no doubt the translation is correct as it stands, as any hawk that lived on fish would have been barred as an article of diet (see Tristram, Natural History of the Bible, 182; also Studers, Birds of North America, p. 16).”
Webster says, Ospray
“OS’PRAY, n. [L. ossifraga; as, a bone, and frango, to break; the bone-breaker.]
The sea-eagle, a fowl of the genus Falco or hawk, of the size of a peacock. This is our fish hawk. It feeds on fish which it takes by suddenly darting upon them, when near the surface of the water.”

White-tailed Eagle in Flight - Wikipedia

White-tailed Eagle in Flight – Wikipedia

One thing most of them seem to be in agreement about, is that the bird is a fish eater. The Osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish and God has created them with specialized feet and behaviors to assist them in their search for food. One of their biggest problems is the thievery of their catch by Bald Eagles. Dan and I have had the privilege twice to witness this event. Once years ago in Punta Gorda, Florida and just last month here in Winter Haven. Needless to say, the Osprey gets very upset, but both times, they lost. Do you think the Eagle knows the truth of Ephesians 4:28? (Replace hands with feet). Let’s make sure we don’t copy this improper behavior of the Eagle.

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Eph 4:28 NKJV)

Original blog about the Osprey was Birds of the Bible – Osprey

See the Osprey Page for more information on the Osprey including Photos and Videos.

For more sources of information about Ospreys see:
Osprey – WhatBird.com
Osprey – Wikipedia
Osprey – BirdLife Species Factsheet
USGS – Osprey
Osprey Videos from the Internet Bird Connection

Birds Of The Bible – Osprey

Osprey Eating Lunch in Titusville 2

Osprey Eating Lunch in Titusville 2

And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,
(Lev 11:13 KJV)
But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,
(Deu 14:12 KJV)

The Osprey is another bird on the “Do Not Eat” list. Here in central Florida, we see Ospreys quite frequently. Their nest are usually noticeable on platforms placed for them. On a road between Eagle Lake and Bartow, (which I have renamed “Osprey Road”) there is a nest in the V structure of almost every power distribution pole. There are at least 15-20 nests in about a mile or so. The Ospreys will show up after the first of the year and stay for about 4 months while they breed and raise their young.

Osprey Eating Lunch in Titusville

Osprey Eating Lunch in Titusville

Osprey Catching Fish - Viera Wetlands

Osprey Catching Fish – Viera Wetlands

The Osprey is in a family by itself. They widely distributed around the world. They are closely related to the Hawk and the Falcon. They are 21-24 inches long with a wingspan of 54-72 inches. The females are slightly larger and both look alike. Their diet is almost entirely fish, but they do eat small rodents and birds. When fishing, they fly 30 to 100 feet above the water and will hover when they find a fish. They will plunge into the water with their feet under them to catch the fish. “Rises from water with fish gripped in both feet, pauses in midair to shake water from plumage, and to arrange fish with head pointed forward, which reduces its resistance to air, flies with it to” perch or nest to feed young. Can carry up to four or more pounds.

Osprey Eating - Viera Wetlands

Osprey Eating – Viera Wetlands

God has designed the Osprey with several interesting features. Their feet have four equal length toes with “long, strong claws, curved about one third of a circle, and completely round.” “The lower surface, or pads, of the toes are covered with spicules, which help it hold slippery fishes; also, it is the only hawk that has outer toe reversible as in owls; this enables it to grasp it prey with two toes in front, tow in back. Its plumage is compact, which helps blunt its impact and reduces wetting when it plunges in the water.”

All quotes from (The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds) and photos by Dan.


See the Osprey Page for more information on the Osprey including Photos and Videos.