Jesus And Birds – His Dedication

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

The first time, listed in the Gospels, when Jesus, in His Humanity, is near a bird, was at His dedication. According to the Jewish law, the first born son was to be dedicated at the temple. This was to take place 40 days after he was born. This was so that Mary, his earthly mother, to be purified and Jesus could be dedicated..

“Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “EVERY MALE WHO OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD” ), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” (Luke 2:22-24 NKJV)

Bible Gateway’s – MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV) note

2:22 her purification. A woman who bore a son was ceremonially unclean for 40 days (twice that if she bore a daughter—Lev. 12:2–5). After that she was to offer a yearling lamb and a dove or pigeon (Lev. 12:6). If poor, she could offer two doves or pigeons (Lev. 12:8). Mary’s offering indicates that she and Joseph were poor (v. 24). to Jerusalem. A journey of about 6 mi. from Bethlehem. to present Him to the Lord. The dedication of the firstborn son was also required by Moses’ law (v. 23, cf. Ex. 13:212–15).

At forty days old, we could assume that Jesus was not really aware of the doves or pigeons that were used for this offering. Assumptions are not always 100% correct. We are not going to delve into that discussion here. Nor will we try to assume whether other birds were near Jesus at the manger. We are just going to use what the Word says.

Common Rock Pigeon Pair ©ARKive

The reason the turtledove or pigeons were used, was because of the finances of his mother and Joseph, his step-father.

2:24 turtledoves. See Leviticus 12:8. Joseph, despite his royal lineage, was only a young carpenter, too poor to bring a lamb for his offering.” (Defender’s Bible)

“The fact that they offered two pigeons instead of a lamb and a pigeon is an indication that Joseph and Mary were not wealthy. Levitical law required a woman, after the birth of a son, to purify herself for 40 days before going to the temple to offer a sacrifice for her purification. The law stated that she was to offer a lamb and a dove, but if she could not afford these, she could offer two pigeons or doves” (Leviticus 12:2–8). (Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes)

As we journey on with Jesus and Birds, He will be telling about them by way of parables and others means. Stay tuned!


For notes and helps, I am using several resources beside God’s Word, the Bible. I use Bible Gateway as a source for many different Bible versions and study helps. Many are free, but a paid option is also available. [That is what I use – $3.99 month)

I also have many different Bibles I own and use, of which my favorite is the Defender’s Bible by Henry Morris. (older version) This can also be used online at Defender’s Bible from I.C.R.

Jesus and Birds – Introduction

Birds of the Bible

Birds and Jesus – Kids and younger reader version

Strange Kiwis from Creation Moments

North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) ©Smithsonian Natl Zoo

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” Colossians 1:16

As a youngster, I remember once hearing that the England cricket team was getting ready to play a series of matches (a test series) against the Kiwis. Now, I had seen a kiwi in a zoo, so I was puzzled as to how this small, chicken-sized bird could play a ball game against grown men. Of course, in that context, the word kiwi was being used as a demonym for New Zealand people. This is because the five extant species of kiwi all live in New Zealand.

What a remarkable creature the kiwi is! At first sight, it appears to have no wings. Its tiny wings are so short, that they do not appear through the plumage. The kiwi has a long beak – except that it doesn’t, by official beak measurements! Birds’ beaks are usually measured from the nostrils to the tip, and the kiwi’s nostrils are, unusually, near the tip instead of being near the head, as with most birds. Although the kiwi is the size of a chicken, its eggs are six times as big as a chicken’s! In fact, the kiwi’s egg is the largest, in proportion to body size, of any bird in the world.

Why does the kiwi have so many odd behaviors? We cannot know for sure – maybe it had something to do with living in a place that had no mammals. But it looks like it was designed to behave exactly the way that it does by the God who made everything so well.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the wide variety of Your creation. Thank You that the world around us truly displays Your creative power. Amen. 

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref:  Flightless Birds, accessed 2/28/2019. Image: Public Domain.

© 2020 Creation Moments All rights reserved.


The article mentioned that there are five Kiwi species. Here are photos of them:

Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis) ©WikiC

Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis)

North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) ©Smithsonian Natl Zoo

North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli)

Okarito Kiwi (Apteryx rowi) Chick ©West_Coast_Wildlife_Centre

Okarito Kiwi (Apteryx rowi)

Little Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii) ©Flickr Jim the Photo

Little Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii)

Great Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx haastii) by Jeff©©

Great Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx haastii)

To find out more, see:

Apterygidae – Kiwis

Sunday Inspiration – Ostrich, Rhea, Cassowary, Emu & Kiwi

Birds That Can’t Fly – Creation Moments

Birds Are Wonderful: J, K, and L !

 

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Greater Rhea

Back to South America this time for a flightless Ratite, the Greater Rhea (Birdway: Greater Rhea), a species I was very keen to photograph. Later we’ll consider the other southern continents in the context of the eclectic collection of species that make up the other (mostly) flightless Ratites such as the Ostrich and the Emu.

greater_rhea_203433_pp.jpg
The Greater Rhea, the largest and most widespread of the three Rhea species in South America, wasn’t numerous in the Pantanal and seemed to be confined mainly to the drier parts of the northern part. However, they weren’t hard to see and we usually saw them in pairs. They were much bigger than I’d expected, like smallish Emus. I’d seen a photo long ago of Rheas running through the pampas of Argentine at speed and appearing, I though then, closer to the size of bustards. Greater Rheas are 127-140cm/50-58in in length and weight 20-25kg/44-55lb, compared with Emus at 150-190cm and 30-55kg, and Australian Bustards at 90-120cm and 3-8kg.
greater_rhea_203432_pp.jpg
Considering they’re not closely related, I was surprised at how like Emus they looked, though with more delicate features and larger fluffier feathers, more like feather boas than the shaggy, old sheep fleece look of Emus (see the fourth photo). The Greater Rhea is quite widespread through central South America east of the Andes with a range comprising Brazil south of the Amazon Basin, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and a big chunk of northern and eastern Argentina.
greater_rhea_202081_pp.jpg
There are two or three species of Rhea. In southern Argentina and neighbouring areas of eastern Chile, the Greater Rhea is replaced by the Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata) 90-100cm and 15-25kg. Maybe the photo that I had seen long ago was, on second thoughts, of members of this species. The third candidate, the Puna Rhea (Rhea pennata tarapacensis or Rhea tarapacensis), is similar to the Lesser Rhea, also 90-100cm and 15-25kg, perhaps conspecific. It replaces the Lesser and Greater Rheas in northwestern Argentina, northeastern Chile, southwestern Bolivia and a small area of southeastern Peru. Both the Lesser and Puna Rheas have brown feathers on the back with white edges which give them an attractive scalloped appearance.
emu_151698_pp.jpg
Back in Australia, the Emu (Birdway: Emu) has a widespread distribution through mainly on the mainland. Only the mainland race survives, other forms, usually now considered races rather than full species, having been hunted to extinction since European settlement in Tasmania, King and Kangaroos Island. The mainland race has been successfully introduced to both Kangaroo Island and Maria Island off the east coast of Tasmania.
emu_158127_pp.jpg
Australia and New Guinea have three species of the rather different but related and also flightless Cassowary, with the Southern Cassowary (Birdway: Southern Cassowary) being the only one occurring in Australia.The Cassowary photo shows a watchful father taking his confident child for a walk along the beach as a change from the usual habitat of tropical rainforest in northern and northeastern Queensland. Interestingly in most species of Ratite, the males alone incubate the eggs and take care of the young, with the only exceptions being the Ostriches and some species of Kiwi, where the sexes share parental duties.
southern_cassowary_155630_pp.jpg
The largest surviving Ratites are the Ostriches, Common and Somali, widespread throughout Africa and formerly also in Arabia, Syria and Iraq. The larger males can reach 2.75m/9ft in length and a hefty 156kg/344lb in weight. Common Ostriches are bred widely for their meat and plumage, and feral populations exist in South Australia and beyond their original range in southern Africa.
common_ostrich_165277_pp.jpg
Early theories of the evolution of these fairly similar species is that they evolved from a small flying ancestor on Gondwanaland that survived the Cretacious-Paleogene mass extinction about 66 million years ago and took advantage of the space left by the extinction of herbivorous dinosaurs by becoming large and flightless before the evolution of large mammalian predators. Parrots, incidentally, share a similar mainly southern distribution and appear to have originated in Gondwanaland, though their subsequent radiation through continental drift was naturally aided by being able to fly.
common_ostrich_s6114_pp.jpg
Needless to say, the story is more complicated than that. Extinct giant members of the group included the Elephant bird of Madagascar and the Moas of New Zealand and there are early ratite-like fossils from the Northern Hemisphere. Existing members include the fowl-like Tinamous of Central and South America which can fly, if reluctantly. The name Ratite comes from the Latin ratis, meaning raft, referring to the flat, keel-less sternum of the flightless species but Tinamous have a keeled sternum. They were formerly excluded from the Ratites but recent genetic studies have confirmed their membership. A better skeletal feature is the unusual, perhaps primitive, palate shared by all of them, which gives the name Palaeognathae, or paleognaths meaning ‘old jaw’ in Greek to distinguish them from the other clade the Neognathae, ‘new jaw’, comprising all other extant species of birds.
paleognath_cladogram.png
This “cladogram” shows the current understanding of the evolution of the Palaeognathae. The apparent close relationship between the Tinamous of South America and the Moas of New Zealand and the Kiwis of New Zealand and the Elephant birds of Madagascar is truly a biogeographers worst nightmare, worse than the unresolved mystery of the related flightless Kagu of New Caledonia (Birdway: Kagu) and the Sunbittern of South America (Birdway: Sunbittern), which we’ve considered before (Bird of the Moment #591). Other complications are the two- rather than three-toed feet of Ostriches and the dagger-like inside toe of Cassowaries.
One solution is to propose that flightlessness evolved in parallel perhaps five times in different parts of the world as this is easier to contemplate that the independent re-development of flight in Tinamous from a flightless ancestor. Loss of flight has occurred fairly readily in other groups such as the Dodo and flightless rails, particularly on islands without mammalian predators. Fossils of early flying paleognaths in North America and flightless ratites in Europe and the lack of early fossils in the southern hemisphere support a Laurian rather than Gondwanaland origin of the group. This would be similar to the Marsupials which reached Gondwanaland and thence Australia via South America leaving the American Marsupials such as the Opossums in their wake.
So, I’ll leave it with you. If you wish to pursue it, I suggest you study these excellent Wikipedia articles: Palaeognathae and Ratites, from which I got much of information here including the cladogram. I like the idea of unsolved mysteries offered by the natural world to put the all-seeing and all-knowing Homo sapiens in its place, maybe a subtle Gaia’s revenge.
Greetings
Ian


Ian Montgomery,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au

Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

I enclosed all of Ian’s newsletter, BUT!! As my readers know, this blog is written from a Christian Perspective, and we include articles about birds from various authors. I am a Creationist and do not believe in evolution.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 NKJV)
“Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:20-23 NKJV)
So, these Ratites most likely developed along the lines that Ian described, which is why I am posting this. Yet, I disagree with the timeline. Most likely the flood greatly affected those first members of the families.
“Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.” (Genesis 8:15-19 NKJV)
Let the Word speak for itself, and realize that these birds did branch out as described, but minus the lengthy timeline. Ian did a great job of explaining all of the very interesting ratites.

World Bird Names Changes Version 10.1

Erckel’s Francolin (Pternistis erckelii) Now – Erckel’s Spurfowl ©WikiC

The I.O.C. updated their World Bird List to the 10.1 version and here are some of those changes. First are the Name changes:

One of the big English name updates seems to be the Francolins changing to Spurfowls.
PREVIOUS IOC LISTS SCIENTIFIC NAME – New IOC LIST V10.1
Mount Cameroon Francolin Pternistis camerunensis Now – Mount Cameroon Spurfowl
Handsome Francolin Pternistis nobilis Now – Handsome Spurfowl
Swierstra’s Francolin Pternistis swierstrai Now – Swierstra’s Spurfowl
Erckel’s Francolin Pternistis erckelii Now – Erckel’s Spurfowl
Djibouti Francolin Pternistis ochropectus Now – Djibouti Spurfowl
Chestnut-naped Francolin Pternistis castaneicollis Now – Chestnut-naped Spurfowl
Black-fronted Francolin Pternistis atrifrons Now – Black-fronted Spurfowl
Jackson’s Francolin Pternistis jacksoni Now – Jackson’s Spurfowl
Scaly Francolin Pternistis squamatus Now – Scaly Spurfowl
Ahanta Francolin Pternistis ahantensis Now – Ahanta Spurfowl
Grey-striped Francolin Pternistis griseostriatus Now – Grey-striped Spurfowl
Hildebrandt’s Francolin Pternistis hildebrandti Now – Hildebrandt’s Spurfowl
Heuglin’s Francolin Pternistis icterorhynchus Now – Heuglin’s Spurfowl
Double-spurred Francolin Pternistis bicalcaratus Now – Double-spurred Spurfowl
Harwood’s Francolin Pternistis harwoodi Now – Harwood’s Spurfowl
Clapperton’s Francolin Pternistis clappertoni Now – Clapperton’s Spurfowl

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Now – Eurasian Whimbrel

Another change is with Melidectes becoming Honeyeaters.
Sooty Melidectes Melidectes fuscus Now – Sooty Honeyeater
Long-bearded Melidectes Melidectes princeps Now – Long-bearded Honeyeater
Short-bearded Melidectes Melidectes nouhuysi Now – Short-bearded Honeyeater
Gilliard’s Melidectes Melidectes whitemanensis Now – Gilliard’s Honeyeater

The rest of these changes:
Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera Now – Himalayan Prinia
Brown Prinia Prinia polychroa Now – Deignan’s Prinia
Red-winged Warbler Prinia erythroptera Now – Red-winged Prinia
Red-fronted Warbler Prinia rufifrons Now – Red-fronted Prinia
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica Now – Western Black-eared Wheatear


The group here are the  New Species that were added. The birds that have ADD AFTER were subspecies that were raised to species levels. The ADD NEW were new splits from the bird listed. There is one DELETE

ENGLISH NAME  SCIENTIFIC NAME CHANGE  CODE  LIST AFTER SPECIES

Hudsonian Whimbrel Numenius hudsonicus ADD AFTER (Eurasian) Whimbrel
West African Crested Tern Thalasseus albididorsalis – Split from Royal Tern, T. maximus. – ADD AFTER Lesser Crested Tern
Sunda Owlet Glaucidium sylvaticum – Split from Collared Owlet – ADD AFTER Collared Owlet
Maghreb Owl Strix mauritanica  – Split from and ADD AFTER Tawny Owl
Butterfly Coquette Lophornis verreauxii ADD AFTER Festive Coquette
Alor Myzomela Myzomela prawiradilagae ADD NEW  After Crimson-hooded Myzomela
Cryptic Honeyeater Microptilotis imitatrix ADD AFTER Graceful Honeyeater
Spectacled Flowerpecker Dicaeum dayakorum ADD NEW Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker
Swinhoe’s Prinia Prinia striata ADD AFTER Himalayan [Striated] Prinia
Burmese Prinia Prinia cooki ADD AFTER Deignan’s [Brown] Prinia
Annam Prinia Prinia rocki ADD AFTER Burmese Prinia
Numfor Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis ADD AFTER Island Leaf Warbler
Biak Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus misoriensis ADD AFTER Numfor Leaf Warbler
Deignan’s Babbler Stachyridopsis rodolphei  DELETE
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe melanoleuca ADD AFTER [Western] Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica) ©WikiC


There is one more set of changes which I’ll cover in a later post. These are enough for you to have to change your picture names, if you do that. I’ve tried to do that over the years, but have missed a few here and there. :)

There are now:

  • 10,770 extant species and 158 extinct species of birds of the world (Version 10.1), with subspecies (20,005) and annotations.
  • Classification of 40 Orders, 250 Families, 2322 Genera

Thankfully, the Lord never changes:

“But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such things are with Him.
(Job 23:13-14 NKJV)

These were from the last IOC Update – Version 9.2

Who Paints The Leaves?

Anniversary Number 12

Hooded Merganser Diving Duck, Georgia, by William Wise

Here we go again with another anniversary of the blog. Around February 13th or so, was the 12 anniversary of Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus. During this year, we hit the two million visitor mark. Wow!

Eastern Phoebe on Beautyberry

Eastern Phoebe on Beautyberry 12-19-19

Looking at all the articles written about the 11th anniversary, I’ll let this one be simple. I just reread all the comments and encouragement that you sent last year. Those were and are again so appreciated. Now, the blog has slowed down some, but we are still blogging. Because of health and our new house, most of my birding adventures seem to be out my back door. I love the avian visitors!

This year, William Wise has joined us with some very interesting articles and photos. Welcome Aboard, William!! Dr. Jim has continued to contribute articles, which are always enjoyable. Ian Montgomery is still sending posts, and Emma Forster continues to enlighten us with her stories. Me, I’ve written less, but we are still at it.

Raven in Pumpkin by Linda Marcille

The Lord is always faithful and keeps us interested in His Creation.

Stay tuned to see what this new year of blogging will discover about our Avian Wonders from the Lord.

(9)  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
(10)  And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
(11)  but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
(12)  For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:9-12 NKJV)

Bird’s With Faces Like Garfield’s Face

Frogmouth Olan Mills-like-pose

Garfield is having a bit of a time getting his face in order this morning.

Garfield’s Face

So, just thought you might want to see a few birds with a face that could give Garfield Competition!

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, And we are glad.” (Psalms 126:2-3 NKJV)

Vulture-turkey.Texas Hill Country

Secretarybird look straight at the lens – ©Pinterest – Rudi Luyten

Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) ©Wiki

Nazca Booby (Sula granti) by Ian

Nazca Booby (Sula granti) Portrait ©WikiC

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) Calling for partner ©WikiC

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) ©WikiC

Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) ©WikiC

Wattled Curassow (Crax globulosa) ©WikiC

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) ©Flickr Justin

Philippine Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus philippensis) ©Flickr Billy Lopue

Owl Winking ©Flickr Darren D

Bornean Frogmouth (Batrachostomus mixtus) juv ©©RichardWellis

Bornean Frogmouth (Batrachostomus mixtus) juv ©©RichardWellis

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) with young ©Jullan Iondono

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) with young ©Jullan Iondono

 

I think you get the idea. God made them all, and us. We are all different, yet the Lord loves us.

“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21 NKJV)

See Garfield’s Face & Bird’s Faces A different version of this.

Good News

Dabbler or Diver

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.” (The Message)

The Hooded Merganser ducks have finally arrived for the winter on the small pond behind my office in Georgia. Not only are they so unlike our resident Mallards in appearance, sporting that black-and-white retractable crest, but they differ greatly in habit and action. That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

When not cutting across the water for a free handout of bread, our trio of “green head” Mallards stay along the edges of the pond, searching the shallows for aquatic vegetation and larvae. They are the dabblers. But the Mergansers! Those “hoodies” swim out to the middle of the pond and SPLASH!!!… they disappear, diving down to the depths. They are the divers. They go deep for those delectable bottom dwellers!

When it comes to the Christian life, dabbling along the edges might be just enough to keep you alive until the next church service. But oh how much richer, how much more rewarding, to dive to the depths of sanctification and sacrifice. C.S. Lewis wrote, “This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea and there neither dive nor swim, but only to dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.

One observer of ducks wrote, “Dabbling ducks have the condition known as ‘duck butt.’ You look at them in the water and sometimes see no face, just a duck rear end sticking straight up in the air.” And over the last twenty-six years of my salvation, I’ve observed that the church visitors or new converts that remain on the edge – only occasionally seeing their faces and merely dabbling in dedication – they usually migrate away at their season’s end, never to return. But the diver! The diver that abandons all to explore the depths of prayer, discipleship, ministry, giving, evangelism, and the call of God, they repeatedly come with mouths full and to spare for others!

If you’ve been dabbling on the edges in your commitment to serve Christ and to serve in your local church, row out to the middle, step out of the boat, and dive in. I assure you, the water’s great! That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that uses nature writing and photography to glorify our Creator and teach the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

See more post from William Wise

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Spangled Drongo

For the New Year we had the hopeful Wise Owls. Well 2020 is less than three weeks old and it’s been a bumpy ride already in various parts of the world such as Australia and Iran. So the current bird of the moment is the Australian (Spangled) Drongo. Anyone familiar with Australian slang will know that Drongo is used in Australian English as a mild form of insult meaning “idiot” or “stupid fellow” (“stupid eejit” in Irish English). Very unfair to the birds you might think – Drongos are far from stupid – but in fact it is derived from an eponymous racehorse in the 1920s that never won a single race out of the 37 in which it ran. I’ll finish this post by nominating my human New Year Drongo.
spangled_drongo_60617_pp.jpg
We’ll start with the birds. The Drongo family (Dicruridae Birdway) consist of single genus with 26 species in Africa south of the Sahara, tropical and sub-tropical Asia and Australasia. The Spangled Drongo is the only one occurring in Australia and its range includes New Guinea and the Moluccas of eastern Indonesia. In Australia it occurs mainly in coastal tropical and sub-tropical regions from the Kimberley in Western Australia, through the Top End of the Northern Territory to Queensland and eastern NSW. It is summer visitor in the southeastern Australia as far as Victoria and eastern South Australia, but breeds mainly north of 31ºS (Port Macquarie, NSW).
It is a fairly typical Drongo species, 30cm/12in long, with black plumage, an evil-looking red eye, a predatory beak, and a forked tail. Exceptions to the black plumage rule are the Ashy (Birdway) and White-bellied Drongo. The forked tail is mainly used for acrobatic flight – like Kites – in pursuit of aerial prey. Sex, of course, intervenes, and some species have evolved decorative tails for display such as the Racquet- and Ribbon-tailed ones.
spangled_drongo_07079_pp.jpg
The “Spangled” refers to highly reflective pale spots on the breast but, rather like sparkling hummingbirds, are visible only when the light is at the right angle (e.g first photo) so birds often appear just black (second photo) with a greenish or bluish iridescence. Juvenile birds (third photo) have white patches on the breast and on the vent. This one is quite young and has a short tail and a “what am I supposed to do now?” expression.
spangled_drongo_106315_pp.jpg
They’re loud and assertive birds, perching on prominent sites on the lookout for large insects which they pursue with great agility. From a birdwatcher’s point of view, they have a dark side appropriate to their appearance, and will feed on nestlings, like the unfortunate one in the fourth photo. There are a couple in my garden that regularly visit the birdbath and, although I admire their survival skills, I have mixed feelings about them.
spangled_drongo_01542_pp.jpg
Their assertiveness extends to breeding and they’ll readily place their nests in obvious places such as this one on the separation bar of powerlines in a suburban street.  This one is grandly called Park Lane between Bayswater Road and Oxford Street in West End, a Townsville suburb named, I assume, using the London version of the Monopoly board. (I was brought up on the Dublin version and the equivalent of Park Lane was, I think, Shrewsbury Road at the dark blue most expensive end. The nest-building skills of Drongos are impressive.
spangled_drongo_200050_pp.jpg
Anyway, enough about mere birds. My Drongo nomination reflects my frustration with the Australian Government’s refusal to do anything of substance about climate change not just in Madrid, but especially in the light – or heat – of the catastrophic bushfires in Australia. For once it seems that the media have not over-dramatised the situation, if anything they have failed to communicate adequately the true horror of what is happening. My award goes to Government back-bencher Craig Kelly for this extraordinary interview on Good Morning Britain on British TV. If you haven’t already watched it, please do; if it weren’t so serious it would be funny.
To end on a more positive note, after the Australian election last May, I made a moral rather than economic decision to install solar panels, on the basis that if the Government wasn’t going to do anything then it was up to individuals. The bushfires spurred me into action and I have just signed a contract for installation of a 6.6Kw system. It seemed pity to have a suitable, naked roof going to waste in one of the hottest and sunniest parts of Australia. This is what it’s supposed to look like, good Spangled Drongo habitat.
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The projections are that the system will generate 11MWh of electricity annually, replacing the equivalent of 3.4 tonnes of coal (allowing for the averages percentages of electricity generated by coal and natural gas in Australia, 73% and 13% respectively) which in turn is equivalent to saving the emission of between 9 and 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s nearly half the average per capital Australian annual emissions, an embarrassing 22-25 tonnes, so I should have done it ages ago.
Meanwhile, under that roof I’ve been steadily add photos of new species from the South American trip, more than 120 to date and you find links to most of them here: Birdway Additions. I’ve finished adding new bird species and am adding photos to ones that I’ve photographed elsewhere and other wildlife such as mammals: Birdway Wildlife. Needless to say the Jaguar is the star of the Mammalian show and I like this one of a female having a drink.
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I had a lovely New Year greeting from a recipient in Taiwan, and he, Li-Yi Chen, readily agree to my request to share it with you so here is a reduced version of it.
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You did of course recognise it immediately as a Black-faced Spoonbill, a rare species that winters in Taiwan. It’s the only one of the six species of Spoonbill (Birdway) that I haven’t photographed and he’s offered to show me them there so I’ve put Taiwan on my bucket list.
Enjoy the Drongo Photos and feel free to nominate your own New Year Drongo.
Ian

Lee’s Addition:

Ian seems quite concerned about several things, especially those fires down there in Australia. They brought many Koalas to Zoo Miami here in Florida.
We know that these fires and other disasters are terrible, but we also know that the Lord is in control and our world will continue.
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22 KJV)
See more of Ian’s Articles
Also visit his site at Birdway

Kingfishers And Kookaburras – From Creation Moments

Genesis 1:20

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”

I remember watching a kingfisher, sitting on the branch of a tree, overlooking the pool beneath one of the waterfalls in Neath Valley in the heart of Wales. Its eyes were transfixed on the movements in the pool below. It was watching and waiting, and it had incredible patience. Then, it flew, diving down into the water, and emerging with a fish in its beak, back to the branch where it had previously been perched. It proceeded to beat the fish against the branch. Then it flew off to I know not where, along with its meal!

White-collared Kingfisher by Dan's Pix

White-collared Kingfisher by Dan’s Pix

This common kingfisher was distinctive – blue upperparts and orange underparts, along with its characteristic long bill. And it was doing what we expect kingfishers to do – catch fish! But not all kingfishers live on fish. One of the largest kingfishers – the kookaburra – lives in Australia and doesn’t tend to eat fish, preferring to eat mice and small reptiles, and even the young of other birds. The most well-known feature of the kookaburra is its characteristic laughing call.

Laughing Kookabura Brevard Zoo

Laughing Kookaburra and Dan at Brevard Zoo by Lee

There are over a hundred species of kingfisher, many of which have bright plumage and are among the most beautiful birds that you will see. So how many kingfishers would God have brought to Noah to take on the Ark, considering there are so many species? The answer is just two. One pair of kingfishers, into which God had placed genetic information for a wide variety of adaptations.

Prayer: Thank You again, Lord, for the beauty of Your creation, and the wisdom and variety that You put into it. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Encylopaedia Britannica, < https://www.britannica.com/animal/kingfisher-bird >, accessed 1/29/2019. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

Kingfishers and Kookaburras Creation Moments Article

I Love those Kingfishers and Kookaburras. (Lee)

More Creation Moments articles:

Interesting Things

What is the Gospel?

From The Deepest Wilderness, To The Most Crowded Cities

From the deepest wilderness, to the most crowded cities

The great thing about enjoying birds is that you can experience that joy just about anywhere you go! Even if we’re shut indoors at a meeting or conference, we can simply pick the seat next to the window and find our avian friends.

In his chapter in the book Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White, author and birder Noah Strycker wrote, “The beauty of birds is that they are everywhere, from the deepest wilderness to the most crowded inner cities.”

I usually find the Hermit Thrush in one of the more deeply wooded areas of my regular birding routes. Walton County, GA. November 2018 by William Wise.

And the great thing about being a Christian is that we can engage with our Creator anywhere we are! Whether we are admiring His handiwork on a nature hike, lifting up His name in organized worship, or slipping into a closet during a stressful day at work to call upon His name, our God is ever-present.

In the book of Psalms, David wrote, “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.” Psalm 139:8-10

Mourning Dove on roof top, Athens, Georgia USA

Just like the birds, “from the deepest wilderness, to the most crowded cities”, our God is there!

William Wise Photo Nature Notes is a wildlife, birding and nature photography blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Peeking For Knowledge

Sharing this from my Birds of the Bible for Kids blog.

Now that you students have returned to school after the holidays, it’s time for more articles.

I said "no" Peeking - by Poplively

To be able to learn, we need to “peek” in our books and listen to our teachers so we can gain knowledge. Don’t be afraid to read and study.

“I applied my heart to know, To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, To know the wickedness of folly, Even of foolishness and madness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25 NKJV)

In all your studying, don’t forget to “peek” into your Bible.

A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:5-7 NKJV)

Photo used:

I said “no” Peeking – by Poplively, Peek by Poplively

ABC’s of the Gospel

True From The Beginning

Forster’s Tern; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA by WilliamWisePhotography

TRUE FROM THE BEGINNING

by William Wise

Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning…”  

January 1 is an exciting day for us birders. Our year list begins again and the hunt is on to list even those common visitors that often only get a passing glance as the year wears on. The checklist is blank and all the birds are “new”. And with the start of the New Year, many Christians begin another yearly reading plan. The Bible reading checkboxes are empty and race is on!

And where does that Bible reading plan typically start? At the beginning, with “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” With evolutionary theory now firmly programmed into our society, I often wonder Christians’ reactions when they open to the first chapter of the Bible. Do you believe these words?

As Christians that believe in the accuracy and inerrancy of the Word of God, we must, I repeat, we must make an uncompromising stand that in the beginning, God created the universe in six days. The evolutionary bombardment is not only an attack on the doctrine of origin, but an attack on the entire Bible and every doctrine contained therein. If the first sentence is false, why go on with the rest of the book?

Bible Genesis 1 In the beginning by WilliamWisePhotography

Bible Genesis 1 “In the beginning”

In this New Year, let us commit to a fresh, solid stance on the truth of creation; a doctrine so important that God placed it first in the Bible! We must hold an unwavering commitment that “His word is true from the beginning.” For if the first sentence of the Bible is incorrect, what does that mean for every sentence after that?

William Wise Photo Nature Notes is a wildlife, birding and nature photography blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message

Photos by William Wise taken – December 23, 2019 – A flock of Forster`s Terns on Hilton Head Island Beach, South Carolina. Sterna forsteri breeds inland in North America and winters south to the Caribbean and northern Central America.

Lee’s Addition:

This is a few days past the new year, but this year is still new. Also, this message is appropriate for the whole year. I failed to see William’s email post sooner.

Good News