Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 6/22/16

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Pigeon on Keyboard ©©

Pigeon on Keyboard ©©

ALL KINDS OF MUSIC

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“that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up;” (Daniel 3:5 NKJV)

Pigeon on Keyboard ©©Playing on YouTube

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More Daily Devotionals

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The Long Christmas Journey

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Oleg Sidorenko

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Oleg Sidorenko

The Long Christmas Journey

~ by Emma Foster

Once there were two birds who lived in Portland, Oregon. Their names were Belinda and Steven and they were pigeons (a.k.a. Rock Doves).

Belinda and Steven lived on top of a stop-and-go light in the middle of a busy street where they had built their nest. They loved the city life so they didn’t mind all of the cars driving by, especially when they honked. They also didn’t mind all of the headlights that lit up the streets at night. Every day, Steven would fly through the city to search for food. And every day lots of cars would drive by.

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Edward Townend

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Edward Townend

As December drew near, it started to get colder. Eventually, snow started to fall. The more snow fell, the colder it became.

Belinda and Steven decided it was time for them to fly down south for the winter. They would spend Christmas down there just as they did every year. They both liked spending Christmas down where it was warm.

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Andrey

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Andrey

They started flying early the next morning because it was going to be a long journey to fly down south. As Belinda and Steven travelled, they were careful to not fly too high when they flew through the mountains because the tops of the mountains were cold and snowy. They flew past many mountains because Belinda and Steven were flying through the Rocky Mountains.

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Ingrid Taylar

Eventually, after several hours, Belinda and Steven reached Death Valley. It was nice and warm there. But Death Valley was a little too warm for them. Fortunately there was a group of road runners that gave them directions to Arizona. Belinda and Steven were already in eastern California so it wasn’t that long of a flight to get there.

Belinda and Steven were able to fly to Arizona and made it there by Christmas Eve. It was nice and warm and the desert was filled with cactuses. Belinda and Steven decorated a cactus with some Christmas decorations they had brought with them so the cactus looked festive.

Together, Belinda and Steven had a wonderful Christmas, and they didn’t even mind that it would still be a long trip back to Oregon. They would have to come back to Arizona next year.

The End

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Ken Slade

Rock Dove (Columba livia) ©Flickr Ken Slade


Lee’s Addition:

Storks, doves, swallows, and thrushes all know when it’s time to fly away for the winter and when to come back. But you, my people, don’t know what I demand. (Jeremiah 8:7 CEV)

Thanks, Emma, for telling us about your migrating Pigeon friends, Belinda and Steven. Smart birds for escaping the winter cold up there in the Northwest.

Keep up the great stories. We are all enjoying them and you a gaining quite a fan club. We are looking forward to more stories through this New Year. Happy New Year.

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See more of Emma Foster’s Stories

ABC’s of the Gospel

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Bird of the Week – New Zealand Pigeon

New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) by Ian

Bird of the Week – New Zealand Pigeon ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 12/24/13

Well, Christmas is nearly on us and I’ve put up the ‘icicle’ Christmas lights beside the almost too-warm pool (29ºC), so I thought a bird photo including some real Southern Hemisphere snow would be correspondingly inappropriate. This proved difficult as I usually avoid the snow and the best candidate, the Kea of New Zealand was bird of the week two years ago even though the snow was incidental to the story about Keas’ passion for dismantling motor vehicles.

So I settled for this one of New Zealand Pigeon. The three-pronged smudge above its head is snow, believe it or not, and it’s actually the isolated three-pointed star visible above and to the right of the main tree in the second photo – taken at about the same time and place in the spectacular surroundings of Milford Sound in the Fiordland of the south west of the South Island.

New Zealand - Milford Sound by IanI was there one evening to book a place on an early cruise the next morning to search for fiordland penguins, and having done so went for a stroll and encountered various local inhabitants including Paradise Shelduck, New Zealand Pigeons and, near the car park, a Weka. the third photo shows the same pigeon on the same branch from a better angle and you can see the beautiful purple and green iridescence of the plumage contrasting with the snow-white belly. With a length to 50cm/20in and a weight up to 800g/28oz, these are large birds, as big or bigger than Imperial-Pigeons, Wompoo Fruit-Doves and Eurasian Wood Pigeons.

New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) by Ian

They’re very confiding, and this one and its mate, sitting on another branch in the same tree, just watched me as I walked around them taking photos from different angles. They look plump and gastronomically appealing, so it’s not surprising that the population declined after human settlement until protection was granted in 1921. The Norfolk Island sub-species wasn’t so lucky: it was still around in the 1830s but there have been no records since 1900.

New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) by Ian

The following morning dawned bright and sunny, last photo, and a very obliging cruise-boat captain found me a pair of nesting Fiordland Penguins within 10 minutes of leaving the jetty and took us almost alarming close so that I could get some photos: http://www.birdway.com.au/spheniscidae/fjordland_penguin/index.htm.

New Zealand - Milford Sound by Ian

Now there’s some real snow on the mountains on the left. I wish you a safe and peaceful Christmas and an enjoyable and enriching 2014.
Ian

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


Lee’s Addition:

Thanks, Ian, and Merry Christmas to you. I like the clean line between the green and the white on its breast. (Could have used it for the birds series.)

It appears that Ian gets around quite a bit lately. Since he started helping with that book, his search for certain birds has intensified. All for our benefit. We get to enjoy his great photographs of some very neat species.

I trust you enjoy reading his newsletters about his birdwatching adventures as well as I enjoy them. To see all of his articles here:

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Doves and Pigeon Photos – Columbidae Family

New Zealand Pigeon – NZ Birds Online

New Zealand Pigeon – ARKive

New Zealand Pigeon – Wikipedia

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Flock Bronzewing

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 1

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 1

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Flock Bronzewing ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 6/30/13

This photo of a Flock Bronzewing featured as bird of the week in June 2006. This male was one of several flocks that we saw flying across the Flinders Highway near Julia Creek late one afternoon as we were heading west towards Mount Isa and the birds, presumably, were doing their evening ritual of visiting waterholes. He obligingly decided that a pool near the road was good enough for him and landed quite close to us. This was my first, and until recently only, encounter with this enigmatic, rarely seen, nomadic pigeon of central Australia.

In 2008, this photo was published in the book 100 Birds to See Before You Die by Chandler and Couzens,, where the Flock Bronzewing featured as No 50 in the global list (No. 1 was the Ivory-billed Woodpecker). The book was one of many of this kind written after the success of the 2007 movie The Bucket List (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc3mkG21ob4), the title referring to the list of things one wants to do before one ‘kicks the bucket’.

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 2

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 2

On the recent trip along the Birdsville Track, I was approaching Bedourie, the last town before Birdsville driving south from Mount Isa via Boulia, when I saw a small flock of brown birds flying swiftly near the airstrip. Their size, colour and habitat made me think, incorrectly, Australian Pratincole. A little while later, I stopped to watch two much larger flocks merge into one of about 300 individuals and start flying around the two dams near Bedourie ‘Outback’ Golf Course when I realised that the were Flock Bronzewings.

I gather that an outback golf course has natural sand bunkers – Bedourie is on the edge of the Simpson Desert – and, instead of greens, oil scrapes which make ‘a great putting surface’.The dams incidentally are called Lakes Larry and Simpson ‘after their creator’, so presumably are, unlike the bunkers, not natural.

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 3

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 3

The flock, containing flew close enough to me get a reasonable shot in the evening sunlight: photos 3 and 4 are details from the same photo. Photo number 3 has two adult males with their characteristic black and white faces, while the third bird is a female or juvenile. The field guides indicate that the facial pattern of the has varying amount of black, and the juveniles are yet paler and photo number 4 shows 3 males and two other birds, one of which has only very faint markings. The scientific name histrionica refers to the harlequin pattern on the head, though histrionicus is the Latin for ‘theatrical’. (The Harlequin Duck of North America is Histrionicus histrionicus.)

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 4

Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) by Ian 4

Flock Bronzewings feed in the vast and sparse grasslands of the arid interior and have a history of being seen in huge numbers with 100,000 being recorded in 1931 at one waterhole and 50,000 in one flock in 1972. More recently, such large flock have not been recorded and this gave rise to concerns that the species was in steep decline. If that was the case, this decline seems to have ended, though it has been suggested that the lack of very large flocks is due to the provision of more sources of water on grazing properties. Either way, it is the case that the Flock Bronzewing is an all or nothing bird: you either see many (very rarely), or none (usually).

Does one do things on a bucket list twice or is that considered excessive? I don’t know, but I’m going to use it as an excuse for making it bird of the week a second time.

Best wishes
Ian

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


Lee’s Addition:

Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:30 NKJV)

What an interesting Pigeon. Their heads are so fascinating. Plus, they do favor the Harlequin Duck’s coloration and markings. If I had a “bucket list” and there was some bird I really enjoyed seeing, I wouldn’t have any problems revisiting that bird again.

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) ©WikiC

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) ©WikiC

The Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica), also known as the Flock Pigeon, Harlequin Bronzewing and the Harlequin Pigeon is a species of pigeon in the Columbidae family. It is endemic to drier parts of Australia. The Flock Bronzewing is the most nomadic of the Australian pigeons, and it is difficult to mistake for other Australian species. Fully-grown Flock Bronzewings can range in length from 280–305 mm with a wingspan of 189 – 216 mm. Its weight can range from 260 – 320 grams.

More than any other Australian species of pigeon, the Flock Bronzewing is adapted to the arid plains of the continent. The preferred habitat is open grassland plains, clumped grasses and small shrubs with open spaces. A major area for this type of habitat where the Flock Bronzewings are present is within the grass plains of the Barkly Tablelands.

The main source of food is the seeds of grasses, herbs and shrubs, whilst occasionally browsing on green shoots. With the introduction of cattle into the interior of Australia, the Flock Bronzewing has adapted to eating the undigested seeds from cattle dung. Some species of seed eaten include the Desert Spurge, Camel Bush, Yellow Daisy and River Grass.

The breeding season is variable and relies heavily on the availability of food. In the south of its range, they tend to breed from spring to early summer and in the north, breeding occurs from early to the middle of the dry season. The nest is a scrape in the ground, which is lined with grass and twigs, usually between the shelter of clumps of grass or shrubs. Two white eggs are incubated for 16 days, with the young capable of leaving the nest after a week. (Wikipedia with editing)

See:

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Pigeons and Their Pecking Order

Hill Pigeon (Columba rupestris) by Nikhil Devasar

Hill Pigeon (Columba rupestris) by Nikhil Devasar

The April 7th issue of NatureNews has an interesting article called, “Airborne pigeons obey the pecking order.” According to the studies they did on flying pigeons that were strapped with tiny GPSs, they change directions by responding to the leaders, not just any member of the flock.

“”It is the first study demonstrating hierarchical decision-making in a group of free-flying birds,” says Tamás Vicsek, a biophysicist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest who led the study…”

Another interesting thing they found out was, “Although pigeons have an almost 340º field of view, the researchers found that the birds at the front of a flock tended to make the navigational decisions. Moreover, birds responded more readily to a leader’s movements if the leader was on their left side. These findings concur with previous work that indicated that social cues entering a bird’s left eye receive preferential processing in the brain2.”

The article is very interesting and worth reading. Of course, I don’t agree with the last sentence of the article because they give the credit to evolution. We believe that the Lord created the pigeons with this ability from the first day they were created.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28 KJV)

Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Isa 60:8

Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom… (Job 39:26a) God was asking Job about the hawk, but it could be any bird including the pigeon.

To read the complete article – Click Here

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Doves and Pigeon Pages Updated

Wompoo Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) by Ian

Wompoo Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) by Ian

Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. (Psalms 68:13 KJV)

I have been working away updating the Doves and Pigeon pages. Since the Dove and the Pigeon are Birds of the Bible and we recently did an article about their eyes and voice, “Birds of the Bible – Dove’s Eyes and Voice,” figured it was time to update those pages. Please check the following links for information on the Doves and Pigeons:
The main Doves and Pigeons page

Dove and Pigeon Photos

Dove and Pigeon Videos

Columbidae Family page

I am not finished as there are 321 Pigeons and Doves in the family and it will take quite awhile to round up photos for them. Stay posted as more photos are added. I am very thankful for all the photographers and videographers who have given their permission to use their photographs.

Birds of the Bible – Pigeon

In Genesis 15, Abram was told in a vision:

(1)  After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”…
(5)  Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”  (6)  And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.  (7)  Then He said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”
(8)  And he said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”
(9)  So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”  (10)  Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two….
(12)  Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him….  (17)  And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.
(18)  On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates  (19)  the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites,  (20)  the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,  (21)  the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

The next time a pigeon is mentioned is after the birth of a child, a woman was to bring a sin offering.

‘When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. (Leviticus 12:6 NKJV)

In North America we have four pigeons that are in the Order Columbifomes, which contains 300 plus species. This includes pigeons, doves, and turtle-doves plus others. The size of the bird helps distinguish between “doves” and “pigeons”, with the “pigeon” being the largest. Our Pigeons are the:

The Rock Pigeon (previously the Rock Dove), “Male, 12.2–13.4 in (31–34 cm), 6.3–12.5 oz (180–355 g). Plumage generally bluish gray with relatively short tail and long, strong wings.” “The rock pigeon has a rather fast and long step. It is a skillful flyer. Flight velocities of 115 mph (185 kph) have been recorded.”  “Carrier pigeons deserve special mention. Pigeons have been used to send communications since earliest times. In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Djoser (2600–2550 B.C.) released house pigeons at the borders of his empire to mail the news that enemies were attacking the frontiers. Today’s carrier pigeon was created about 1850 in Belgium by breeding various races. Carrier pigeons can cover up to 621 mi (1,000 km) in a single day, and were trained to live with two lofts 12.4 mi (20 km) apart.” (About.com)

White-crowned Pigeon

White-crowned Pigeon

White-crowned Pigeon, is 13 in long, has a wingspan of 23 in and weighs about 8 oz. “The adult is dark grey, with green and white bars on the nape, a brilliant white crown to the head, a white iris, and a pale-tipped red bill.” “The ground speed of the White-crowned Pigeon in flight has not been formally documented, but is said to easily outpace a fast motorboat.” (All About Birds)

Band-tailed Pigeon, is 13-16 in and weighs 12.5 oz. and has a yellow bill and feet. “The plumage is gray, somewhat darker above. The head and underparts have a faint pink cast, especially in the adult male; the belly is nearly white.” (Western Field Guide)

Red-billed Pigeon – is 14 in and a large pigeon, that is gray and deep maroon, with a red bill with a pale tip.

“Pigeons and doves are distributed everywhere on Earth, except for the driest areas of the Sahara Desert, Antarctica and its surrounding islands and the high Arctic. They have colonised most of the world’s oceanic islands (with the notable exception of Hawaii), reaching eastern Polynesia and the Chatham Islands in the Pacific, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Reunion in the Indian Ocean, and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Band-tailed Pigeon is the largest in North America. The Passenger Pigeon, which has become extinct, at one time had over 4 billion in number. One report mentioned that on a fly-over the pigeons were in a flock, “a mile wide and up to 300 miles long, were so dense that they darkened the sky for hours and days as the flock passed overhead.” (Chipper Wood Bird Observatory)

The family has adapted to most of the habitats available on the planet. The largest number of species are found in tropical forests and woodlands, where they may be arboreal, terrestrial or semi-terrestrial. Various species also inhabit savannas, grasslands, deserts, temperate woodlands and forests, mangrove forests, and even the barren sands and gravels of atolls.” From Wikipedia

“The Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) is a species of medium-sized, heavily built pigeon. Native to Australia and one of the country’s most common pigeons, the Common Bronzewing is able to live in almost any habitat, with the possible exception of very barren areas and dense rainforests.” From Wikipedia

Pigeons in a group are called a “loft,” “band,” “dropping”, “passel” or a “school” of pigeons.

Links from WhatBird.com
Red-billed Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon or Band-tailed from All About Birds
Rock Pigeon or Rock from All About Birds
White-crowned Pigeon or White-tailed from All About Birds
Here are some of the Pigeons Worldwide:

Doves and Pigeons Page Updated

Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

I recently updated my Dove and Pigeons page in preparation for an article on Birds of the Bible – Pigeons coming out on Friday this week. That is, if I get it done with all the Space Coast Birding Festival activities. (See next post) I hope you enjoy the photos of the pigeons and doves. I recently got permission from Ian Montgomery, an excellent photographer in Australia, to use his photos in these blogs. Thanks, Ian. There is a new link (Birdway by Ian Montgomery) on the sidebar for his website in the Photography links.
Check out the Doves and Pigeon page!