APPLE OF THE EYE
“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,” (Psalms 17:8 KJV)
Spot-winged Wood Quail (Odontophorus capueira) by Dario Sanches
“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,” (Psalms 17:8 KJV)
Spot-winged Wood Quail (Odontophorus capueira) by Dario Sanches
Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7)
Dr. James J. S. Johnson
Bird migrations are marvelous — only God could preprogram and orchestrate such magnificent maneuverings! Did you know that this year (AD2016) marks the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty? Just how was that avian conservation treaty “hatched”, and why, 100 years ago?
There are several remarkable aspects of that historic Canadian-American treaty, looking back a century, at events during AD1916. Before looking at its impact today, however, a quick bird’s-eye-view “fly-over” of the historical background is appropriate.
AD1885: The U.S. Department of Agriculture was directed by Congress to have a “Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy”, leading to studies about how birds can positively check the harm caused by “pests”; this part of the USDA was later modified to become the “Division of Biological Survey”, and that in turn was modified to become the present “Fish and Wildlife Service” (which merged with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries as part of being transferred to the Department of the Interior).
AD1894: Charles Almanzo Babcock, school superintendent of Oil City (Pennsylvania), spearheaded “Bird Day”, to be celebrated as a special day for appreciating and celebrating the value of birds. Babcock’s holiday is celebrated on May 4th. Similar holidays have been established by others, e.g., Americans also use January 5th as “National Bird Day”. “International Migratory Bird Day” is celebrated in America and Canada on the second Saturday in May. However, in Mexico (and in several other Latin American countries) “International Migratory Bird Day” is celebrated on the second Saturday in October.
AD1896: The U.S. Supreme Court decided a case regarding governmental regulation of wild game: Geer v. Connecticut, 161 U.S. 519 (1896). In that case — which resolved a controversy over transporting wild birds across state lines — the federal high court assumed that wild animals are subject to state government jurisdiction (and thus also state government regulation), as opposed to being subject to management under federal statutes passed by Congress. This ruling was interpreted by many to mean that Congress had no direct control over wildlife, because wild animals were deemed to be the collective property of whatever state they were in. (However, there was no “preemption” problem, then, because Congress had not yet passed any federal acts to regulate interstate commerce of wild game animals or their product.) If only state governments cold validly regulate interstate hunting and fishing, as many understood the Geer ruling, the consequence would be that Congress had no legal authority to pass an enforceable wildlife protection law that could bind each of the states (and their citizenry). Could Congress do nothing to protect wasteful overhunting of interstate-migrating birds? Did the U.S. Constitution have any provision that could be harnessed to circumvent the Geer ruling? Was Congress’s power to regulate “interstate commerce” enough to exercise valid jurisdiction over how migratory birds are treated, either dead or alive, so long as state lines were crossed? These legal question would soon be answered. First, the “interstate commerce” power of Congress was used to assert federal regulatory power to regulate the sale (and commercial transportation) of birds in one state if the acquisition of that bird (dead or alive) was accomplished by violating the law of another state. In effect, this approach would use a piggyback strategy, using federal “interstate commerce” powers to enforce state laws.
AD1900: Congress passed the “Lacey Act” of AD1900, declaring commercial transportation or sale of hunted birds (or products derived from their dead bodies) illegal, if crossing state lines was involved (i.e., if “interstate commerce” was involved), but only if the birds (dead or alive) were obtained in a way that violated the state laws of another state. This law was needed to ban the wholesale (and routinely wasteful) destruction of birds, for commercial purposes, primarily to provide flamboyant feathers for fancy ladies’ hats. To do this, the Lacey Act (as a federal law) prohibited using “interstate commerce” activity (i.e., crossing state lines as part of a commercial enterprise) to “get away with” violating any wildlife laws of states where birds were obtained. (The Lacey Act has been legislatively expanded since, by Congress, so that it now incorporates and enforces a treaty that bans trafficking in illegal wildlife, the “CITES treaty” [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora] — which is an enforcement task assigned, nowadays, to the Office of Law Enforcement within the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.) Of course, the Lacey Act only equipped Congress with “piggyback” powers to regulate interstate commerce that facilitated illegal trafficking in wildlife, subject to the hunting laws passed according to the differing preferences of the various state legislatures. If migratory birds traverse 10 states (as they migrate seasonally from north to south, or vice versa), the migrating birds may be protected in only 9 of those 10 states, under applicable state laws, only to be legally shot out of the sky (or while resting in a stopover) while flying in the one state where they may be legally shot by hunter.
AD1913-AD1914: Congress passed the Weeks-McLean Act of 1913, to ban bird-hunting in the spring (i.e., the vulnerable and “critical” timeframe when birds typically reproduce and nurture their hatchlings in the direction of successful fledging), and marketing of illegally hunted birds (and bird products, such as fancy bird feathers that were consumed by the fashion industry in what was called “millinery murder”). This Congress-issued law empowered the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate bird-hunting seasons nationwide. However, judicial review of this federal statute — in the form of federal court rulings, styled United States v. Shauver, 214 Fed. 154 (E.D. Ark. 1914), and United States v. McCullagh, 221 Fed. 288 (D. Kan. 1915) — resulted in the Weeks-McLean Act being declared invalid (i.e., unauthorized), as an unconstitutional overreach regarding natural resources that jurisdictionally were subject to the police powers of state governments (and their state laws), not federal. It is noteworthy that the federal government, in the Shauver ruling, based their argument on the federal government’s rights under the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution (in Article IV, section 3, subsection 2), not under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause (in Article I, section 8). However, in the McCullagh ruling, the federal government unsuccessfully argued that the Weeks-McLean Act was legitimate as a constitutional exercise of powers to protect the “general welfare” (Article IV, section, 3, subsection 2) and/or powers to regulate interstate commerce (Article I, section 8). It thus appeared to Congress that the federal courts were reluctant to enforce any kind of nationwide law that restricts hunting, transporting, and/or sale of migratory birds – even if the activities were provably part of “interstate commerce”.
AD1916-AD1920: The time was now ripe, in the knock-down wake of what had been the Weeks-McLean Act, for Congress to try a different approach to constitutionally constructing an enforceable law to protect migratory birds. The Weeks-McLean Act had 3 strikes against it, constitutionally speaking: it could not be validated by the Property Clause, nor by the General Welfare Clause, nor even by the Interstate Commerce Clause. What was left? What about using the Treaty Clause in the U.S. Constitution’s Article II, section 2, subsection 2) — which authorizes the U.S. president to use “power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”. The first step in this strategic process would be negotiating and ratifying a treaty, to protect migratory birds with migratory ranges that overlap Canada and America, followed by a Congressional statute to implement such a treaty. Canada was not sufficient independent (i.e., “sovereign”) to negotiate on its own behalf, so the United Kingdom (a/k/a Great Britain) represented Canada in the treaty (which is reprinted below, as an APPENDIX) —- the Convention Between the United States and Great Britain for the Protection of Migratory Birds (of 1916) — was successfully negotiated and approved by the U.S. Senate and president (in this case, Woodrow Wilson, ironically an evolutionist, whose Darwinian worldview logically clashed with the conservation ethic embodied by the treaty). This treaty was soon (i.e., “soon”, relatively speaking) endorsed for implementation purposes (including Congressional funding mechanisms) by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Immediately that Congressional act was challenged in the federal courts, by plaintiffs who claimed that it too was Congressional (i.e., federal) power-grab not authorized by the U.S. Constitution. In short, the U.S. Supreme Court was impressed by the strategic treaty-based/implementing statute — the U.S. Supreme Court validated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (and, by necessary implication, the treaty itself) via its ruling in the case styled Missouri v. Holland (so named because the U.S. Game Warden involved was surnamed Holland). Specifically, Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416, 40 S.Ct. 382 (1920), vindicated Congress’ right to implement the Migratory Bird Treaty’s provisions, as a “federal preëmption” of all state laws notwithstanding, based on the constitutional logic that enforcing a proper federal treaty trumps whatever state-legislated wildlife regulation laws may exist to the contrary. The juristic rationale for this result was the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (in Article VI, section 2).
Retroactively speaking, therefore, the Supreme Court ruling in AD1920 (i.e., in Missouri v. Holland) validated the Congressional statute (i.e., the Migratory Bird Treaty Act) enacted in AD1918, which itself endorsed, for implementation purposes, the actual Migratory Bird Treaty of AD1916. (With that history in mind, you can better appreciate the official text of the treaty, which is fairly succinct yet specific, reprinted as an APPENDIX at the foot of this article.)
So that is the bird’s-eye-view “fly-by” of how Americans (and, indirectly, Canadians too) the Migratory Bird Treaty was “hatched”, 100 years ago!
Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7)
Bird migrations are marvelous — only God could preprogram and orchestrate such magnificent maneuverings! Surely bird migrations, which seasonally display God’s bioengineering genius and care, deserve some respect and admiration from us too, as we watch such winged wonders.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James J. S. Johnson, in addition to continuously teaching at various Christian colleges in Texas, since AD1991 (including courses on ecology, birds life and avian conservation, environmental laws and treaties), and teaching now for ICR-SOBA (including course that analyze bird life from a Biblical creation perspective), is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, in the State of Colorado, and in several federal courts and administrative tribunals (including the U.S. Supreme Court). No stranger to environmental laws and conservation programs, he formerly provided monitoring research data to the Trinity River Authority of Texas (during the mid-AD1990s) in his capacity (then) as a Certified Water Quality Monitor (credentialed as such by what was then the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission). Jim’s love for bird life, however, began much earlier in life, as is documented briefly at Attracted To Genesis By Magnets and a Bird Book (and more fully at Appreciating Baltimore Orioles and My First Bird Book ).
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial 1916-2016” (accessed 9-16-AD2016)
Geer v. Connecticut, 161 U.S. 519, 16 S.Ct. 600 (1896).
Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416, 40 S.Ct. 382 (1920).
United States v. Shauver, 214 Fed. 154 (E.D. Ark. 1914).
United States v. McCullagh, 221 Fed. 288 (D. Kan. 1915).
The Lacey Act of 1900, now codified as amended at 16 U.S.C. sections 3371-3378.
Migratory Bird Treaty (of 1916), formally titled Convention Between the United States and Great Britain for the Protection of Migratory Birds, USA-Great Britain, 39 Stat. 1702.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, 40 Stat. 755, codified at 16 U.S.C. sections 703-712.
Weeks-McLean Act of 1913, 37 Stat. 828, 847-848 (1913).
CITES, formally titled Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 27 U.S.T. 1087, T.I.A.S. 8249 (entered into force, applicable to USA, in 1975).
Edward T. Swaine, “Putting Missouri v. Holland on the Map, 72 Missouri Law Review 1007 (fall 2008).
Paul Schmidt, “The Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial: For 100 Years, This Landmark Agreement has been the Cornerstone of Migratory Bird Management Across North America”, posted by DUCKS UNLIMITED.
Mallard drake photo credit: Legallabrador.org/ .
Migrating Snow Geese / Colusa County (California) <= click for photo credit
Migrating Wigeons & Pintails / Saskatchewan (Canada) photo credit: www.conservator/ca/ .
B&W photograph of lady with decorative bird-hat, next to pile of slaughtered birds (public domain), showing need for The Lacey Act of 1900
APPENDIX: official text of the Migratory Bird Treaty of AD1916
CONVENTION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN FOR THE PROTECTION OF MIGRATORY BIRDS.
[U. S. Treaty Series, No. 628] Signed at Washington, August 16, 1916; ratifications exchanged December 7, 1916.
WHEREAS, Many species of birds in the course of their annual migrations traverse certain parts of the United States and the Dominion of Canada; and Whereas, Many of these species are of great value as a source of food or in destroying insects which are injurious to forests and forage plants on the public domain, as well as to agricultural crops, in both the United States and Canada, but are nevertheless in danger of extermination through lack of adequate protection during the nesting season or while on their way to and from their breeding grounds; The United States of America and His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, being desirous of saving from indiscriminate slaughter and of insuring the preservation of such migratory birds as are either useful to man or are harmless, have resolved to adopt some uniform system of protection which shall effectively accomplish such objects and to the end of concluding a convention for this purpose have appointed as their respective plenipotentiaries: The President of the United States of America, Robert Lansing, Secretary of State of the United States; and His Britannic Majesty, the Right Honorable Sir Cecil Arthur Spring Rice, G. C. V. O., K. C. M. G., etc., His Majesty’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Washington; Who after having communicated to each other their respective full powers which were found to be in due and proper form, have agreed to and adopted the following articles:
The high contracting powers declare that the migratory birds included in the terms of this convention shall be as follows:
1. Migratory Game Birds:
(a) Anatidae or waterfowl, including brant, wild ducks, geese, and swans.
(b) Gruidae or cranes, including little brown, sandhill, and whooping cranes.
(c) Rallidae or rails, including coots, gallinules and sora and other rails.
(d) Limicolae or shorebirds, including avocets, curlew, dowitchers, godwits, knots, oyster catchers, phalaropes, plovers, sand- pipers, snipe, stilts, surf birds, turnstones, willet, woodcock and yellowlegs.
(e) Columbidae or pigeons, including doves and wild pigeons.
2. Migratory Insectivorous Birds: Bobolinks, catbirds, chickadees, cuckoos, flickers, flycatchers, grosbeaks, humming birds, kinglets, martins, meadowlarks, nighthawks, or bull bats, nut-hatches, orioles, robins, shrikes, swallows, swifts, tanagers, titmice, thrushes, vireos, warblers, wax-wings, whippoorwills, woodpeckers, and wrens, and all other perching birds which feed entirely or chiefly on insects.
3. Other Migratory Nongame Birds: Auks, auklets, bitterns, fulmars, gannets, grebes, guillemots, gulls, herons, jaegers, loons, murres, petrels, puffins, shear- waters, and terns.
The high contracting Powers agree that, as an effective means of preserving migratory birds, there shall be established the following close seasons during which no hunting shall be done except for scientific or propagating purposes under permits issued by proper authorities.
1. The close season on migratory game birds shall be between March 10 and September 1, except that the close season on the limicolae or shorebirds in the Maritime Provinces of Canada and in those States of the United States bordering on the Atlantic Ocean which are situated wholly or in part north of Chesapeake Bay shall be between February 1 and August 15, and that Indians may take at any time scoters for food but not for sale. The season for hunting shall be further restricted to such period not exceeding three and one-half months as the high contracting Powers may severally deem appropriate and define by law or regulation.
2. The close season on migratory insectivorous birds shall continue throughout the year. 3. The close season on other migratory nongame birds shall continue throughout the year, except that Eskimos and Indians may take at any season auks, auklets, guillemots, murres and puffins, and their eggs, for food and their skins for clothing, but the birds and eggs so taken shall not be sold or offered for sale.
The high contracting Powers agree that during the period of ten years next following the going into effect of this convention, there shall be a continuous close season on the following migratory game birds, to wit:- Band-tailed pigeons, little brown, sandhill and whooping cranes, swans, curlew and all shorebirds (except the black-breasted and golden plover, Wilson or jack snipe, woodcock, and the greater and lesser yellowlegs); provided that during such ten years the close seasons on cranes, swans and curlew in the Province of British Columbia shall be made by the proper authorities of that Province within the general dates and limitations elsewhere prescribed in this convention for the respective groups to which these birds belong.
The high contracting Powers agree that special protection shall be given the wood duck and the eider duck either (1) by a close season extending over a period of at least five years, or (2) by the establishment of refuges, or (3) by such other regulations as may be deemed appropriate.
The taking of nests or eggs of migratory game or insectivorous or nongame birds shall be prohibited, except for scientific or propagating purposes under such laws or regulations as the high contracting Powers may severally deem appropriate.
The high contracting Powers agree that the shipment or export of migratory birds or their eggs from any State or Province, during the continuance of the close season in such State or Province, shall be prohibited except for scientific or propagating purposes, and the international traffic in any birds or eggs at such time captured, killed, taken, or shipped at any time contrary to the laws of the State or Province in which the same were captured, killed, taken, or shipped shall be likewise prohibited. Every package containing migratory birds or any parts thereof or any eggs of migratory birds transported, or offered for transportation from the United States into the Dominion of Canada or from the Dominion of Canada into the United States, shall have the name and address of the shipper and an accurate statement of the contents clearly marked on the outside of such package.
Permits to kill any of the above-named birds which, under extraordinary conditions, may become seriously injurious to the agricultural or other interests in any particular community, may be issued by the proper authorities of the high contracting Powers under suitable regulations prescribed therefor by them respectively, but such permits shall lapse, or may be cancelled, at any time when, in the opinion of said authorities, the particular exigency has passed, and no birds killed under this article shall be shipped, sold or offered for sale.
The high contracting Powers agree themselves to take, or propose to their respective appropriate law-making bodies, the necessary measures for insuring the execution of the present convention.
The present convention shall be ratified by the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and by His Brittanic Majesty. The ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington as soon as possible and the convention shall take effect on the date of the exchange of the ratifications. It shall remain in force for fifteen years and in the event of neither of the high contracting Powers having given notification, twelve months before the expiration of said period of fifteen years, of its intention of terminating its operation, the convention shall continue to remain in force for one year and so on from year to year. In faith whereof, the respective plenipotentiaries have signed the present convention in duplicate and have hereunto affixed their seals. Done at Washington this sixteenth day of August, one thousand nine hundred and sixteen.
[SEAL] ROBERT LANSING. [SEAL] CECIL SPRING RICE.
“Convention Between the United States and Great Britain for the Protection of Migratory Birds”, reprinted in The American Journal of International Law, Volume 11, No. 2, Supplement: Official Documents (April, 1917), pages 62-66 (published online by The American Society of International Law)
“Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. (Psalms 143:9 KJV)
Owl in Drain ©©
“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:25 KJV) (emphasis mine)
Here are two very interesting videos about a hummingbird and a dog getting along very well. It reminded me of these verses.
“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:19-20 KJV)
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.” (Isaiah 11:6-8 NKJV)
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53 NKJV) (emphasis mine)
While in the Aviary at Lowry Park last week, this little avian wonder caught my attention. Our Scarlet Ibis juvenile is in the process of becoming a beautiful adult, but at present he is still in transition. The Lord’s Creative Hand gave these ibises protection while growing up, but now that change to a full-grown Scarlet Ibis is becoming very evident.
Adult plumage is virtually all scarlet. The feathers may show various tints and shades, but only the tips of their wings deviate from their namesake color. A small but reliable marking, these wingtips are a rich inky black (or occasionally dark blue) and are found only on the longest primaries – otherwise the birds’ coloration is “a vivid orange-red, almost luminous in quality.” Scarlet ibises have red bills and feet however the bill is sometimes blackish, especially toward the end. They have a long, narrow, decurved bill. Their legs and neck are long and extended in flight.
A juvenile scarlet ibis is a mix of grey, brown, and white. As it grows, a heavy diet of red crustaceans produces the scarlet coloration. The color change begins with the juvenile’s second moult, around the time it begins to fly: the change starts on the back and spreads gradually across the body while increasing in intensity over a period of about two years. The scarlet ibis is the only shorebird with red coloration in the world.
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:2-3 KJV) (emphasis mine)
As these young Scarlet Ibises are growing into beautifully colored adults, you can see how they have grown from the baby to where they are now.
So, we as Christians, should be growing and changing as we grow in the Lord. How do we grow? Reading God’s Word, attending a good Bible preaching church, praying, studying, and doing whatever the Lord may lead you to do to help out. These juveniles are starting to change and so will you as grow in the Lord. Sooner or later you will bloom into a mature Christian able and willing to serve Our Lord wherever or however He chooses.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17-18 NASB)
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:20-23 NKJV) (emphasis mine)
Scarlet Ibis – Threskiornithidae – Ibises, Spoonbills
DON’T MESS WITH THE HOOPOE!
“But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray … And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.” (Deuteronomy 14:12, 18)
Don’t mess with the hoopoe – especially the female! Their Creator blessed this bird with an oil gland that produces a really foul-smelling liquid. When rubbed into their plumage, it smells like rotting meat and deters not only predators but parasites as well. In fact, it also acts as an antibacterial agent.
Thanks to this nasty-smelling liquid, most predators stay far away from the hoopoe’s nest. But even when a predator ignores the stench and comes looking for a meal while mama hoopoe is away, the nestlings are not defenseless. Even when they are just six days old, they can produce the same liquid and shoot it accurately into the face of predators.
With such an awful smell, perhaps it was a great blessing that God placed the hoopoe on His list of animals that were not to be eaten by His people. By the way, the King James version of the Bible refers to the hoopoe as the lapwing but we’re still talking about the hoopoe. Since this bird is listed in Deuteronomy as an unclean animal, isn’t it rather odd that the modern state of Israel would choose the hoopoe as their national bird?
Like the hoopoe, every person ever born is unclean in God’s sight. This is why Jesus Christ, the sinless lamb of God, submitted Himself to die on the cross as our substitute. He will make you clean in God’s sight when you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus!
Heavenly Father, I know that there’s nothing I can do to make myself clean and righteous. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to make me acceptable in Your sight. Amen.
the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat. (Deu 14:18)
Our Creator has again shown His perfect design and protection for another of His avian wonders. This time with the Hoopoe. They are a Bird of the Bible and have been features several times her on this blog.
“To-night,” said daddy, “we are going to have the story of the meeting of the brownies, crows, and old Mr. Scarecrow. The crows had been giving feasts in a corn-field almost every morning bright and early before any of the big people who lived in the nearby farm-house were up. Such feasts as they did have! And one day they asked the brownies if they wouldn’t come to their next one.
“‘Caw-caw,’ said the crows together.
“‘Where are we going?’ asked one of the brownies teasingly, for they had been going around and around in circles and hadn’t reached any place.
“‘I don’t quite know,’ said Black Crown Crow, ‘it’s a question which is very hard to decide.’
“‘But we thought you had chosen a special spot,’ said one of the brownies.
“Black Crown Crow looked very sad, and his black wings seemed to droop. ‘It’s that guest I never asked. He’s causing all the trouble. How very rude it is of folks to come to a feast who aren’t invited, and to arrive before us, too. It’s very e-x-a-s-p-e-r-a-t-i-n-g!’
“‘Who is he?’ shouted the brownies, for every little while Black Crown Crow had gone ahead and then had come back. In these little trips he had seen right in the center of the corn-field a man—a real man, he thought, with a hat and a coat and trousers and boots—and carrying something which he couldn’t quite make out. It was either a great huge stick—or worse still—it was a gun. He shivered whenever he thought of that awful word gun.
“‘Caw-caw,’ again shrieked Black Crown Crow, ‘it’s a man and he has a gun—I’m sure it’s a gun. Now the rudeness of him! As if we wanted a man and a gun at our corn feast!’
“‘Oh, it was to have been a corn feast, and now the man has stopped it,’ laughed one of the brownies. ‘Well, such a joke! But to show you how nice we’ll be when we’re here ready for a party which can’t take place, we’ll give a nice party ourselves.’
“And the brownies scampered about a little grove near the corn-field, and there they made a bonfire over which they cooked some corn-meal which they had carried with them in their bags. They knew all along, ever since they’d started, where the crows wanted them to go for the feast, and they also knew that the farmer had made that scarecrow in his corn-field to frighten off Black Crown Crow and his followers.
“The brownies made a fine feast, but how they did chuckle among themselves that the pole dressed up as a man had succeeded in saving the corn for the people of the farm-house.”
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. (Psalms 34:11 NKJV)
Looks like the Brownies, helped out the “exasperated” Crows and had a good laugh at the same time. The farmer was only trying to protect his crop and the crows were only trying to eat.
What can we learn?
Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! (Luke 12:24 NASB)
This verse tells us that God will provide for the Ravens (and Crows, which are in the same bird family). The Crows may need to go to another field where they can be provided for. Also, are you ever afraid of something, that isn’t really scary?
If the Lord feeds the Crows and other birds, He provides for us and also helps our fears.
Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories – Gutenberg ebooks
Mary Graham Bonner
With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis
These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.
Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.
Ark from trees for protection!
Branch from a tree to turn the taste of water!
Striped and spotted barks of trees
to change the colour of the sheep’s fur!
Two blocks of tree to hang Himself!
God calls us as trees!
What sort of tree are we?
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:3
Nuggets Plus – Protection and Providence ~ by a j mithra
Male Mountain Blue Bird
not only brings food to feed
but also protects
while the female builds the nest!
God will not only feed
but also protect us
as we build His Kingdom!
No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:17)
Yours in YESHUA,
a j mithra
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The Mountain Bluebird belongs to the Thrushes – Turdidae Family.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:4 KJV)
While working on the Coot article, the shield was mentioned. “Coots have prominent frontal shields or other decoration on the forehead…”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives this definition: “a platelike prolongation of the base of the upper mandible over the forehead that is a characteristic feature of the coots and gallinules.” A few coots and gallinules have a frontal shield, which is a fleshy rearward extension of the upper bill. The most complex frontal shield is found in the Horned Coot.
Wikipedia says, “A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace, battle axe or similar weapon to the side of the shield-bearer.
Shields vary greatly in size, ranging from large panels that protect the user’s entire body to small models (such as the buckler) that were intended for hand-to-hand-combat use. Shields also vary a great deal in thickness; whereas some shields were made of relatively deep, absorbent, wooden planking to protect soldiers from the impact of spears and crossbow bolts, others were thinner and lighter and designed mainly for deflecting blade strikes.
Often shields were decorated with a painted pattern or an animal representation and these designs developed into systematized heraldic devices during high-medieval times for purposes of battlefield identification. ”
For our birds, I would think the decorated shields for identification seems the most logical. Since the Lord enjoys so much variety, we see it again displayed in these frontal shields.
At least 54 verses (depending on version) mention the word “shield” in the Bible. Psalm 91:4 above is providing refuge under feathers and wings and is protecting us with a shield of truth and faithfulness. Let’s look at some of the verses and just let His word encourage and challenge us to serve Him more.
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3 KJV)
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. (Psalms 3:3 NASB)
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. (Psalms 18:35 KJV)
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. (Psalms 33:20 KJV)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:11 KJV)
Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. (Psalms 115:11 KJV)
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:16 KJV)
Are others able to identify us by our shield?
Jacanidae – Jacanas Family
The Scaled Quail – The Cover Seeker ~ by ajmithra
The Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), also commonly called Blue Quail or Cottontop, is a species of the New World quail family. It is a bluish gray bird found in the arid regions of the Southwestern United States
to Central Mexico.
These birds seek for four different covers. They are as follows :
Feeding cover: Scaled Quail use grass clumps and shrubs for cover while feeding. In one study they were frequently seen crossing 82 to 165 feet (25–50 m) of bare ground. When disturbed, Scaled Quail hid in snakeweed (Gutierrezia spp.) or in grass clumps. In June and July foraging occurs on open grasslands which are not used at other times.
We have Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who makes us lie down beside still waters. But, times are fast approaching where the church may be stopped from feeding on the word of God and the church may have to hide during the times of tribulation..
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. Amos 8:11
Loafing cover: Scaled Quail coveys occupy loafing or resting cover after early morning feeding periods. Scaled Quail occupy desert grassland or desert scrub with a minimum of one loafing covert per approximately 70 acres (28 ha). In northwestern Texas, loafing coverts were characterized by:
Covert heights ranged from 1.6 to 5.9 feet (0.5–1.8 m) and 2.6 to 6.9 feet (0.8–2.1 m) in diameter. Cholla formed all or part of the overhead cover of 85% of coverts, even though they were dominant
at only 12% of the study locations. In areas where Scaled Quail occur without cholla, woody species such as wolfberry (Lycium spp.) and mesquite are important for overhead cover.
In Oklahoma pinyon-juniper habitats, Scaled Quail use the shade of tree cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata) and human-made structures. In Arizona, Scaled Quail occupied wolfberry and mesquite 1.7 to 5 feet (0.5–1.5 m) tall for loafing cover. This overhead cover provides midday shade, but is open at the base to allow easy escape from predators. In Oklahoma, winter home ranges always contained skunkbush sumac, tree cholla, or human-made structures providing overhead cover.
The highlight during the migration of millions of Israelites across the wilderness for forty years is the overhead cover that God gave them in the form of Pillar of clouds during the day and Pillar of fire during the night. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. There is protection for everyone for all seasons..
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. Isaiah 4:6
Night-roosting cover: Scaled Quail roosts were observed in yucca (Yucca angustifolia), tree cholla, and true mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus) – yucca-fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) vegetation types. The height of vegetation used for night roosts was less than 1.6 feet (0.5 m).
No matter wherever you are and whatever situation you are in, just remember what king David said..,
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139: 8-10
Even during the darkest hour, as we stumble, confused and seeking direction, His protection and direction never seizes. He not only keeps His eyes on us, but also keeps us as the apple of His eyes. His light shall shine upon us to direct our path.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Psalm 139:11-12
Nesting cover: In March or April winter coveys spread out into areas with less cover. This use of areas with less cover coincides with a seasonal decrease in the number of raptors in the same area.
Scaled Quail nests are constructed under tufts of grasses, and are sheltered by sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), mesquite, catclaw acacia (Acacia greggii), cactus, or yucca; under
dead Russian-thistle (Salsola kali), mixed forbs, or soapweed yucca; or sheltered in old machinery or other human-made debris.
In Oklahoma, 66% of nests were in one of four situations:
In New Mexico, ordination of breeding birds and vegetative microhabitats indicated that Scaled Quail were associated with increased levels of patchiness and increased cover of mesquite and cactus.
Birds build nests in different places, sometimes in the most unusual place. But still, the chicks prefer the protection under the wings of its parents.
Where do we seek for protection?
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: Deuteronomy 32:11
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
The most secure cover for our lives does not come from our million dollars life insurance policies but from assurance that God has gave us through His bloodshed, suffering and death on the cross of Calvary.
Is your Life insured in Christ?
Have a blessed day!
Yours in YESHUA,
a j mithra
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