Different Habitats Fit Different Birds

Different Habitats Fit Different Birds

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

I know all the fowls [i.e., birds] of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.    (Psalm 50:11)

And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.   (Luke 9:58)

Western-Tanager.WildBirdsUnlimited

WESTERN TANAGER perching   (Wild Birds Unlimited photo)

God loves variety, including variety in bird life. In order to facilitate bird variety, unsurprisingly (to creationists), God has provided a variety of avian habitats.

Just as humans have different preferences, for where they choose to live – whether that may be a neighborhood that is urban, suburban, or rural, or even in a wilderness – birds have preferences regarding which “neighborhoods” they prefer to call home.

In fact, this ecological reality is not limited to birds – habitats are diverse for animals in general, just as animals themselves display God-designed biodiversity.

God chose to fill the earth with different kinds of life. All over the world, we see His providence demonstrated in ecological systems. Different creatures live in a variety of habitats, interacting with one another and a mix of geophysical factors—like rain, rocks, soil, wind, and sunlight.

But why does this happen? And how does it happen? These two questions are at the heart of ecology science—the empirical study of creatures interactively living in diverse “homes” all over the world.

Why did God design earth’s biodiversity the way that He did? Two words summarize the answer: life and variety. Even in this after-Eden world, cursed and groaning as it is under the weight of sin and death, we still see a prolific and diversified creation.

God loves life. God is the essence and ultimate origin of all forms and levels of life.

God loves variety. God’s nature is plural, yet one, and He is the Creator of all biological diversity anywhere and everywhere on earth.

Because God loves life and variety, we can understand why God favors different kinds of life forms, causing them to be fruitful—increasing their populations generation after generation.  . . . .

For creatures to successfully “fill the earth,” there must be both population growth and creature diversity within a geographical context—the earth. . . . .

Different Homes for Different Folks

Different types of habitats all over the planet collectively host an ecological smörgåsbord of alternative habitat opportunities. Consider how [countless] examples of very different habitats are filled by aptly “fitted” creatures—providentially prepared creatures living in providentially prepared places. . . . .

Some ecological conditions might work for a world full of just a few kinds of animals and/or plants, but God did not want a monotonous planet. So He designed an earth that could and would host a huge variety of life-form kinds.

Befitting God’s own divine essence—the ultimate source of (and ultimate logic for) all created life and variety—God’s panoramic plan was for many different kinds of creatures to populate and fill His earth.

And because God loves beauty, God even chose to integrate His eye-pleasing artistry into the variety of His creatures and the wide array of their respective habitats.

[Quoting JJSJ, “God Fitted Habitats for Biodiversity”, ACTS & FACTS, 42 (3): 10-12 (March 2013), at https://www.icr.org/article/god-fitted-habitats-for-biodiversity  .]

Northern-Flicker-redshafted.Evergreen-edu

NORTHERN FLICKER  (Yellow-shafted variety)   —   Evergreen.edu photo credit

For an example of bird with a montane habitat, consider the Northern Flicker, reported in “Want a Home in the Mountains?  Some Birds have One!” [at https://leesbird.com/2015/09/24/want-a-home-in-the-mountains-some-birds-have-one/ ].

Or, for an example of a bird with an https://leesbird.com/2015/09/24/want-a-home-in-the-mountains-some-birds-have-one/, notice the Green Heron, reported in “Flag that Green Heron Nest!” [at https://leesbird.com/2019/02/01/flag-that-green-heron-nest/ ].

Many more examples could be given — see generally www.leesbird.com !

WillowPtarmigan-Alaska-variety.Wikipedia

WILLOW PTARMIGAN  (Alaska variety)   —   Wikipedia photo credit

Scripture alludes to this reality of avian ecology: birds live in different habitats.

Of course, every bird needs to live near a source of freshwater, so brooks and streams, as well as lakes and ponds, are good places to look for birds (1st Kings 17:4).

Some birds prefer mountain habitats (Psalm 50:11; 1st Samuel 26:20; Isaiah 18:6; Ezekiel 39:14; Psalm 11:1).  Other birds prefer the valleys or open fields, including farmlands (Proverbs 30:17; Ezekiel 32:4; Matthew 13:4 & 13:32; Mark 4:4; Luke 8:5).

Ground fowl, such as partridges, live in scrublands, sometimes near bushes that fit their camouflage plumage (Deuteronomy 22:6-7; 1st Samuel 26:20).

Some birds prefer desert wilderness habitats (Psalm 102:6; Isaiah 13:21 & 34:11-15), including rocky places like crags atop high rocky cliffs or in desolate canyons (Jeremiah 48:28 & 49:6; Obadiah 1:3-4; Song of Solomon 2:14; Job 39:27).

Birds are famous for appreciating trees, dwelling in and/or under trees branches (Psalm 104:17; Ezekiel 17:23 & 31:13; Daniel 4:12-14 & 4:21; Luke 13:19).

WesternScrubJay-PinyonPine-Snow.RonDudley

WESTERN SCRUB JAY in snow-adorned evergreen   (Ron Dudley photo)

Some birds seem to prefer to build nests in and around houses and other buildings made by humans (Psalm 84:3 & 102:7), while other birds, such as poultry, live lives of domestication (Numbers 6:10; Proverbs 30:31; 1st Kings 4:23; Nehemiah 5:18; John 2:11-16).

Of course, migratory birds are famous for having a “summer home” and a “winter home”, traveling to and fro twice a year (Jeremiah 8:7; Song of Solomon 2:12).

What variety! With these thoughts in mind, therefore, we can better appreciate the diversity of bird habitats, as we watch (and value) the fine-feathered residents and migrants that frequent our own home neighborhoods.

In other words, we not only identify (and appreciate) birds according to their physical appearances, we can also match their physical needs to their habitats.

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger niger), Northern subspecies
BLACK SKIMMER with young   (Michael Stubblefield photo)

Accordingly, consider what Dr. Bette J. Schardien Jackson (ornithologist of Mississippi State University, also president of the Mississippi Ornithological Society) says, about differences in avian habitats.

HABITATS. A [bird’s] habitat is an environment – a portion of an ecosystem – that fulfills a bird’s needs for food, water, shelter, and nesting.  If a species habitually chooses a particular habitat – and many do – it is known as a habitat specialist.  Even widespread species may be extremely narrow in their choice of habitat.  For example, the Killdeer is common through most of North America, but within the varied ecosystems of the species’ range it specializes in [i.e., tends to prefer] one habitat:  open areas with patches of bare ground. The Killdeer particularly favors habitats close to bodies of water.  The widespread Blue Jay, in contrast, always requires groves of trees.

Plants are often the most important element in any habitat. Fruit, berries, nuts, sap, and nectar completely satisfy the dietary needs of some birds.  Because plants provide nourishment for insects, they [i.e., the insect-hosting plants] are also essential to insect-eating birds.  Additionally, plants provide various nest sites and shelter from weather and enemies.  In arid environments, plants are an important source of moisture.

Some species are intimately associated with a particular plant. The Kirtland’s Warbler, for example, nests only in young jack pine trees that spring up after a fire.  When the trees grow large enough to shade the scrubby growth beneath, the warblers will no longer use them.  This specific habitat requirement is one reason why the Kirtland’s Warbler is now [i.e., as of AD1988] an endangered species – probably fewer than a thousand remain [in America].  They live on Michigan’s lower peninsula where the U.S. Forest Service periodically burns jack-pine forest to provide the young trees that the birds need.  . . . .

A [bird] species’ habitat is predictable because it has traditionally provided food, nest sites, defendable territories, and conditions conducive to attracting mates [and successfully raising young]. Through our efforts to find birds, we learn about their habitats; we learn both quality and quantity are important.  Pileated Woodpeckers, for example, may require 200 acres of mature forest.  . . . .

In central Wyoming, for example, Western Meadowlarks often place their nests in the midst of a dense patch of prickly-pear cactus where the [cactus] pads are spread close to the ground.  Once you have found one [such] nest, the mental image of that nest helps you to find a dozen more in a short time.  But that [mental] image would be of little help in searching for Western Meadowlark nests in a Nebraska prairie, where there are no cacti, but where the species is just as common.  There each nest is a little tent of grass, often with an opening to the south.

[Quoting Jerome A. Jackson & Bette J. Schardien Jackson, “Avian Ecology”, THE BIRDS AROUND US (Ortho Books, 1986, edited by Robert J. Dolezal),  pages 91 & 93.]

NorthernShoveler.male-and-female
NORTHERN SHOVELER male & female, in wetland waters   (Wikipedia photo)

So, when it comes to choosing a neighborhood, to live in, even the birds have their own preferences!


 

Birds of the Bible – Mountain Birds II

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) by Lee LPZ

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

While you were reading Birds of the Bible – Psalm 50:11’s Mountain Birds I, did you notice where the birds/fowls are?

Most of them are from the mountains. Where else are they mentioned?

They are:

  • “in the mountains”
  • “of the mountains”
  • “on the mountains”
  • “of the hills”
  • “upon the mountains”
  • “living in the fields”
  • “every mountain bird”
  • “of the air”
  • “in the sky”
  • flying over the mountains” [more on this later]
Common Crane (Grus grus) by Nikhil Devasar

Common Crane (Grus grus) by Nikhil Devasar

Whose birds are they? What did the Creator say about these birds?

  • “I know all the birds, every bird”
  • “I know and am acquainted with all the birds”
  • “all the wild birds are mine”
  • “I keep track of every bird”
  • “I know every movement of the birds”
  • “I have known every fowl”
  • “I see all the birds”
  • “I know every mountain bird by name”

This reminds us of “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.”
(Matthew 10:29 NKJV)

At the end of these verses from Psalm 50:11, what does the Word say about them?

  • “are/is mine/Mine”
  • “are Mine and are with Me, in My mind”
  • “is in my care”
  • “is with me”
  • “indeed, everything that moves… is mine”
  • “All creation and its bounty are mine…”
  • “belong to me”
  • “are at my commandment”
  • “are in my sight”
  • ” is in my thoughts. The entire world and everything it contains is mine.”

Alpine Chough, in snowy French Alps ©Static1-Philip Braude

WOW! 

As my pastor would say, let those words sink in. If God, the Creator, cares that much about the birds and animals, how much more does He care about us.

Psalm 50:11 refers to all the birds living in and around the mountains. One of those translations caught my attention when it mentioned the birds “flying over the mountains“. I have never heard of the VOICE translation, but this is how it reads:

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) Zoo Miami by Lee

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) Zoo Miami by Lee

Every bird flying over the mountains I know; every animal roaming over the fields belongs to Me.”

Yes, they all fly over the mountains, but the Bar-headed Goose, that we saw at the zoo, is known to fly over the “peaks of the Himalayas on their migratory path.” At an altitude of 29,000 feet/8,800 meters. But this Goose isn’t the highest flying bird.

An article from Institute for Creation Research mentions high flying birds. “What about high-flying birds that have no such oxygen mask? How can they survive elevations of 15,000 feet and sometimes higher without a supplemental source of oxygen? Many bird migrations occur at extremely high elevations: 21,000 feet for the mallard duck, 27,000 feet for swans, even 36,000 feet for vultures!The article goes on to explain about the Creators design of such birds:

“A bird’s lungs function according to the through-flow principle: the inspired [inhaled] air collects in the bird’s posterior air-sacs and flows through the lungs to the anterior air-sacs before it passes back out. In the lungs the blood is oxygenated by fine air capillaries, where air and blood flow in opposite directions. Owing to this counterflow, the oxygenated blood that leaves the bird lung acquires a higher oxygen concentration than that corresponding to the oxygen pressure in the expired [exhaled] air.

In addition to flow-through lungs, birds have hearts that are proportionately larger to their bodies than those of mammals—from 0.8 to 1.5% of total body mass, compared to mammals, which average around 0.6%. The birds’ larger hearts enable speedy blood transport and intensive oxygen renewal.”

Which is the highest flying bird? The Ruppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppellii). One was hit by a plane at 11,300 metres (37,100 feet).

Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) ©WikiC

I have a tendency, at times, to just read a verse and then move on. Yet, sometimes it is good to check out some of the other translations. [Read my disclaimer in the last article.] The last article showed photos of some of the birds that live in the mountains, but how about these that fly over the mountains. Only a Creator could design them with those capabilities. Chance molecules, evolution, or whatever theory man devises does not explain the Wisdom that comes Only from the Lord Jesus Christ, their Creator.


High Altitude Flying For Birds – I.C.R.

List of Birds by Flight Heights – Wikipedia

Top 10 Highest Flying Birds in the World – TMW

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Psalm 50:11’s Mountain Birds

Gideon

Birds of the Bible – Psalm 50:11’s Mountain Birds I

Mountain Wheatear (Myrmecocichla monticola) ©WikiC

“I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.” (Psalm 50:11) NKJV

Hooded Mountain Tanager (Buthraupis montana) ©BirdPhotos.com

This is Part I. Shown are the many translations of Psalm 50:11. God is speaking and telling us that He knows all these birds and cares about them. How much more does God the Creator care about us?
In the next post, there will be more facts about the Birds of the Mountains.
This list of verses came from the Bible Gateway when searching for Birds of the “mountain/s”. Psalm 50:11 was one of them., this is a list of all their translations for that verse. The version links will take you to the verse in that translation.
I know all the fowls of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
I know all the birds of the mountains; And the wild beasts of the field are mine.
“I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind.

Mountain Blackeye (Chlorocharis emiliae) ©WikiC

I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.
I know every mountain bird; even the insects in the fields are mine.
I know all the birds in the mountains; whatever moves in the fields is mine.

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) ©Elaine R Wilson WikiC

I know all the birds in the mountains, and every wild creature is in my care.
I know all the fowl of the mountains, and the roaming creatures of the field are mine:
I know every bird in the mountains. Everything that moves in the fields is mine.
I know every bird in the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is with me.

Mountain Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola fytchii) by Lee Zoo Miami

I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
I know every bird on the mountains, and every living thing in the fields is mine.
I know all the fowls on the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus) ©WikiC

I know every bird in the mountains. Everything that moves in the fields is mine.
All the wild birds are mine and all living things in the fields.
I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine.
I know every bird on the mountains. Every living thing in the fields is mine.

Rufous-bellied Mountain Saltator (Saltator rufiventris)©Flickr Ron Knight

I know all the birds in the mountains; indeed, everything that moves in the field is mine.
I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are with me.
I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

Tucuman Mountain Finch (Compsospiza baeri) ©Flickr Ron Knight

I know every bird of the mountains, and every moving creature in the field is mine.
For all the animals of field and forest are mine! The cattle on a thousand hills! And all the birds upon the mountains!
“…Every creature in the forest is mine, the wild animals on all the mountains. I know every mountain bird by name; the scampering field mice are my friends. If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you? All creation and its bounty are mine….”
I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures that move in the field are Mine.

Blue-winged Mountain Tanager (Anisognathus somptuosus) ©Flickr Lip Kee Yap

I know every bird in the mountains. Everything that moves in the fields is mine.
I know every bird in the heights; whatever moves in the wild is mine.
“I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
I know every bird on the mountains, and every living thing in the fields is mine.

Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager (Anisognathus igniventris) ©Flickr Joao Quental

I keep track of every bird in the hills, and the insects of the field are mine.
I own every bird in the mountains. The insects in the fields belong to me.
I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.
I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.

Mountain Tailorbird (Phyllergates cucullatus) by© Wiki

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
I know every bird of the mountains. And all things that move in the field are Mine.
I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.
I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) ©WikiC

Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) ©WikiC

I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
I know kol oph (every bird) of the harim; and the animals of the wild are Mine.
Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) ©WikiC

Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) ©WikiC

Every animal of field and forest belongs to me, the Creator. I know every movement of the birds in the sky, and every animal of the field is in my thoughts. The entire world and everything it contains is mine.
I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
I know every bird of the mountains. Everything moving in the field is Mine.
Mountain Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula badia) by Ian

Mountain Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula badia) by Ian

Every bird flying over the mountains I know; every animal roaming over the fields belongs to Me.
I know all the birds of the mountains. The wild animals of the field are mine.
I have known all the volatiles of the firmament; and the fairness of the field is with me. (I know all the birds on those hills; and the wild beasts of the fields be mine.)
I have known every fowl of the mountains, And the wild beast of the field [is] with Me.

Green-crowned Brilliant and Purple-throated Mountain-Gem by Ray

Additional Psalms 50:11 verses from e-Sword versions loaded [no links]:
(ACV)  I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(AKJV)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(ASV)  I know all the birds of the mountains; And the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(BBE)  I see all the birds of the mountains, and the beasts of the field are mine.
Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

(Bishops)  I knowe all the foules vpon the mountaynes: and the wylde beastes of the fielde are at my commaundement.
(Brenton)  I know all the birds of the sky; and the beauty of the field is mine.
(DRB)  I know all the fowls of the air: and with me is the beauty of the field.
(ECB)  I know all the flyers of the mountains and the creatures of the field with me.
Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus) by Nikhil Devasar

Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus) by Nikhil Devasar

(Geneva)  I knowe all the foules on the mountaines: and the wilde beastes of the fielde are mine..
(HRB)  I know all the birds of the mountains; and all moving in My fields are Mine;
(IAV)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(Phillips) No verse
Brandt's Mountain Finch (Leucosticte brandti) by Nikhil

Brandt’s Mountain Finch (Leucosticte brandti) by Nikhil

(LITV-TSP)  I know all the birds of the mountains; and all moving in My fields are Mine;
(JPS)  I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
(KJ2000)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(KJV)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
White-throated Mountaingem (Lampornis castaneoventris) by Ian

White-throated Mountaingem (Lampornis castaneoventris) by Ian

(KJV-1611)  I know all the foules of the mountaines: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(KJVA)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(KJV-BRG)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(LITV)  I know all the birds of the mountains; and all moving in My fields are Mine;
Mountain Thornbill (Acanthiza katherina) by Ian

Mountain Thornbill (Acanthiza katherina) by Ian

(MKJV)  I know all the birds of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
(NAS77)  “I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
(RV)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(The Disciple’s Bible)  I know all the birds of the mountains; And the wild beasts of the field are mine.
Plate-billed Mountain Toucan (Andigena laminirostris) by Michael Woodruff

Plate-billed Mountain Toucan (Andigena laminirostris) by Michael Woodruff

(TRC)  I know all the fowls upon the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are in my sight.
(TS2009)  “I know all the birds of the mountains, And all moving in My field are Mine.
(UKJV)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
(Webster)  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

Colombian Mountain Grackle (Macroagelaius subalaris) ©WikiC

Birds of the Bible – Birds of the What??

Birds of the Bible

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