UPDATE – Praise the Lord, I am back home again. After two weeks in the Rehabilitation Hospital, I was healthy and strong enough to be released. Got home late Monday. I am still regaining my strength and will have some physical training at home for several weeks. Yet, Praise, I am back home. Yeah! Thanks for all the prayer and thoughts.
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)
All of us from Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Dan and I, James J. S. Johnson [Dr. Jim], Emma Foster, Ian, and all our other guest authors wish you a peaceful and blessed day as you consider all the importance of what this Christmas Day represents.
Last Sunday, our pastor, had a very good message that emphasizes this and the importance of worship. I have linked it here and trust you will be blessed by it. Also enjoy our quartet singing the “Beautiful of Star of Bethlehem,” and Angel singing “Noel.” Next week we will get back to our regular Sunday Inspiration format.
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Margaret Sloan
You’re the King(‘s) Bird ~ by a j mithra
With dark gray upper parts and a neat white tip to the tail, the Eastern Kingbird looks like it’s wearing a business suit.
And this big-headed, broad-shouldered bird does mean business—just watch one harassing crows, Red-tailed Hawks, Great Blue Herons, and other birds that pass over its territory.
Eastern Kingbirds often perch on wires in open areas and either sally out for flying insects or flutter slowly over the tops of grasses.
They spend winters in South American forests, where they eat mainly fruit.
Kingbirds are “passerines,” a taxonomic group commonly referred to as perching birds or songbirds. But kingbirds and other flycatchers are in a different subgroup from true songbirds, and they don’t have nearly as complex voices. Rather than learning their calls they probably perform them innately. The young begin to give adult calls at about two weeks of age.
God created us to worship Him after He threw satan.
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” Isaiah 43:21
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Daves BirdingPix
Like these birds, worship in our lives should be innate.
But, what are we doing in our lives?
We seem to have preset, pre-timed and pre-modeled our spiritual lives in tune with traditional church practices. Come Sunday, we celebrate and worship like as if that would be the last day of our lives. What about week days? Week days seem to be weak days with no personal worship. Corporate worship is fine, but, if personal worship is missing in our lives, is it possible to survive the spiritual warfare against satan. After all, it’s the worship that breaks the hell loose isn’t it?
Did not Joshua and his men bring down the walls of Jericho through their worship?”
The worship of King Josiah’s choir brought them victory over their enemies isn’t it?
Peter and Silas worshipped and their worship broke their chains?
How many times have we read them all, but, do we practice them in our lives?
May be we think that these instances tell us about the power of corporate worship!
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2
If only we had set our lives based on the above verse, our lives would be as triumphant as King David isn’t it? That is the reason why God calls David as a man after His own heart!
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Acts 13:22
The Bible calls us as the Royal priesthood. The price to be paid to be called so is worship.
David worshipped at all times and God turned him into a king.
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1
It’s not called a kingbird for nothing. The Eastern Kingbird has a crown of yellow, orange, or red feathers on its head, but the crown is usually concealed.
We as children of the King of kings are not called the royal priesthood for nothing. That doesn’t mean that we are born with crowns over our heads, but, God is waiting
for us to finish our race to get our crown. We need to cross check our lives with that of the word of God to find out which crown we deserve to get at the end of the race.
Here are a few crowns waiting for us.
The Incorruptible Crown:
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I Corinthians 9:25
The crown of rejoicing:
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” 1 Thessalonians 2:19
The crown of righteousness:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8
The crown of glory:
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 1 Peter 5:4
The crown of life :
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10)
Above all God calls us as His crown. What privilege it is for sinners like me to be called as the crown that the Creator Himself holds in His hands!
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Isaiah 62:3
When they encounter a potential predator the kingbird may simultaneously raise its bright crown patch,stretch its beak wide open to reveal a red gape, and dive-bomb the intruder.
What do we do when we encounter satan’s plans in our lives?
Raise our crown?
Our God has given us double barreled ammunition to thwart and nullify satan’s plans. Be still and worship the King and He shall sent His heavenly army to raise a banner for us. For, He is Jehovah Nissi.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. Isaiah 59:19
Yours in YESHUA,
a j mithra
Thanks A J. Glad you are finally getting better and able to produce another great article for us. Our prayers are with you.
The Eastern Kingbird, featured in this article is part of the Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family. There are 11 Kingbirds in the family. They belong to flycatchers
As the name implies, a great majority of tyrant-flycatchers are entirely insectivorous (though do not necessarily specialized in flies). However, food can vary greatly and some (like the large Great Kiskadee) will eat fruit or small vertebrates (e.g. small frogs). In North America, most species are associated with a “sallying” feeding style, where they fly up to catch an insect directly from their perch and then immediately return to the same perch. Most tropical species however do not feed in this fashion and several types prefer to glean insects from leaves and barks. Tropical species are sometimes found in mixed-species foraging flocks, where various types of passerines and other smallish birds are found feeding in proximity. (Wikipedia)
Hosea 2:14 says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her” Did He not allure us and bring us from the wilderness of sin? He has been so kind to us that He still comforts us with His words, songs and above all with His presence and peace that passeth all understanding. What does this verse got to with the covenant? Hosea 2:16 has the answer to it. “And I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth,and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”
So? Does it not mean that we need to sing as in the days of our youth and as we sang when we came out of Egypt? Do we sing and worship the way we used to when we first met Jesus? Who would forget the day of salvation! The day when our hearts overflowed with the joy and peace that had never been experienced ever before! Do we have the same joy over the years?
Life has not been too kind for most of us. Battered and bruised we still are trying to come to terms with living a life that is pleasing unto God. During times of trouble, murmuring and self-pity takes our priority above singing and worshipping God. Look at the fowls of the air. Rain or shine they still keep singing like preset robots. No matter what kind of weather it is, the birds never stop their concert. Is God expecting this bird-kind of worship from us? Some of us may not know this bird-kinda worship. Here is how the birds sing.
Sombre Hummingbird (Aphantochroa cirrochloris) By Dario Sanches
Dawn Chorus is part of every bird’s daily routine. They never venture out in search of food before they finish their dawn chorus. Do we dawn chorus everyday or just the morn-chorus every Sunday? Do we know why birds dawn chorus?
Since they use most of their energy in singing and flying, birds have to eat once in every ten minutes like the hummingbirds, to once in couple of hours like raptors, depending upon the species,. How much energy do we use in singing for God is another question which we may have to ponder a little late! Coming back to where we left, birds do not eat from dusk to dawn, which can be called as an everyday hibernation period. If birds don’t eat well the previous evening, the chances of staying alive to deliver the dawn chorus the next morn is very minimal. So they need to eat well to stay fit to render their dawn chorus so as to advertise that they are still alive.We boast that we worship Jesus – The Life, the way and the truth. But, do we advertise every dawn that we are still alive? God says, “I love those who love me; And those who seek me early shall find me” Proverbs 8:17.
“Those who seek me early shall find me”, which means those who don’t seek early shall not find isn’t it? How early do we seek Him? The Israelites had to collect the dew wrapped manna before sunrise, else manna would melt and they may have to starve for the day. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1 & 14. The word of God is our daily manna. In other words, Jesus is our manna. Well, how many of us collect our daily manna before sunrise? Most of us are starving in spirit, is it because we seek God when the sun is over our heads? “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” Isaiah 55:6
God expects a dawn chorus from us and not a morn chorus. Each new morn would be a great blessing, when we kneel before God before our feet touches the ground. And it would be even more blessing when we open our mouth wide to praise and worship our eternal Father before we actually utter the first word for the day. Light is better seen in the dark. Remember, that Jesus is the Light. He expects us to seek Him early and not yearly. May be God will make a covenant with us if we too start singing not just the Sunday morn chorus but the dawn chorus like birds,.
“Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.” Psalm 108:2
Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster) by Peter Ericsson
“High voltage Singer”
Coming back to the question, “How much energy do we use in singing for God?” posted in the previous paragraph; it isn’t fair, yet, there is no other choice but to compare our singing with the singing of the birds. The song of a 5-gram Black-bellied Sunbird or that of a 45-gram Spectacled Spiderhunter can be heard as far as 300 to 400 meters. If they are as big as the Homo sapiens, their songs can be heard as far as 3 to 4 kilometers. If at all we sing, how loud do we sing for God? Paul and Silas sang and the earth shook inside the jail. But, these days, the singing inside a church doesn’t seem to even reach the roof of the church.
The secret lies in the noise that we make for God. All those who shouted for the Lord found immense favour from the Him. The noise of Joshua and his men tore down the walls of Jericho. We should know the size of the walls of this mighty for, to comprehend the real power of praise. The Archeologists who excavated the burnt city, explain the walls of Jericho like this,
The fortifications of Jericho were massive.
These walls were structured on a three-tiered plan. The walls started with an earthen rampart, or embankment, which ran from ground level, upwards on an incline to a stone retaining wall. The stone retaining wall stood 12 to 15 feet in height (4-5m).
On top of the stone wall, stood another wall made of mud-bricks, 6 feet (2m) thick, and 20 to 26 feet (6-8m) high. Together, these two walls combined to form a fortification 32 to 41 feet high.
To put this into perspective, envision a 4 story tall building. Such was the height of the walls of Jericho.
On the other side of the double wall, the embankment continued to climb upwards. At the summit of the embankment, another mud-brick wall stood.
At their base, the walls of Jericho stood 46 feet (14m) above ground level outside the retaining wall. To the Israelites below, Jericho seemed impenetrable.
The illusion created by the two walls on the bottom, and the large wall at the crest of the embankment, seemed to stand nearly 10 stories in height from ground level! From this height, the Israelites must have seemed like ants, and surely were deemed no threat whatsoever.”
None of us would have faced an enemy as big as this fort of Jericho in all our life. In other words, our trials and tribulations would look much smaller compared to the walls of Jericho. If a mighty fort can buckle under the power of praise, will not our shouts of praise melt away our miseries and misfortunes? Sadly we don’t seem to use it to good effect: but birds do it with what little energy they have and that maybe the reason God chose to make covenant with them,
Maybe God will make a covenant with us if we too start singing loud like these little avian singers.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth. Psalm 100:1
Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) by Nikhil Devasar
“LP (Long Play) Singer”
There are birds that sing for long durations. Birds like grasshopper warbler’s solo may last for over two minutes, nightjars may “chur” nonstop for eight minutes, a skylark may belt an unbroken heartfelt song for 18 minutes and an Oriental Magpie Robins would practice singing for more than half an hour to woo a potential female. To establish territories and to court females there is a bird called Dickcissels that would spend about 70 percent of the day singing while establishing territories and courting females. How long do we sing and worship every day to woo God’s presence. For God loves to dwell among our praises and the Bible says it too.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Psalm22:3
From dawn to dusk to summer to winter, every little movement of the planets and the billions of stars, the blooming of the flowers and the fruiting of the trees, every tiny creation under the sky are set in perfect motion each following different rhythmic patterns ensuing perfect harmony. There can be no better musician that God Himself. He orchestrates the whole universe like only He alone can. And that is the reason God assigned Moses to do something which he has never done before.
Before bidding goodbye for the last time to the people whom he led from Egypt through the wilderness, Moses was entrusted the job of teaching a song to the Israelites that God had personally composed.
Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.
And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.
Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. Deuteronomy 31:19-22
Moses did teach God’s real big song immediately to his people and that can be found in Deuteronomy 32. How would our church respond if our pastor taught us that same big song? Faces frown when worship session extends beyond the stipulated time by a few minutes and if still continues for another few more minutes, worship turn to murmur. That is ‘cause most people find themselves so restless when it comes to spending that extra few minutes in the presence of God. We measure our praise and worship but we want immeasurable blessings from God.
Maybe God wants us to sing for longer durations like our flying friends so as to make a covenant with us…
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”Psalm 34:1
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) by Dan
“All Season Singer”
“Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” Isaiah 6:2-3
Since creation the Cherubs and Seraphs had been singing Holy, Holy, Holy, non-stop 24×7. I wonder how they don’t get bored singing the same song for thousands of years. Most birds sing the same family song generation after generation after generation. The Northern Mocking birds sing all through the day and many a time can be heard even during the night. These slender birds never seem to get bored with singing. They also continue to add new sounds to their repertoires all through their lives. Don’t be surprised if someone says that a male Northern Mocking bird would learn more than 200 songs in its lifetime. That is their lifestyle, singing new songs all through the day and even during nights. A single male would sing longer than a male that has a family.
We prefer to worship only when life is on a rollercoaster. Do we sing and praise God at all times, during dark times in particular? May be that is the reason why God had not made a covenant with us yet is it? The Catholic Bible says that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego worshipped right inside the fiery furnace that was set to heat seven times more than normal. And our God who loves to dwell among praises descended down and took the three young men for a stroll right in the middle of the furnace. Wear on the garment of Praise and worship, for it is fire-proof you know! Think of Paul and Silas, who were battered and bruised for no fault and was thrown into the prison. Undeterred, they preferred to sing and praise God at the darkest hour. That’s when God shook the foundation of the prison, broke their bondage and also of the other inmates of the prison. Wear the garment of Praise and Worship and you will find that no chain can bind you or jail you…Hundreds of years passed between these two significant incidents. Sandwiched between those two incidents is another great worshipper is King David, who knew the secret of Praise and Worship and that is the reason he says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1
Maybe God is waiting to hear us sing at all times to make a covenant with us..
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) By Dan’sPix
“New Song Singer”
Some birds sing just one song all through their lives. But there are birds that have vast repertoires of over thousands songs too… Brown thrasher can sing 2,000 songs while an Red-eyed Vireo had been recorded to have sung 20.000 songs in a day. Northern mocking birds often learn new songs. Sometimes it may end up learning about 200 new songs every year, during adulthood the male needs to improvise its singing capabilities by practicing for hours together to impress upon its probable mate. The male that sings the most complex songs are in demand among the eligible females. Most female prefer to mate with the male which sings the most complex songs since, she thinks that the male that sings the most complex songs is best suited to raise and look after the family.
Male Black-throated blue warblers that had bred and reproduced successfully would sing to its offspring to influence their vocal development. If young birds fail to learn songs from their fathers, they would starve to death. Bird vocalization is absolutely necessary for the young birds to grow into a successful adult.
How many parents take time to teach new songs to their children? How many parents feel that children should go to Sunday school regularly? Raising a child is not about feeding clothing and sheltering alone . It is about teaching them survival traits which would help them rise into a successful parent in future. Those survival traits include worship, prayer, tithing, knowledge in the word of God and so on. Do we teach them to sing for God? If we as parents fail to teach them the power of worship and how it can change any bad situation, who else would? We don’t have to be musically trained to teach them new songs. The least could be family prayer both at dawn and dusk. Wherein we have the habit of singing hymns and choruses that would help parents expose their children to new songs. If a father smokes in front of his children, he is sure to see one of them smoke in the near future. And if a mother gossips in front of her child, she would surely end up seeing her child gossip too. Do we want to define machismo and femininity by smoking and gossiping? What we are is what our children are going to be. The ones who learn to worship God singing new songs even in times of trouble are the ones who are capable of overcoming any situation, bad or worse.
God doesn’t expect us to sing the same song over and over again; we have a better choice to sing new songs every day. Our God says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19. David knew the secret of touching God’s heart. Maybe that is the reason he made it a point to sing new songs for God. We may not sing thousands of song, do but do we have the habit of singing a few new songs for God? Is that the reason why God chose to make a covenant with birds instead?
“O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 96:1
Birds neither have a worship leader nor a worship team to lead them in singing. They know God’s plan in their lives. They also know that God had created them to sing and so they sing. No matter what, rain or shine, they never cease to sing. They sing on time, the time that God had set for each one of them. They do not overlap their singing instead they share space even in their singing. Homo Sapiens love to talk, talk and talk 24×7. We talk about our family and finance, sports and corruption, love and sex, marriage and divorce. At the end of the day most of all that we spoke through the day is found to be just rubbish. But birds always talk about global warming, climate change and natural disaster.
Duetting among birds not only help them stay close to each other but also to locate each other in dense foliage. Initially this behavior was thought be a battle of sexes, where duetting behavior reflects the struggle between bonding pair. But recent studies show that duetting is not about singing romantic duets but it is all about aggressive audio warfare, where it bonds a potential pair in defending territorial invasion by other bonding pairs.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” Mathew 18:20. When two are three gather in His name do they fill the air with “gossip” or “worship?”
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” Isaiah 43:21
God created man to just worship. But, we do every other thing except worshipping. Worse still, man’s priorities shifted from worshipping the One to be worshipped to worshipping the worship or the worship leader or the choir or the musician. Most churches feel that it’s the talent of the worship leader or the worship team or the selection of songs that is crucial in pulling off a successful worship session. It is time for us to switch on the search lights and check on how we worship God. Do we worship God in truth and in spirit? Don’t we prefer this worship leader than that worship leader? Don’t we feel that this worship team is better than the other worship team? Did we not say that the presence of God is mightier when that guy sings or plays the keyboard? Are we spiritual Christians or emotional Christians? Most believers treat church as a concert hall rather than a place of worship. That must be the reason why they prefer to listen to worship rather than to participate in worship. The reason they give, “I don’t have a good voice” God doesn’t look for a good voice but for a joyful noise.
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalm 98:4
Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasia capito) in nest by Ian
Most birds do not sing all through the day. As told earlier, they have a set time for their everyday concert, what researchers call as “Bird clock”. They know when to sing and when to stay silent. Do we know when to stay still and when to worship? The Bible calls us as the “Royal Priesthood”. Bible explains the robe of the Royal Priest like this.
“Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth,
with an opening for the head in its center. There shall be a woven edge like a collararound this opening, so that it will not tear.
Make pomegranatesof blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them.
The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe.” Exodus 28:31-34
The gold bells and the pomegranates that alternate around the hem of the robe show us how to live the life of a true worshipper. Bells make noise and pomegranates stay quite. In other words the alternate arrangement of gold bells and pomegranates seems to say that we need to know when to make a joyful noise and when to keep quite. Music is also an amalgamation of notes and pause. In other words music is not complete without pause. The birds know it well and help them sync so well with the bird clock. A royal priest also ought to know when to make noise and when to give a pause.
“And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.” Exodus 28:35
The sound of the bell should keep ringing while the priest is inside the holy place before the Lord. The sounds of the bells would die only if God slays the priest only after having found him to have sinned. This only substantiates the fact that we, the so-called royal priesthood need to make a joyful noise in His presence and if we don’t, it sounds like we are dead. We need to remember that, “The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.” Psalm 115:17.
Of all the languages, silence is the most powerful language on the face of the earth. Now that we know when to make noise, we also need to know when to pause too. The life of Jesus itself shows us importance of being still in silence. On more than one occasion Jesus did show us what silence can do. Jesus echoed the language of silence in the most profound mode on the cross of Calvary. If not for His silence, we would still be waiting for redemption. It was His silence that broke the shackles of sin to set us free from the clutches of satan. How silent are we in His presence? Do we take time to listen to Him or just go blah-blah in His presence?
Birds know when to sing their mating songs and when not to. They have a specific season for mating; unlike human beings whose birthday fall on every single day from January through December and that includes February 29th, the leap day too. Romancing for birds is seasonal, purposeful and decisive: whereas for Homo sapiens, it is more of lust than of commitment, a commitment to God’s eternal plans, per se. There is a season for everything. Do we adhere to God’s timing? In His time He makes all things beautiful and not in our time. Birds must be intrinsic to God’s time. That must be the reason for God to make a covenant with these feathered singers isn’t it?
“a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,” Ecclesiastes 3:7
Birds of the Bible – The Hidden Covenant ~ by AJ Mithra
(Written by A J – layout, photos, and sounds added by Lee)
The Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes – The flowing worship and the formal worship.. ~ by a j mithra
The Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes
are very similar species
whose breeding ranges overlap slightly.
Their songs and their habitats, while similar,
The pitch of the beginning notes
of the Louisiana’s song usually descend,
just as does the hilly stream
that is its preferred habitat.
The Northern Waterthrush prefers
bogs and waters that are flat,
just as its beginning notes stay
on the same pitch.
What sort of worship life
do we lead?
Does worship flow from within us?
Cos, when the Living Water flows
from within us,
our worship too would flow
like the Living Water.
When our life is stagnant
our worship too would turn
stale and stagnant…
Its time for us to switch on the
Search light to check,
if we have a flowing worship
or a formal worship…
when worship flows
“Whoever believes in me,
as the Scripture has said,
Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)
The Bible says,” But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; And the birds of the heavens, and they shall tell thee” Job 12:6
Birds are the most beautiful of all creations… Aren’t they? Of course they are.. If we have the heart to learn, there is indeed so much that we can learn from them; from living an organized lifestyle with what little they have and the way they take themselves and their homes and kids in times of adversities… Above all, we can learn a lot about music, about music and the most important part played by music in its life….
Birds have never been to a university. But the fact is that, most of the universities around the world are behind birds, learning new things everyday about them.
Out of all that we can learn from birds, the most amazing habit is their singing, what the birders call as bird calls of bird songs. Singing is their habit and way of living, but for us, singing is a hobby and we try to earn a living out of it… Remember God had created us to worship..
Birds are the only creations which start their day with singing and end their day with singing… You know why birds sing at dawn? It is just that they want to advertise to this world that they are still alive..
We call ourselves as Christians.. But do we really have Christ in us? How many mornings did we advertise to this world that JESUS – THE LIFE dwells in us? If we don’t sing praises in the morning, we should definitely scan our heart and soul to see if we are dead or alive. For the Bible says,
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence. (Psalms 115:17)
Oh! What joy they should have in their life to do so? A small Sun bird’s call can be heard as far as 300 to 400 meters. If a bird is as big as a human and if it sings,
Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica) by Clement Francis
its song can be heard as far as 3 to 4 kilometers… Well, that is what Ornithologists say… To sing that powerful, birds need lots of energy. Hence, they need to eat very often, because birds burn lot of calories on singing…
How loud do we sing in Church? Or do we sing at all in our personal prayer? Or do we act as if we are worshiping the Lord will all our heart in Church? Bible says, “Make a joyful noise,” it did not say voice, it says NOISE. Joshua and his men made NOISE and the fort of Jericho crumbled. Let us do it the Joshua way.
Maybe their early morning singing is the reason that they are able to fly hundreds of miles every day in search of food and water and yet returns home with so much of energy to end their day with another open-air concert … There is a saying which goes like this “Laughter is the best medicine.” Birds can’t laugh… Is that why they sing to show their joy? Where there is joy, there is strength… Prophet Nehemiah knew that secret that is why he says,
….: for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
Is that the reason why the birds are so strong that they can fly and we can’t? Birds never go to a doctor because they know that their music can heal them… Music has the power to heal you know?
Kind David’s music healed King Saul isn’t it? Your worship can heal people’s body, mind and soul. After all, GOD has kept life and death in our tongue. Let us use it for HIS glory..
Well, how many of us start or dare to start our day with singing? Where there is singing there is joy and where there is joy there is strength… It sounds so simple isn’t it? And it’s not just simple but, it’s powerful too… Birds know this secret and that’s why they bring so much joy through their singing…
No matter what the situation is, it is time for us to start our day with singing, for the KING is returning very soon. If we do not have the practice of singing here, we would never be able to sing in heaven along with the angels.
Birds sing in perfect pitch and perfect rhythm… Musicians use a software called “NEUNDO” for recording and the default set for the Tempo is 120 BPM (beats per minute)… The rhythm of the song of most birds is set to the tempo of 120 BPM… It sounds as if they had invented NEUNDO…Isn’t it quite astonishing or amazing or whatever you may call it? The syncopation of bird songs has intricate patterns and most of them are new to men… They sing very short phrases compared to human singing, but, their syncopation has complicated but complete rhythmic patterns…
Once as I was birding, I saw a Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) by Nikhil Devasar
perched on a dry tree. Suddenly the bird flew as far as about 50 meters and flew back to the same place where it was perched with a dragon-fly stuffed into its beak.. The dragon-fly was still alive. So, the little bird whacked its beak. Tak, tak, tak, tak, tak, five times on either side on the branch where it was perched to kill the dragon-fly all in one motion… Was just wondering, why it whacked five times… Then I found that, in music a rhythmic phrase always ends on the first beat of the next bar… Don’t we sing in a funeral? That’s what the Bee-eater did? Hm
they spontaneously sing complicated rhythmic patterns like a seasoned jazz player… Most composers avoid composing on 5/8 rhythm because of its limitation and the complications involved in the execution of a song in this rhythm…
from the Macaulay’s Library of Cornell’s lab of ornithology, sing in 5/8 rhythmic pattern… I felt so small in front of this small little bird when I heard that song… How it is possible for this little bird to sing in this one of the most complicated rhythmic pattern so spontaneously?
Each individual of Oriental Magpie Robin
Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) by Nikhil Devasar
(ORIENTAL MAGPIE ROBIN)
can sing more than fifteen songs per individual and each one is different… Just imagine how much competition would be there to impress upon the females?
There are birds like the Malabar Whistling Thrush,
Malabar Whistling Thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii) by Nikhil Devasar
(MALABAR WHISTLING THRUSH)
which is considered as one of the best singers of the bird community… Bird call specialists say that you would mistake its singing for a human whistling a song… But, I personally feel that, that statement shows human ego… If I sound arrogant, please forgive me for that, because, I personally feel that the song of the Malabar Whistling Thrush or any other bird on planet earth is ORIGINAL… NO COMPARISONS PLEASE… Each bird’s songs are special and they know that too.. That is why birds never get jealous of each other’s singing… Do they?
Researchers say that, if a bird doesn’t learn to sing early, the percentage of survival is minimized… This means Birds sings for survival… The mother bird feeds the chick which shouts the most first… So, the louder you sing the more you eat…
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalms 81:10)
Imagine if the same rule applies for mankind, how many of us would still be alive? Most would’ve starved to death and Churches would be empty isn’t it? How long are we going to zip our mouth in the presence of the Lord? Let us open our mouth and He shall open the windows of heaven and fill us and we shall over flow..
Birds sing to attract their mate… A bird which sings the best gets the most attractive mate… If again, the same rule applies to us, scores of us would still be bachelors isn’t it? If again, we don’t sing, our eternal bridegroom would never come near us. Because, our GOD dwells among our praises..
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalms 22:3)
Remember, most of us prefer to sing in the bathroom rather than in the church! We sing for applause, name, fame and money. If we start applauding, each time a bird sings, I wonder if any bird could live near us, for they will fly away and never venture to sing before a man again… But, Birds sing for the sheer joy of singing… When would we learn to live like them?
has a sound which resembles the wood block, a percussion instrument, which originated from Africa… Maybe the Africans were inspired by the bird’s call… There are tales after tales that say how man was inspired by nightingales and sparrows and cuckoos for their inspiring songs…
Birds never keep singing the same old songs all through their lives… To impress upon their mates they try to outwit their male subordinates by improvising their songs time and again… After all, female birds feel that, the males which sing the most complicated songs are the ones which are capable of taking care of their families better… Is that why, great teachers like Socrates and Pythagoras taught music first before they taught mathematics and astronomy?
King David knew God’s heart that is why he says,
I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. (Psalms 144:9)
We stop teaching our kids with rhymes than music; and that too only till the kindergarten level… If only we had been singing all through our lives, this world would’ve been rid of jealousy, ego, hatred, terrorism and the list may go on and on… If Osama Bin Laden had practiced music, he would’ve been a carrying a 4-stringed Oudh – an Arabian stringed instrument plucked with the Quill of an Eagle’s feather, instead of an AK47…
Birds live in perfect harmony not only among themselves but also with the flow of nature… Once I heard a territorial call of an Indian bird called Common Iora.
Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis
Each one was answering one another’s territorial calls. They both were singing similar phrase. Slowly, the calls turned a bit aggressive I thought; because, one was answering before the other could finish singing its phrase. At one particular point when one overlapped the other’s call, like what we call singing cannon in music, it turned into a harmony. As a musician, I know it was perfect harmony. But, I don’t know if it was intentional or accident. All that I heard was perfect harmony. They are in harmony with time and season. Rain or shine, no matter what happens around them the birds are able to sing.
Do we find harmony at home, in school, in our office, in our church? If only we knew the power of harmony, we Christians will not have thousands of denominations. If we knew the effect of harmony, by this time every soul would have accepted Christ as their savior… If we had learned to live in harmony, this world would be a better place to live.
A home or a street or a town or a city or a state or a country which encourages and practices music will live in PERFECT HARMONY… After all music is all about harmony and perfection of body, mind and soul… Most Christian families do not have family prayer and worship.. We think that Sunday worship in Church is suffice. Unless we live in perfect harmony at home, would it be possible to have harmony in the places where we go. Well, ministry starts at home.
It is because of us trying to move against the flow of nature that the world is facing severe biological catastrophe. If only we could learn to live in harmony with nature? This world would be the same as it was in the beginning. It may be too late and too hard to live in harmony with nature right now. But, we can surely postpone the inevitable to a certain extent. This can happen only when we unite together in harmony and save earth so that they Birds can sing and sing and sing forever and ever… Come on, rain or shine, let us all learn to sing like birds at all times and live in PERFECT HARMONY with GOD and HIS creations..…
(a j mithra wrote the article and Lee supplied some photos, videos and the sounds-not all recordings match his descriptions)
Indian Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena) pairby Nikhil Devasar
they wouldn’t find
if they don’t find a mate,
there would be
If there is no reproduction,
there would a major
If we don’t worship,
the presence of the LORD
wouldn’t be there,
if the presence of the LORD
the church would be empty,
if the churches are empty
there would be a
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3)
White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis) by Tom Tarrant
Birds choose to mate
only with those birds
which sing the most
they believe that
only those birds
which sing different songs,
are good at raising
taking care of the family
and the territory…
sang for the LORD
at all times…
Is that the reason why
GOD certifies David
as the one who pleases
Would GOD say of us
like how HE said of David?
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. (Acts 13:22)
Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil
While updating theBirds in Hymns page, I had to read through the hymns to find the references to the birds. What struck me, is the depth of the writings of these hymn writers. Many of these were written in the 1,700 and 1,800s. These are not the shallow words of today, but are filled with great doctrinal truths, praise and worship for our Savior.
We here on the blog use the birds that God has created to teach you about them, but also to make applications that will help us with our lives. That is how many of the birds are used in Scripture, to learn from them by way of illustrations of truths to help make us better Christians or to become Christians.
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. (Psalms 89:1 NKJV)
Below are just some of the examples I pulled out. Time spent reading through the hymns, will be a blessing to you.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessèd will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
The Hermit Warbler lives in the tops
of some of the tallest trees on the planet…
It is more easily heard than seen while they forage for hidden insects,
or as they pluck berries from a dense grove of evergreen holly trees.
Hermit Warbler (Dendroica occidentalis) by Daves BirdingPix
Here again we have another bird who loves
to dwell among the holly trees like the Azores Bullfinch…
They are heard but not seen, cos, they dwell in high places…
Adam and Eve chose a different hiding place after they sinned..
GOD could hear them but cannot see..
If JESUS comes in search of us, where will he find us?
Where is your hiding place?
Can we boldly proclaim like Psalmist?
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. (Psalm 119:114)
Where have we set our affections?
Do we beseech JESUS who was lifted high for our sins?
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Hermit Warblers are most often found in mature coniferous forests,
from sea level to the mountains.
During breeding season,
they are most common in stands over 30 years old,
and are generally absent from stands under 20 years old.
They are generally found in the interior of large forests,
high in the canopy…
How do they know the age of stands?
From where did they receive this wisdom?
Do you feel that you lack in wisdom?
Here is a secret,
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
During migration and post-breeding,
Hermit Warblers are commonly found in mixed flocks.
When foraging they hop about the foliage,
moving from the trunk outward to branch tips
and then starting back at the trunk.
They also glean items from the foliage
while hovering, and will fly out to catch aerial prey.
Hermit Warblers can hang upside-down
to glean from the undersides of leaves and twigs.
Their preference for high, dense foliage
makes them difficult to spot,
but they can be heard singing regularly during the breeding season.
Males arrive on the breeding grounds before females.
They establish and defend territories by singing…
These birds know the secret of defense…
Our praise is the greatest defense against any attack
that satan may plan..
GOD loves to dwell among our praises,
and that is why Prophet Nehemiah appointed singers to
guard the walls of the city; you can read that in
the book of Nehemiah chapter 7…
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10)