Birding Cures Boredom

If you live in the United States, you’ve probably seen this Song Sparrow bird in your yard. Did you know Jesus talks about sparrows in the Bible? Look up Luke 12:6-7! ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Hey kids, bored yet? If you are like my two daughters, you are practically begging for something to do at this point. Instead of wasting your brain on electronic gadgets (unless reading Lee’s Birds of the Bible for Kids, of course), how about enjoying some birds and Bible! You might learn something too!

The Bible tells us that on Day 5 of creation, God created all the birds (Genesis 1:21). If you look closely, there is a wide variety of different birds. Get a chair and sit in your backyard for thirty minutes in the morning. Even if you don’t know their names, write down the total number of individual birds you see; count how many different kinds there are making visits. How many different colors are there? Make notes if they are staying up in trees, or coming to feed on the ground. Do they have long, skinny beaks, or short fat beaks? Now close your eyes and listen. How many different kinds of bird calls do you hear?

And if there aren’t too many birds outside, make a “virtual bird list”! Explore the pages of Lee’s Birds of the Bible for Kids and list how many different birds you see on the website in five minutes. Make a list of the Bible verses you see on the pages too.

But if none of that is interesting, you could always ask your parents to assign you some chores!

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.


Hi kids, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I gave my life to Jesus while studying wildlife biology in college and soon fell in love with the Creator and His wonderful universe and creatures. My favorite animals are birds, coyotes, alligators and snakes! Each month I teach lessons from the Bible using nature and wildlife to the “creation kids” in my Creation Speaks Sunday School. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Migration Is Starting And The Birds Are Heading Out

Common Cranes in Israel. Many species of crane gather in large groups during migration and on their wintering grounds

Common Cranes in Israel. Many species of crane gather in large groups during migration and on their wintering grounds

“Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)

This time of the year, the birds start gathering together to migrate, or move, to their winter place. The birds in Australia, begin flying north to their summer place. But they like to fly in groups. This helps keep them secure and going in the right direction. The cartoon below is cute, but God has built into birds a very accurate way to migrate. A few birds become confused in storms and become “lost.” Even then, many of them still arrive at their destinations.

Migration – Family Circus

The V-formation helps the birds use less energy. This enables the birds to travel the long distances much easier. There are several articles written that you might want to read:

Bible Birds – The Bat?

 

Giant Fruit Bat at Cincinnati Zoo 9-5-13 by Dan

Giant Fruit Bat at Cincinnati Zoo by Dan

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
(Leviticus 11:19-23 KJV)

While we were at the Cincinnati Zoo, we were able to see and photograph several Bat species. They were really cool and I wanted to share them with you.

Giant Fruit Bat at Cincinnati Zoo 9-5-13 by Lee

Giant Fruit Bat at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Then I remembered that I had written about them in Birds of the Bible – The Bat?, in 2010. That article was about the controversy over whether a Bat is a Bird. This time, I am mainly sharing the photos of the Bats that are there at the Zoo and comments about them. Just one personal observation about the above verses. The use of “fowl” in the King James Version and some of the others seems to refer to any creature that had wings and flies. I quoted the whole context because; 1) The verse and chapter separations were inserted later, 2) Birds, bats, and insects all seem to be referred to with the same collective term, “fowl.” I do not have a problem with the bat. It is not a bird.

The only other verses using “bat” or “bats” are:

And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV)

In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; (Isaiah 2:20 KJV)

The bats we saw at the Cincinnati Zoo were the Giant Fruit Bats and the Vampire Bats. They are amazing creatures of design and creation from their Creator, the Lord.

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Giant Fruit Bat at Cincinnati Zoo 9-5-13 by Lee

Giant Fruit Bat’s Foot amazed me

Giant Fruit Bat (Pteropus giganteus) or Indian Flying Fox is found in Bangladesh, China, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Also known as the greater Indian fruit bat, it lives in mainly forests. It is a very large bat with a wingspan between 3 ft 10 in and 4 ft 10 in (1.2 and 1.5 m). It is nocturnal and feeds mainly on ripe fruits, such as mangoes and bananas, and nectar. This bat is gregarious and lives in colonies which can number a few hundred. Their offspring have no specific name besides ‘young’. They have one to two young.

The Indian flying fox lives in tropical forests and swamps, where a large body of water is nearby.

The way they were hanging up there amazed me. I zoomed in and took a photo of its foot. Also, they almost looked like a large cocoon hanging up there with the wings wrapper around them. The first photo, Dan caught one of them stretching.

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Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus) Cincinnati Zoo 9-5-13 by Lee

Common Vampire Bat Cincinnati Zoo by Lee (Shot through glass into a dark exhibit)

(Common) Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus) – The common vampire bat mainly feeds on the blood of livestock, approaching its prey at night while they are sleeping. It uses its razor-sharp teeth to cut open the skin of its hosts and laps up their blood with its long tongue. They are native to the New World, ranging from Mexico to Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.

The common vampire bat is short-haired, with silver-gray fur on its undersides, sharply separated from the darker fur on its back. It has small, somewhat rounded ears, a deeply grooved lower lip, and a flat, leaf-shaped nose. A well-developed, clawed thumb on each wing is used to climb onto prey and to assist the animal in take-off. The bat averages about 3.5 in (9 cm) long with a wingspan of 7 in (18 cm). It commonly weighs about 2 oz (57 grams), but its weight can double after a single feeding. The braincase is relatively large, but the snout is reduced to accommodate large incisors and canines. It has the fewest teeth among bats.

Common Vampire Bat - Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Common Vampire Bat – Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Common vampire bats have good eyesight. They are able to distinguish different optical patterns and may use vision for long-range orientation. These bats also have well-developed senses of smell and hearing: the cochlea (ear) is highly sensitive to low-frequency sounds, and the nasal passages are relatively large. They emit echolocation signals orally, and thus fly with their mouths open for navigation.

Common Vampire Bat - Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Common Vampire Bat – Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

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(Wikipedia with editing)

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Links:

Cincinnati Zoo

Giant Fruit Bats – Cincinnati Zoo

Indian Flying Fox – Wikipedia

Vampire Bats – Cincinnati Zoo

Common Vampire Bat – Wikipedia

Bible Birds

Birds of the Bible – The Bat?

Birds of the Bible

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Whale

Humpback Whale breaching ©Wikipedia

Humpback Whale breaching ©Wikipedia

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Whale

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The whale is mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible, 21st verse.

And God created great whales.

Some suppose that large fish of every kind are here meant.

An animal called the leviathan is described in one of the last chapters of Job, which some suppose to be the whale. It certainly means a large and strong animal, as you will see by the questions asked about him:

Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook ? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put a hook in his nose ? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? When he raiseth himself up, the mighty are afraid. The arrow cannot make him flee; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear; he maketh the deep to boil like a pot; one would think the deep to be hoary.

This is like the whale in some things; but you will remember that it is not certain that he is meant.

Humpback whale jumping©WikiC

Humpback whale jumping©WikiC

The common whale for which so many sailors are always seeking on the great ocean, is an enormous animal. It is often found seventy feet long; and it is said that they have been found of the length of a hundred feet. If you do not know how long this would be, you will do well to ask some friend to tell you of a building or something else with which you can compare it; for it is not very likely that you will ever see the whale itself, and its size is very wonderful. It is covered with a coat of fat, sometimes more than a yard thick; and when this is cut up and put over fires in great kettles, a hundred barrels of oil are sometimes obtained from a single whale.

Perhaps you already know how they take the whale. As soon as the sailors see one, they go towards him in a boat until they get as near to him as they dare. Then they throw their harpoons at him; these are sharp-pointed irons, fastened to a very long rope, one end of which they keep in the boat. As soon as the whale is wounded, he dives down into the water, and swims away to some distance. He is usually obliged to come up again in about half an hour to breathe, for he cannot live all the while under water; and then the men throw other harpoons at him. Sometimes he comes so near as to upset the boat with a blow of his strong tail. The picture shows you a scene of this kind, where the boat was tossed into the air, the men thrown out, and one of them drowned.

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Whale

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Unicorn

Herd of Addax: note how the horns of one animal at rest on the right appear to be joined as one horn.

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Unicorn

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

There is only this animal mentioned in the Bible, the name of which begins with U, and of this I cannot give you a picture, because no person now knows what sort of an animal it was. Some suppose it was a kind of wild goat; others think that it was a sort of deer; and others, that it was what we call the rhinoceros. Perhaps you have seen pictures with the name of the unicorn under them; but you must remember that those who made them only guessed it was so, and that no person can certainly tell what it was.
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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Unicorn

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Unicorn

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Sheep

Matterhorn Sheep©WikiC

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Sheep

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

I suppose you think you already know as much about sheep and lambs as I can tell you, and perhaps you do. Yet I dare say you never took up your Bible to see how many times they are mentioned there, or how many beautiful things are said about them. Abel, who, as you know, was the third man that lived on the earth, was a

keeper of sheep;

and there have always been a great many shepherds in the world from that time to this. Some of the men who lived in old times had a great many sheep. Job had seven thousand, which God allowed to be taken from him; but afterwards gave him twice as many-fourteen thousand. At the time when Solomon’s beautiful temple was dedicated to God, he offered a sacrifice of a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. If you want to know how many that is, try to think of a pasture with a hundred sheep in it-then think of a hundred pastures, just like it, with just as many sheep in each-then think of those hundred pastures taken twelve times over, and you will begin to understand how many there were. It is not common with us to have persons whose whole business it is to take care of sheep, but that was always the way in Bible countries. This was not done by servants, at least not always; for a great many rich men employed their children as shepherds. Rachel, who was afterwards the wife of Jacob,

kept her father’s sheep

-so did Jacob’s twelve sons-so did Moses for his father-in-law.

Sheep Fold©WikiC

Sheep Fold©WikiC

When God was about to make David king, he sent Samuel the prophet to do it by anointing him, or putting oil upon his head. David had six brothers, and Samuel did not know which of all the sons was to be king; but both he and their father Jesse supposed it would be one of the older ones, and nobody remembered even to call little David, who had been left with the sheep, until they found that he was the one whom God had chosen. David often spoke of his shepherd-life after he became a king, and even when he was an old man. You remember that most beautiful psalm of his, the twenty-third,

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want: he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

That is the way they are accustomed to do in those countries: the shepherd walks on, and the sheep follow where he wishes them to go. So Christ says,

And when he (the shepherd) putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

The sheep in many countries are in danger from wolves, which prowl about and try to carry them off; so it is necessary to watch them by night as well as by day. You remember the shepherds were watching their flocks by night when the bright angels appeared to tell the glad tidings that A SAVIOR had come; and they were the first to hear that sweet song in the stillness of the night, when all around were hushed in sleep.

Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd

The sheep is so timid and gentle that it needs the protection of man, and without the care of the shepherd would often stray away and be lost, or devoured by other animals. David says,

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;

and in Isaiah we read,

All we like sheep have gone astray.

Is not this true of us-that we have gone away, far away, from Jesus our good shepherd? Perhaps, dear child, you are wandering still; but why should you thus go on, alone, and every hour in danger? Why should you, when he calls you back with his voice of kindness, and is ready to

gather you with his arms, and carry you in his bosom.

as the shepherd does his tender lambs?

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Sheep

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Sheep

(Photos ©WikiC)

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