Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

“And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

“The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Swans are mentioned in these two verses in the KJV Bible. Some other versions list it as another bird. For now, let us learn about the beautiful Swans that the Lord created.

Both of the Swan verses above are found in the “do not eat” list that the Lord gave to the “children of the LORD your God.” Who would want to eat such great looking birds?

Swans are in the Anatidae Family which includes Ducks, Geese and Swans. There are seven species which include these:

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

Some Interesting Facts:

  • The Trumpeter Swan has the most contour feathers of any bird. (25,216) That doesn’t count the downy feathers.
  • Swans can fly as fast as 60 miles per hour!
  • A male swan is called a cob, and a female swan is called a pen.
  • A baby swan is called a cygnet.
  • The largest species, including the mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, can reach length of over 1.5 m (60 inches) and weigh over 15 kg (33 pounds). Their wingspans can be almost 3 m (10 ft).

 

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Bible Birds – Swan

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Swan

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family

Wordless Birds

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Bible Birds – Swallow Introduction

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) by Nikhil Devasar

Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) by Nikhil Devasar

Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)

Previously, we introduced the Thrush and used the above verse. Today, we will look at that same verse, but from a different version of Scripture that translates the bird as a Swallow. Here is the same little Greek study for you: The Greek word (the OT was written mostly in Greek) gives the word (H5693) עגוּר -or – ‛âgûr (aw-goor’) An unused root meaning to twitter; probably the swallow: – swallow. Translations using the word Swallow, have more than one verse that refers to the bird. The New King James Version has these other verses:

Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. (Psalms 84:3 NKJV) Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, So a curse without cause shall not alight. (Proverbs 26:2 NKJV) Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; My eyes fail from looking upward. O LORD, I am oppressed; Undertake for me! (Isaiah 38:14 NKJV)

So there are at least four verses with the Swallow listed. The Swallows belong to the Hirundinidae – Swallows, martins Family. There are 88 members in the family at present. Many times in the Bible they mention a bird‘s name and then say “after its kind.” For now, let’s just same that it means all of those species in that family. The Swallows also have Saw-wings and Martins in the family. They live on all the continents except Antarctica.

This family is known for their aerial feeding. taking flying insects on the wing. Swallows hunt insects on the wing because they were designed with a slender, streamlined body and long pointed wings, which allow great maneuverability and endurance, as well as frequent periods of gliding. Their body shape allows for very efficient flight, which costs 50-75% less for swallows than equivalent passerines of the same size. Swallows usually forage at around 18.6-25 mph (30–40 km/h), although they are capable of reaching speeds of between 31-40 mph (50–65 km/h) when traveling.

The legs are short, and their feet were created for perching rather than walking, as the front toes are partially joined at the base. Swallows are capable of walking and even running, but they do so with a shuffling, waddling gait. The leg muscles of the river martins (Pseudochelidon) are stronger and more robust than those of other swallows.

The most common plumage is glossy dark blue or green above and plain or streaked underparts, often white or rufous. Species which burrow or live in dry or mountainous areas are often matte brown above (e.g. Sand Martin and Crag Martin). The typical song of swallows is a simple, sometimes musical twittering.

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) by J Fenton

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) by J Fenton

Our verse above mentions the birds and how they KNOW when it is time to migrate, but what about the end of the verse? The Lord uses birds and other critters as an example, BUT He is mainly trying to teach us something.

Let’s see what some of the different versions say about what we are supposed to learn from these birds.

(HCSB)  ”are aware of their migration, but My people do not know the requirements of the LORD.”

(MSG) …know when it’s time to move south for winter… know when it’s time to come back again. But my people? My people know nothing, not the first thing of GOD and his rule.

(NET) …knows when it is time to move on…recognize the normal times for their migration. But my people pay no attention to what I, the LORD, require of them.

Do you know what the Lord wants you to do? Do you know Him as your Savior? If you do, are you doing what the Bible tells us we should do? Are you obeying your parents? And doing what the Lord wants you to do?.

The Lord loves us, just as your parents do. When you obey them you are happier and blessed. When you do not obey, are you happy or sad? The same is true with obeying the Word that the Lord has given us through His Word, the Bible.

See:

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Bible Birds – Sparrows I

Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans) by Nikhil Devasar

Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans) by Nikhil Devasar

In the Bible, the Sparrows are mentioned in 7 verses. Check out these from the NKJV:

Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young— Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. (Psalms 84:3 NKJV)

I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. (Psalms 102:7 NKJV)

Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, So a curse without cause shall not alight. (Proverbs 26:2 NKJV)

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)

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31 NKJV)

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. (Luke 12:6 NKJV)

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7 NKJV)

Sparrows are not always thought of very highly. Many people think they are just “little brown birds” and are of no use. But is that what the Scriptures says in those verses? No.

What can you learn from those verses?

The sparrow has found a ____________

The sparrow is found on the __________________

How does the sparrow fly? (see Proverbs 26:2) _______________

Who is aware of or allows a sparrow to fall to the ground? ______________

Are sparrows forgotten by God? ______________

How many sparrows were sold for one copper coin? ________

For two copper coins? ___________

Who is more valuable, you or a sparrow? _____________

We will talk more about Sparrows in the next Bible Birds – Sparrows II. For now, here are a few pictures of different Sparrows around the world.

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Bible Birds – Sparrows

Wordless Birds

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Bible Birds – Ravens I

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
(Genesis 8:6-7 KJV)

Did you know that is the first bird in the Bible that we are told its name. In Genesis 1 and 2 we are told that the LORD created the birds or fowls, but we don’t know what their names were. Adam gave them names in Genesis 1, but their names are not mentioned.

Ravens are in 11 verses in the Bible (KJV). We will be telling you about them.

The Raven is the largest bird in the Passerine order (Perching and songbirds), able to grow up to 27.1 inches (69 cm) in length. Males are not much different from the females, though the female might be a bit smaller. Both genders are known for their iridescent (shiny)  black feathers covering their bodies, with a bluish hint in the light. Ravens are distinguished from other birds in the Corvus Genus (such as the crows) by their wedge-like tail, large beak, hackles (shaggy neck feathers), and their tendency to soar in flight.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) ©CreationWikiC

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) ©CreationWikiC

Did you know that the Ravens fed a prophet? God told them to feed him and they obeyed. I Kings 17 tells us about it. We tell you about it in another article.

How about Ravens not building barns? Luke 12:24

The Lord used the Ravens to do errands for Him. Do you do the errands your parents ask you to do?

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20 NKJV)

See:

Bible Birds – Raven

Bible Birds

Ravens – CreationWiki

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Bible Birds – Peacocks I

 

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22 KJV)

For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (2 Chronicles 9:21 KJV)

In my reading today in I Kings 10, I came to the peacocks arriving to Israel via the Navy of Tharshish or Tarshish. We have written about them in Birds of the Bible – Peacocks (2008) and Birds of the Bible – Pied Peacock and Allies (2011). It’s time to see what else can be discovered about these beautifully created birds by the Lord.

Peacock Feather

Peacock Feather

We know He, The LORD, questioned Job about the Peacocks “goodly wings” in Job 39.

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (Job 39:13 KJV)

Now, in I Kings and II Chronicles, the Peacocks are arriving in ships by the Navy of Tharshish. It appears that every three years those ships arrived with its precious cargos. Where had the ships gone to collect these items. There is speculation by some writers that the ships went west to Spain and other think in another way toward India and areas in that direction. The Bible does not say, so, we really don’t know.

Does that make you curious? It make me wonder where they found those peacocks.

Checking the history of Peacocks from CreationWiki and Wikipedia, they say that there are two species of Peafowl from Asia and one species from Africa. Is that were they got these Peacocks mentioned here in Scripture? When you are reading the Bible, do questions like this every give you an urge to dig a little deeper?

First, the “Peacocks” are the males. The females are called “Peahen” and their chicks are called “Peachicks.”  Collectively the birds are called Peafowl. They all belong to the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.

The two species from India-Asia are the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

and the Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus).

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

The African member of the family is the Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis).

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Here are some of the thought of various commentaries:

JFB – once in three years — that is, every third year. Without the mariner’s compass they had to coast along the shore. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the north coast of Africa, where the animals were to be found. They were particularized, probably as being the rarest articles on board.

Geneva – By Tharshish is meant Cilicia, which was abundant in the variety of precious things.

Darby – 1 Kings 10:1-29 – The king of Tyre also was dependent on the king of Israel; and the queen of Sheba comes from the far south to delight herself in the wisdom of the head of God’s people, and to be filled with wonder at the sight of his glory, and to praise Jehovah who had raised him so high, and who had blessed the people in giving him to be their king. She also came with gifts; for the king’s renown had spread into distant lands. Nevertheless, although it was a true report that she had heard, the sight of his glory went far beyond all that had been said of it.

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

We have no clear idea of where they came from, and it really does not matter other than we are told they came by ship. We know that Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest king because God promised him back when he prayed for wisdom.

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in….. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. (1 Kings 3:7-14 KJV)

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Wow! Is that not true of those of us who know the Lord? The Lord answers our prayers many times by giving us much more than we ever asked for. As long as our prayers are in line with His Word.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:17-20 KJV)

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Bible Birds – Owl Introduction

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia) by Reinier Munguia

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia) by Reinier Munguia

The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. (Isaiah 43:20 KJV)

“Owl” is mentioned in 8 verses in the KJV and the word “Owls” is in 6 verses.

  • The owls, little owls, great owls, and screech owls are in the Bible.
  • Other versions list – horned owls, eagle owl, short-eared, long-eared owl, barn owl and a white owl.
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

The first mention of owls in the Bible is in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that list the unclean birds that are not to be eaten.

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, (Leviticus 11:16-17 KJV)

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
(Deuteronomy 14:15-16 KJV)

Little Owl (Athene noctua) by Raymond Barlow

Little Owl (Athene noctua) by Raymond Barlow

Owls are divided into two (2) families.

The Barn Owls (Tytonidae Family) are medium to large-sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long, strong legs with powerful talons (claws). They also differ from the Typical Owls (Strigidae Family) in the sternum (breast) and feet.

They live in a wide range of habitats from deserts to forests, and from temperate latitudes to the tropics. Little is known of many of them. The barn-owls are mostly nocturnal (active at night), and generally non-migratory, living in pairs or singly.

The barn-owls’ main characteristic is the heart-shaped facial disc, formed by stiff feathers which serve to amplify and locate the source of sounds when hunting. Their wing feathers were created to eliminate sound caused by flying, aiding both the hearing of the owl listening for hidden prey and keeping the prey unaware of the owl. Barn-owls overall are darker on the back than the front, usually an orange-brown colour, the front being a paler version of the back or mottled, although there is considerable variation even amongst species. The bay-owls closely resemble the Tyto owls but have a divided facial disc, ear tufts, and tend to be smaller.

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

The Typical Owls (Strigidae Family) is a large family that comprises around 189 living species in 25 genera. The typical owls have a cosmopolitan distribution and are found on every continent except Antarctica.

While typical owls vary greatly in size, with the smallest species, the Elf Owl, being a hundred times smaller than the largest, the Eurasian Eagle-Owl and Blakiston’s Fish Owl, owls generally share an extremely similar body plan. They tend to have large heads, short tails, cryptic plumage and round facial discs around the eyes. The family is generally arboreal (live in trees) (with a few exceptions like the Burrowing Owl) and obtain their food on the wing. The wings are large, broad, rounded and long.

Owls are generally nocturnal and spend much of the day roosting. They are often perceived as tame since they will allow people to approach quite closely before taking flight, but they are instead attempting to avoid detection. The cryptic plumage (help camouflage them) and inconspicuous locations (not likely to be seen or noticed) adopted are an effort to avoid predators and mobbing by small birds.

We will learn more about these beautifully created birds in other Bible Birds – Owls articles.

See:

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Bible Birds – Lessons From The Heron

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) by Lee

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) by Lee

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

I have been thinking about that Green Heron in the video I previously. (Green Heron Fishing With Bread) The verse above makes me think there has to be some lessons to learn from it. These are just some of my thoughts and I am sure you can come up with some of your own.

One that comes to thought right off is that bird’s patience. Are we?

These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. (Psalms 104:27-28 KJV)

The verse used in the article tells how the Lord protects and provides for His creation. Will He not provide for us also. He loves us and wants to meet our needs, just as was provided for this Heron.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

Another lesson is that the bird is doing something that we wouldn’t think it could do. You wonder where it learned that behavior. For us, the Lord wants us to do something, and if we are willing, we are amazed at what we can do. Things we would never think we had the capacity to do He helps us perform..

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23 KJV)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

He (the heron) has a goal in mind and isn’t going to give up even though it takes several attempts to accomplish his goal. The Lord tells us to become “fishers of men” and we need to keep trying and not give up. Even when our “bread” is down to hardly anything and you think you might as well give up, you try one more time.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. (1 Corinthians 3:7-8 KJV)

On a more light side, I am not so sure that the Heron wasn’t bordering on “gluttony.” Did you see that last part where it is swallowing the fish. Looks like it almost “bit of more than it could chew.”

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:14 KJV)

These are but a few and if you have some, leave a comment and share them with us.

Bible Birds

Bible Birds – Herons

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible

Wordless Birds

Bible Birds – Heron’s Introduction

Great Blue Heron by Dan

Great Blue Heron by Dan

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19)

Herons belong to the Family of Herons, Bitterns and Egrets called Ardeidae. There are 72 different types of Bitterns and Egrets, but most the species are the Herons. When the Bible says “after her kind” they are referring to that whole family of birds.

The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, (some are called “egrets” or “bitterns” instead of “heron”). Within Ardeidae, all members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as “bitterns”, and Zigzag Heron or Zigzag Bittern. However, egrets are not a separate group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white and/or have decorative plumes. Although egrets have the same build as the larger herons, they tend to be smaller.

Although herons look like birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched.

Green Heron - From Color Key

Green Heron – From Color Key

HERONS, EGRETS, AND BITTERNS. Ardeidæ.

Bill usually straight and sharply pointed; lores naked; head feathered; tarsus with transverse scales; middle toe-nail pectinate or with a comblike edge. (From Color Key to North American Birds, by Frank M. Chapman)

The herons are medium to large sized birds with long legs and necks. The smallest species is usually considered the Little Bittern, which can measure under 12 in (30 cm) in length, although all the species in the Ixobrychus genus are small and many broadly overlap in size. The largest species of heron is the Goliath Heron, which stand up to 60 in (152 cm) tall. The necks are able to kink in an s-shape, due to the modified shape of the sixth vertebrae. The neck is able to retract and extend, and is retracted during flight, unlike most other long-necked birds. The neck is longer in the day herons than the night herons and bitterns. The legs are long and strong and in almost every species are unfeathered. In flight the legs and feet are held backward. The feet of herons have long thin toes, with three forward pointing ones and one going backward.

Tricolored Heron Immature Lake Morton 8-3-12

Tricolored Heron Immature Lake Morton 8-3-12

The bill is generally long and harpoon like. It can vary from extremely fine, as in the Agami Heron, to thick as in the Grey Heron. The most atypical bill is owned by the Boat-billed Heron

Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) Lowry Park Zoo 9-15-12

Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) Lowry Park Zoo 9-15-12

which has a broad thick bill. The bill, as well as other bare parts of the body, is usually yellow, black or brown coloured, although this colour can vary during the breeding season. The wings are broad and long, with 10-11 primaries primaries feathers (the Boat-billed Heron has only nine), 15-20 secondaries and 12 rectrices (10 in the bitterns). The feathers of the herons are soft and the plumage is usually blue, black, brown, grey or white, and can often be strikingly complex.

the stork, the heron of any kind; the hoopoe and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 ESV)

The Herons listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 were on a list of birds that were not to be eaten.
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More Bible Birds

Bible Birds – Herons

Wordless Birds
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Bible Birds – Hawk Migration

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) ©USFWS

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) ©USFWS

Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? (Job 39:26 ESV)

Job was being asked by the Lord if he knew how and why the Hawk knows that it needs to go south for the winter. The Lord is smarter than we are and when He created the birds, He gave them instincts (knowledge) to do certain tasks. He put within the Hawks and other birds that migrate (travel to other areas) the knowledge of when and where to go.

Why do they migrate? There are various reasons why they travel, many great distances, for the winter or summer. The weather turns cold in the northern part of the world (northern hemisphere) in the winter and many birds cannot survive in really cold weather. In the summer, those birds go back north, because it gets cold down where they spent the winter. (The seasons are reversed in the northern and southern hemispheres.) So, some birds just keep going north and south each year so they can live in warm weather.

Other birds move around or migrate because their food supply ends and they go to the next area to be able to feed themselves. The Lord promised the birds and animals to provide for them, but He does not “spoon-feed” them. They have to go where He has provided for them.

And to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the ground–to everything in which there is the breath of life–I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. (Genesis 1:30 AMP)

A tree in Daniel has this promise given about it:

Its leaves were fair and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The living creatures of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches; and all flesh was fed from it.  (Daniel 4:12 AMP)

Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens) ©WikiC

Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens) ©WikiC

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matthew 6:26 AMP)

Those are very good promises by the Lord, the Creator, that He will provide for them. That last verse also gives you and I the promise that He will also provide for us, because we are worth more. He loves us and has given us much more. See The Wordless Birds.

We will tell more things about the Hawks in other Bible Bird – Hawks articles.

See Also:

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Bible Birds – Swallow-tailed Kites

Swallow-tailed Kite by S Slayton

Swallow-tailed Kite by S Slayton

and the red kite, the falcon, and the kite in their kinds, (Deuteronomy 14:13 NASB)

In the Birds of the Bible – Hidden Covenant Part 3, I mistakenly placed this photo of a Swallow-tailed Kite instead of a Swallow. I have since fixed my mistake. A J was talking about the Swallows observing the time of their coming and he used Jeremiah 8:7.

Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)

The reason I mixed them up is because right now, in this area, the Swallow-tailed Kites are being spotted. I have seen a single one three times and just the other day, Dan and I had two of them skim over the top of trees, right in front of us. They have been in the area for a month or so, and soon they will move on again. They “Observe the time of their coming.” Thus the mistake on my part.

They may be one of the Birds of Prey, but they were beautifully created by the Lord. They are so graceful and enjoyable to watch. I am always amazed at the Creator’s use of such variety in the birds and in all the other neat things around us.

God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good (suitable, admirable) and He approved it. (Genesis 1:21 AMP)

According to the Audubon WatchList, “Two subspecies found in the Americas. Northern subspecies (Elanoides forficatus forficatus) breeds in small sections of seven southeastern U.S. states and in southern Mexico. Members of this group migrate to South America in the late summer. Southern subspecies (Elanoides forficatus yetapa) found through much of South America. The estimated U.S. population of approximately 10,000 birds now breeds in fragmented populations from South Carolina south to Florida and west to Louisiana/Texas border with largest known populations in northern Florida. Formerly bred north to Minnesota and west through Texas to Mexico. Significant populations remain in Florida and along the Pascagoula River in Mississippi.”

I really enjoy seeing these Kites because you just have to be looking in the right direction at the right time. Every time they have been spotted by us, they just sort of “appear” over the tops of the trees. They skim so low, that when they come over you, you either see them or you don’t.

Kites are of course one of our Bible Birds – (Glede and Kites). They are mentioned twice in Scripture in the list of “unclean” birds in Leviticus 11:14 and Deuteronomy 14:13. Each time “after its kind” is given. So, our Swallow-tailed Kite is one of those kinds and would like to introduce you to this amazing bird that is so neat to watch flying. When they spread that tail of theirs, it is just super neat.

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) ©Wikipedia

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) ©Wikipedia

(Sounds from xeno-canto)

The Swallow-tailed Kite is a member of the Accipitridae Family (Kites, Hawks & Eagles) Family in the Order Accipitriformes. They are considered Abundance Common according the Thayer Birding software.

They are 24 inches (60 cm) with a very long black forked tail, white head, chest, belly and leading portion of underwing. Their flight feathers are black and their back is also black.

They are a medium-sized, graceful, long-winged, long-tailed hawk with pointed wings, a short, dark, hooked bill. The males and females are similar.

Adults have a long, deeply forked tail. white head, neck, chest, underwing coverts, belly, and undertail coverts, a slate gray back and upperwings, black tail and flight feathers. Whereas the immature is duller than adult with fine streaks on head and breast and has a shorter, less deeply-forked tail than adult.

Thayer also says of their habitat and behavior – ” Wet open woodlands, bottomlands, wooded river swamps, marshes, wetlands, and along rivers, ponds and lakes. Agile and graceful in flight. Eats in flight by bending head and neck under body to eat prey held in talon. Will drink in flight, much like a swallow. Gregarious. Will sweep low over open fields and grasslands to catch food or soar very high for flying insects.”

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) by Africaddict

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) by Africaddict

The Swallow-tails like to breed in “Lowland forest, especially swampy areas extending into open woodland. 1 brood. Mating system is monogamous. Displays are In flight: easy sailing, curving chase often over water. On perch: mutual approach on horizontal limb, face-off, female quickly turns or backs under limb. They also do courtship feeding.

The nest is usually in treetop concealed by thick foliage and they place it on a foundation of preceding year’s nest. It consist of sticks, twigs, moss, pine needles, leaves, lichen. Lined with fine materials, few feathers. Both sexes help with nest construction.

The eggs are white, marked with browns, occasionally lavender, often concentrated at end. 1.8” (47 mm). Both sexes incubate.  with Incubation taking 28 days. Development is semi-altricial (immobile, downy, eyes open, fed). Young are able to fly after 36-42 days. Both sexes tend young.

The spend their winters from Colombia and Venezuela S. Marsh drainage, deforestation, and shooting are responsible for reduction in population and range.

Miscellaneous notes; Occasionally nest in loose colonies of a few pairs. Bathe and drink by skimming water surface like swallow. Occasionally soar at great heights. Up to 200 pieces used in nest, carried individually, may require up to 800 miles of flight. Formerly known as American Swallow-tailed Kite; changed by AOU in 1996.

From Thayer Birding Software, The Birder’s Handbook, Wikipedia, and other internet sources.

See also:

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Bible Birds – Dove, Turtledove and Pigeon’s Introduction

Common Pigeon -aka Rock(Columba livia) by Daves BirdingPix

Common Pigeon -aka Rock(Columba livia) by Daves BirdingPix

Bible Birds – Dove, Turtledove and Pigeon’s Introduction

Doves are in the Columbidae Family of the Columbiformes Order

They are walking birds, feeding both on the ground and in trees; bill slender, grooved, nostrils opening in a fleshy membrane; tail variable, short and square, or long and pointed; feet stout, often reddish. Color usually grayish brown. Call-notes a characteristic cooing.

Sound from xeno-canto.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2 Neal Addy Gallery

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2 Neal Addy Gallery

Family Columbidae includes some 310 species. In general the terms “dove” and “pigeon” are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for “dove” to be used for smaller species and “pigeon” for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms “dove” and “pigeon.” This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in Indomalaya and Australasia. Young doves and pigeons are called “squabs.”

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and have short slender bills with a fleshy cere. The species commonly referred to just as “pigeon” is the Feral Rock Pigeon, common in many cities.

Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from sticks and other debris, which may be placed in trees, on ledges or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after 7 to 28 days. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants. Unlike most other birds, the doves and pigeons produce “crop milk”, which is secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Both parents produce this highly nutritious substance to feed to the young.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Pigeons and doves exhibit considerable variations in size. The largest species is the crowned pigeon of New Guinea, which is nearly turkey-sized, at a weight of 4.4-8.8 lb (2-4 kg) The smallest is the New World ground-dove of the genus Columbina, which is the same size as a House Sparrow and weighs as little as 22 g. With a total length of more than 19 in (50 cm) and weight of almost 2 lb (1 kg), the largest arboreal species is the Marquesan Imperial Pigeon, while the Dwarf Fruit Dove, which may measure as little as 5.1 in (13 cm), has a marginally smaller total length than any other species from this family. Smaller species tend to be known as doves, while larger species as pigeons.

Overall, the Columbidae tend to have short bills and legs, and small heads on large compact bodies. They have a habit of head bobbing was shown to be due to their natural desire to keep their vision constant. The wings are large and have low wing loadings; pigeons have strong wing muscles (wing muscles comprise 31–44% of their body weight) and are amongst the strongest fliers of all birds. They are also highly maneuverable in flight.

Superb Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus superbus) by Ian

Superb Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus superbus) by Ian

The plumage (feathers and colors) of the family is variable. Granivorous (seed eater) species tend to have dull plumage, with a few exceptions, whereas the frugivorous (fruit eater) species have brightly-coloured plumage. The Ptilinopus fruit doves are some of the brightest coloured pigeons, with the three endemic species of Fiji and the Indian Ocean Alectroenas being amongst the brightest coloured. In addition to bright colours pigeons may sport crests or other ornamentation.

Seeds and fruit form the major component of the diet of pigeons and doves. In fact, the family can be divided into the seed-eating or granivorous species (subfamily Columbinae) and the fruit-eating or frugivorous species (the other four subfamilies). The granivorous typically feed on seed found on the ground, whereas the species that feed on fruit and mast tend to feed in trees.

Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “EVERY MALE WHO OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD” ), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” (Luke 2:22-24 NKJV)

In the Bible (Old Testament), doves or young pigeons were acceptable burnt offerings for those who couldn’t afford a more expensive animal. In the book of Genesis, Noah sent out a dove after the great flood in order to determine how far the floodwaters had receded. Dove is also a term of endearment in the Song of Songs and elsewhere.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (Matthew 3:16 NKJV)

Jesus’ parents sacrificed doves on his behalf after his circumcision (Luke 2:24). Later the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism like a dove (Matthew 3:16), and subsequently, the “peace dove” became a common Christian symbol of the Holy Spirit.

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources.)

See:

Bible Birds

Bible Birds – Doves and Pigeons

Columbidae Family

Wordless Birds

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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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