Bellamoon sent a link to some of his videos. The one below of the Black Swans and their family is super. He previously gave me permission to use his music for videos I put together, but this is better than anything I could ever do.
Several verses came to mind about “under his wings” while watching this:
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, (Psalms 17:8 KJV)
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalms 36:7 KJV)
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalms 91:4 KJV)
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalms 91:4 KJV)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34 KJV)
There are verses that help us think about how kind these swans are to their young:
For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. (Psalms 26:3 KJV)
Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. (Psalms 40:11 KJV)
Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD. (Psalms 107:43 KJV)
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
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.
I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. (Psalms 102:6 NKJV)
Yesterday we were at the beach at MacDill AFB in Tampa. Apparently the fish were numerous, because the Brown Pelicans, Forster’s Tern, Laughing Gulls, Ospreys and others were diving in.
Laughing Gull landing on Brown Pelican
What really amazed me were the Laughing Gulls landing on the backs of the Brown Pelicans. Checking the internet to find out about this, I came across this very interesting article, The Pelican and the Gull. It appears this is a common practice for the Laughing Gull to steal some of the Pelicans food.
Here are some excerpts from that article:
One method the laughing gull has of getting food is to steal fish from another seabird that inhabits the region, the brown pelican. The laughing gull accomplishes this larceny by waiting for the brown pelican to make a successful dive….
When the pelican has a bill full of fish and water, it transfers the fish to the pouch that hangs below its bill. The pelican cannot fly away or swallow the fish until the water is drained from the pouch. Laughing gulls either circle closely above the pelican or land on the pelican’s bill or head. The gull may even give the pelican a sharp peck or two. If the pelican pays too much attention to the antics of the laughing gull and not enough attention to the delicate draining and swallowing process, the pelican may lose some of the trapped fish. The gull then swoops down and scoops up the pelican’s hard-earned catch, flying away at top speed from the scene of the crime and makes short work of his ill-gotten gains.
Of course, I could make all kinds of applications about not stealing, pecking someone on the head, or getting on their backs without permission. Because of the curse we are all under, the birds included, this kind of things happen. Eagles steal from Ospreys, Cuckoos lay eggs in other species nest, etc. For us, we know that stealing is wrong and I trust we don’t. Also, we are supposed to “love one another.” Not so sure this is being displayed here.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 KJV)
Here is another sequence of photos I took of an exchange between the Gull and the Pelican (cropped):
Pelican catching fish and Gull circling
Laughing Gull watching Brown Pelican preparing to land
Laughing Gull lands on Pelican as he comes up
Would you hurry up
Watching His Food Source Leave
Maybe I can catch him
These photos were taken with my zoom because they were out quite a way from the shore. The following two photos were closer up as they both posed on posts for us.
The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard. It is 42–54 in (106–137 cm) in length, weighs from 6.1 to 12 lb (2.75 to 5.5 kg) and has a wingspan from 6.0 to 8.2 ft (1.83 to 2.5 m). Through most of its range, the brown pelican is an unmistakable bird. Like all pelicans, this species has a very large bill, 11 to 13.7 in (28 to 34.8 cm) long in this case, with a gular pouch on the bottom for draining water when it scoops out prey. The head is white but often gets a yellowish wash in adult birds. The bill is grayish overall in most birds, though breeding birds become reddish on the underside of the throat. The back, rump, and tail are streaked with gray and dark brown, sometimes with a rusty hue. In adult pelicans, the breast and belly are a blackish-brown and the legs and feet are black. The juvenile is similar but has a brownish-gray neck and white underparts.
This bird is readily distinguished from the American White Pelican by its non-white plumage, smaller size and its habit of diving for fish from the air, as opposed to co-operative fishing from the surface. The Peruvian Pelican, previously considered a subspecies of Brown Pelican, is now considered to be a separate species. It has very similar plumage to the Brown, but it is noticeably larger. The Brown and Peruvian pelicans may overlap in some areas along the Pacific coast of South America.
the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds; (Deuteronomy 14:15 NKJV)
Laughing Gull on post by Lee
The Laughing Gull is a member of the Laridae – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers Family and is a Bird of the Bible also. The Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) is a medium-sized gull of North and South America. It breeds on the Atlantic coast of North America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Northernmost populations migrate further south in winter, and this species occurs as a rare vagrant to western Europe. The Laughing Gull’s English name is derived from its raucous kee-agh call, which sounds like a high-pitched laugh “ha… ha… ha…”.
This species is easy to identify. It is 14–16 in (36–41 cm) long with a 39–43 in (98–110 cm) wingspan. The summer adult’s body is white apart from the dark grey back and wings and black head. Its wings are much darker grey than all other gulls of similar size except the smaller Franklin’s Gull, and they have black tips without the white crescent shown by Franklin’s. The beak is long and red. The black hood is mostly lost in winter.
Laughing Gulls take three years to reach adult plumage. Immature birds are always darker than most similar-sized gulls other than Franklin’s. First-year birds are greyer below and have paler heads than first-year Franklin’s, and second-years can be distinguished by the wing pattern and structure. Laughing Gulls breed in coastal marshes and ponds in large colonies. The large nest, made largely from grasses, is constructed on the ground. The 3 or 4 greenish eggs are incubated for about three weeks. These are omnivores like most gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey. Like most other members of the genus Leucophaeus, the Laughing Gull was long placed in the genus Larus. (Wikipedia with editing)
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.
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
and the Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus).
Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian
The African member of the family is the Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis).
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
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
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)
Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. (Job 39:13-15 KJV)
The largest bird egg is from the Ostrich Sturthio camelus. The egg measures 15 – 20 cm long, 10 – 15 cm in diameter and weighs 1 – 1.78 kg.
Largest egg ~ Ostrich ~ measuring 17.8 by 14 cm (7 by 4.5 in)
Smallest egg laid relative to body weight ~ Ostrich egg ~ at 1.5%
Smallest known egg ~ the Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima of Jamacia and nearby islets. The egg is barely the size of a pea and measures less than 10 mm in length and weighs 0.356 g.
You could put 4700 bee hummingbird eggs inside one ostrich egg. The Bee Hummingbird egg is the size of a small pea and weighs .02 ounces. World’s Smallest Bird
Smallest egg ~ West Indian Vervain Hummingbird ~ at 10 mm (0.39 in) in length and 0.375 g (0.0132 oz)
Smallest Egg – living ~ Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima ~ the size of pea
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:12-13 KJV)
Different Eggs- Birds and Others – from Wikipedia
The majority of avian eggs match the shape of chicken eggs, but there are some exceptions.
Budgies, for instance, tend to lay very round eggs.
Fast-flying, stream-lined birds like swifts and swallows lay long, elliptical eggs.
The Royal Albatross’ eggs take 79 days to hatch.
Precocial birds like chickens, ostriches, ducks, and seagulls hatch ready to move around. They come from eggs with bigger yolks than altricial birds like owls, woodpeckers, and most small songbirds that need a lot of care from parents in order to survive.
Longest interval between eggs laid ~ Maleo ~ at 1012 day intervals
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) by Robert Scanlon by Robert Scanlon
Largest clutch laid by a nidicolous species ~ 19 eggs laid by a European Blue Tit
Largest clutch laid by a nidifugous species ~ 28 by a Bobwhite Quail
Largest average clutch size ~ 15-19 by a Gray Partridge
Smallest clutch size ~ 1 egg laid every 2 years by Albatrosses
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) By Dan’sPix at Lake Hollingsworth
Greatest number of eggs laid consecutively ~ 146 by a Mallard
Most valuable bird ~ 8 billion domestic chickens ~ produce 562 billion eggs annually
Highest price paid for an egg ~ 1,000 British pounds for an egg of extinct Aepyornis maximus
And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. (Isaiah 10:14 KJV)
Bird eggshells are diverse. For example:
Cormorant eggs are rough and chalky
Tinamou eggs are shiny
Duck eggs are oily and waterproof
Cassowary eggs are heavily pitted
Tiny pores in bird eggshells allow the embryo to breathe. The domestic hen’s egg has around 7500 pores.
The most yolks ever found in a single chicken’s egg is nine.
Largest individual nest ~ Mallee Fowl Australia Leipoa ocellata ~ builds a mound 5 m (16.5ft) high and 11 metres (36ft) wide. A mound this size means the bird moved 250 cubic metres of vegetation and 300 tons of soil.
Smallest nest ~
many seabirds do not make a nest at all, nest on ground or
in case of Fairy Tern on a branch of a tree
The prize goes to the Hummingbirds for their thimble sized (1cm squared) nests.
The largest nest was built by a pair of Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus was 2.9 m wide and 6 m deep.
The Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata which measures 35 cm and nests on islands in the North Pacific excavates a burrow of 2 – 3 m in length. Burrows up to 6 m are not uncommon and 8 m burrows have also been found.
The only species of parrot that builds a nest is the Quaker Parrot. The Quakers link their nests together to form structures akin to “bird condominiums”. These nests can reach weights greater than 200 lbs.
Largest recorded nesting bird colony: 136 million Passenger Pigeon nesting in an area in Wisconsin covering 1,942 sq km (750 sq mi)
Isn’t it amazing how the Lord created each bird’s egg to help it survive and for it to do His command to:
And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22 NKJV)
Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee
Dan and I were on vacation and stopped by the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, SC. I have see Ostriches before, but it has been awhile. We see the Emus at Lowry Park Zoo often, but they are not nearly as tall as the Ostrich. I had forgotten that the Lord had created such a huge bird.
The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s? For she leaves her eggs on the ground, And warms them in the dust; She forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may break them. She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers; Her labor is in vain, without concern, Because God deprived her of wisdom, And did not endow her with understanding. When she lifts herself on high, She scorns the horse and its rider. (Job 39:13-18 NKJV)
The Ostrich does belong to the Struthionidae Family. Currently there are two; the Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) and the Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes). The one we saw was the Common. The Ostrich is the largest bird in the world! They are omnivorous flightless birds but make up for their inability to fly with the powerful legs they possess. These birds were built for speed. That is why the reference to the horse and rider. Ostriches can give a horse competition for at least a burst of speed.
Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Foot back at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee
“Ostriches usually weigh from 140–320 lb (63 to 145 kilograms), Ostriches of the East African race (S. c. massaicus) averaged 250 lb (115 kg) in males and 220 lb (100 kg) in females, while the nominate subspecies was found to average 240 lb (111 kg) in unsexed adults. At sexual maturity (two to four years), male ostriches can be from 6 ft 11 in to 9 ft 2 in (2.1 to 2.8 m) in height, while female ostriches range from 5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 7 in (1.7 to 2 m) tall. New chicks are fawn with dark brown spots. During the first year of life, chicks grow about 10 in (25 cm) per month. At one year of age, ostriches weigh around 100 lb (45 kilograms). Their lifespan is up to 40 or 45 years.” (Wikipedia with editing)
Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Foot front at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee
I am not sure how tall these were, but they had to be close to 8 feet. As I was observing them, I was trying to remember all that the verses said about them. That is one reason I took pictures of their feet. I knew that their feet and legs helped them run, but also that those same feet were a danger to their young ones. They do have big feet and with an interesting shape as you can see from the photos.
If you notice the size of their head to their body, maybe that is how the Lord “did not endow her with understanding.” The head is interesting though because they are one of the few birds that have eyelashes. They have acute eyesight and hearing, the long neck and legs keep their head up to 9 ft (2.8 m) above the ground, and their eyes are said to be the largest of any land vertebrate – 2.0 in (50 mm) in diameter; they can therefore perceive predators at a great distance. The eyes are shaded from sun light falling from above. However, the head and bill are relatively small for the birds’ huge size”
Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Head at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. (Psalms 96:1-4 NKJV)
the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat. (Deu 14:18)
Hoopoes are a favorite avian wonder for me. When I first learned about this lovely colored bird with that neat top notch, they won my heart.
Here is a video of a parent feeding a chick. Eventually, the youngster decides to look around. Enjoy!!
Since we were out birdwatching last week over in Tampa at the bay, I thought I would share some of those photos and update the Heron information some more. We saw a Great Blue Heron, several Little Blue Herons, and several others that are “after her kind” and in the same Ardeidae – Heron, Bittern family. There were Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets fishing along with the others. The Little Blue Herons were in breeding plumage which you could tell because of their exceptionally blue beaks. (Not real clear-I was zoomed from quite a distance)
Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egrets by Lee from distance
Herons are only mentioned twice in Scripture; Leviticus 11:19 and in Deuteronomy 14:18. That modern-day family, Ardiedae, currently has 72 members which includes not only Herons and Egrets, but also Bitterns. Some of them are grouped together like, Tiger Herons, Night Herons, Pond Herons, Reef Herons and Cattle Egrets. Not sure about the Tiger Herons but the night, pond, reef, and cattle name give you a clue as to where you might find them out and about.
And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV)
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 — including the Zigzag Heron or Zigzag Bittern — are a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. However, egrets are not a biologically distinct 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 herons, they tend to be smaller.
Great Egret (Ardea alba) Swallowing by Lee
The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationship of the genera in the family is not completely resolved. However, one species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family Cochlearidae, the Boat-billed Heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae.
Although herons resemble 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. They are also one of the bird groups that have powder down. Some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reedbeds.
The largest species of heron is the Goliath Heron, which stand up to 152 cm (60 in) 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 from the lower part of the tibia (the exception is the Zigzag Heron). 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.
Reddish-Snowys-Greats Egrets – Snowy in front with yellow feet
The herons are a widespread family with a cosmopolitan distribution. They exist on all continents except Antarctica, and are present in most habitats except the coldest extremes of the Arctic, extremely high mountains and the driest deserts. Almost all species are associated with water, they are essentially non-swimming waterbirds that feed on the margins of lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and the sea. They are predominately found in lowland areas, although some species live in alpine areas, and the majority of species occur in the tropics.
While the family exhibits a range of breeding strategies, overall the herons are monogamous and mostly colonial. Most day-herons and night-herons are colonial, or partly colonial depending on circumstances, whereas the bitterns and tiger-herons are mostly solitary nesters. Colonies may contain several species as well as other types of waterbird. In a study of Little Egrets and Cattle Egrets in India the majority of the colonies surveyed contained both species. (Wikipedia with editing)
“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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.