Emma Foster’s – Denny and Charles’s Museum

G. Blue Heron on Gator’s back at Gatorland, by Lee

Denny and Charles’s Museum

Emma Foster

Denny the blue heron was the smallest out of all the blue herons that lived in the Florida reserve, but no one ever made fun of him for it because his best friend was the largest alligator in the reserve, Charles. Denny and Charles spent most of their time crossing the various swamps, with Charles slinking through the mud and weeds and Denny sitting on his back.

Usually, whenever Denny and Charles set out together, they would follow the trails marked in the reserve, so that they were always near the banks. The people who visited the reserve enjoyed seeing them wander down the swamp trails, especially since Denny sat on Charles’s back while Charles swam through the weeds.

One day, while Denny and Charles were traveling through the water, Denny spotted something unusual in the water. It was bright red, and it shone brightly when the sun reflected on it. Denny stuck his beak inside it to pick it up. He lifted the can and placed it onto Charles’s back. Denny wasn’t quite sure what it was, and Charles couldn’t see it because it was on his back. Denny decided to keep it.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) by Raymond Barlow

Farther along down the reserve trail, Denny spotted another interesting object. He wasn’t sure what this was either, but it was bright yellow and small. Denny added it to his growing collection.

Eventually, Denny had several small objects piled on Charles’s back. He placed everything he had found on the bank so Charles could have a look at it. They both thought about what to do with what Denny found. After thinking for a long time, Denny proposed an idea. He thought it would be a great idea to set all of the objects they found in an area where all the other animals in the swamp could see them.

Denny promptly flew off to find a large open area for them to place their things. Charles slowly nudged the objects into his mouth and followed Denny to where he was calling. Charles dumped the objects onto the grass, glad to be of help.

Every day, Denny and Charles added more to their collection. They found two old water bottles, a small pipe, and several pieces of different materials that were several different colors like pink, red, blue, and yellow. Denny kept the can placed in a special spot for everyone to see, since he had found it first.

The birds, insects, and other animals enjoyed seeing all the things Denny and Charles had put out. Some of them thought it was odd that they collected that stuff, since it seemed to serve no purpose.

Gator and Litter @indiatvnews

As summer drew near, it began raining more and more. Most of the animals had a comfortable place to spend every night. Charles was happy to sit in the swamp in the rain, and Denny sat in the trees, keeping a close eye on his collection. However, as he was watching it one evening he saw a little gray mouse pass him nearby. It was so small it could dodge the raindrops, but it still looked very wet and cold. It hid under the leaves in the bushes, but it couldn’t seem to find a warm, dry place for the night. Denny suddenly thought of the things he had found, but he couldn’t think of anything that would make a good house. Then he thought of the can.

Denny called Charles over. He told him about giving the can to the mouse, though he was reluctant to give it away. Charles thought it was a great idea, and he immediately crashed through the bushes to put the can in his mouth. Denny flew after the mouse, told her his name, and explained what they wanted to give her. At that moment, Charles waddled through the bushes and dropped the can beside the mouse. The mouse, Charlotte, was very grateful for what they had done. She rolled the can under the leaves, turned it to the side, and carefully squeezed through the opening to sit down inside.

Mouse in Can (BBC)

Denny and Charles continued growing their collection. The other animals in the reserve enjoyed seeing what they added to the museum, and they sometimes even brought some of their own things that they had found. Charlotte the mouse stayed in her little can house, beside Denny and Charles’s museum, and told them every day how happy she was in her new home.


“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 KJV)

Lee’s Addition:

What an interesting story. Birds riding on gator’s backs isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem.

Thanks, Emma, for another delightful adventure. You continue to find heart-felt stories for us to enjoy. We will be looking forward your next one.

“Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.” (Philippians 4:14 NASB)

See more of Emma’s Stories

Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

Birdwatching At Home – Maybe I

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Recently, we laid a few blocks down in the backyard so that I [we] could use our old bench. My goal was to be able to watch some of the numerous birds that stop or fly by. Needless to say, the bench needs a little TLC [tender love and care] This was taken May 14th.

I grabbed my camera and took a few photos, thinking I’d start a new series called: Backyard Birdwatching. Real original, right?

Great White Egret - First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Great White Egret – First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Had to wait for him to get in the clear.

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

I took a few photos and then the next day, decided that plan may be put on hold for awhile. Why? Hang on.

On the 16th, I was able to capture three different species through our door. We were having breakfast when they all appeared. A Great Blue Heron and Great Egret by the water’s edge and the two pesky Sandhill Cranes.

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Why was I shooting through the door instead of from my bench? Well, this dude showed up the 15th.

Alligator Taken from my neighbor's yard. 05-16-20

Alligator Taken from my neighbor’s yard. 05-16-20

This Alligator is at the end of our yard. Because of the incline by the bank, we don’t get to see him often. So, I went to my neighbor’s yard and took this. She was with me, so if I had to waddle away fast, she could help me. Our neighbor, from across the water, told us that he comes and has layed on our bank at about 6 or 7 every morning for that last few days. Yikes!!

Needless to say, I have not been using my bench, yet!!

“Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6:20 NKJV)

We know that at least two of each kind of birds and creeping things were kept alive in the ark. I wonder if the alligators were on board, or swimming? Never thought about that before. Have you?

More later. We had a great view of this gator and the two Sandhill cranes today. Stay turned!

 

Bible Birds – Holding On With My Feet

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Viera Wetlands 12-26-17

Holding On With My Feet

“I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.” (Psalms 119:101 KJV)

While birdwatching at the Viera Wetlands in Florida, we spotted this Tricolored Heron. He was watching and waiting to find his lunch swim by. The way his feet grabbed the plants was interesting.

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Viera Wetlands 12-26-17

“My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:” (Proverbs 1:15 KJV)

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Viera Wetlands 12-26-17

The Tricolored Heron never moved his feet. They were planted solidly on those plants. Our Lord, when he created the birds, gave them quite a variety of feet. The feet this Heron was given works very well for holding steady.

Tricolored Heron Close up of feet – Viera Wetlands

When you first look at the foot, it looks like other bird feet. Yet, when it needs to anchor on those plants. It works very well.

Tricolored Heron’s Foot

Whether you are young or older, friends may try to encourage you to do something that you know you shouldn’t. Either your parents, teachers, and especially the Bible have taught you right and wrong. Hold on and “refrain” [don’t do it] from doing the wrong thing.

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17 KJV)

Bible Birds – Herons

Wordless Toucan

 

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 – Bittern I

In North America we have the American Bittern (23” with a 42-50” wingspan) and Least Bittern (11-14” with a 16-18” wingspan). Both dwell in marsh or wetland habitats and are very difficult to find. God has designed them with plumage and behavior (standing very still with the head pointing up) that helps camouflage them. They eat frogs, small fish, snakes and bugs, etc.

Today there are 15 Bitterns around the world. The bittern is an interesting find in the Bible.

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Daves BirdingPix

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Daves BirdingPix

I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. (Isa 14:23)

Again judgment is being given and the names of the new inhabitants are given. Only the birds will dwell there.

But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. (Isa 34:11)
Ninevah will be barren and the bittern and pelican will be singing from the vacant windows. The herds shall lie down in her midst, Every beast of the nation. Both the pelican and the bittern Shall lodge on the capitals of her pillars; Their voice shall sing in the windows; Desolation shall be at the threshold; For He will lay bare the cedar work. (Zep 2:14)

Those verse will be explained further in future Bible Bird – Bittern articles.
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A YouTube of a Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris). I do not know the language, but it shows how it is camouflaged so well.
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See More Bible Birds

Bible Birds – Bitterns

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CLASS – AVES, Order –PELECANIFORMES, Family – Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns


 

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Birds Vol 2 #1 – The Snowy Heron

snowy heron or little egret

THE SNOWY HERON.

“What does it cost this garniture of death?
It costs the life which God alone can give;
It costs dull silence where was music’s breath,
It costs dead joy, that foolish pride may live.
Ah, life, and joy, and song, depend upon it,
Are costly trimmings for a woman’s bonnet!”
—May Riley Smith.

imgt
EMPERATE and tropical America, from Long Island to Oregon, south to Buenos Ayres, may be considered the home of the Snowy Heron, though it is sometimes seen on the Atlantic coast as far as Nova Scotia. It is supposed to be an occasional summer resident as far north as Long Island, and it is found along the entire gulf coast and the shores of both oceans. It is called the Little White Egret, and is no doubt the handsomest bird of the tribe. It is pure white, with a crest composed of many long hair-like feathers, a like plume on the lower neck, and the same on the back, which are recurved when perfect.

Snowy Herons nest in colonies, preferring willow bushes in the marshes for this purpose. The nest is made in the latter part of April or early June. Along the gulf coast of Florida, they nest on the Mangrove Islands, and in the interior in the willow ponds and swamps, in company with the Louisiana and Little Blue Herons. The nest is simply a platform of sticks, and from two to five eggs are laid.

Alas, plume hunters have wrought such destruction to these lovely birds that very few are now found in the old nesting places. About 1889, according to Mr. F. M. Woodruff, this bird was almost completely exterminated in Florida, the plume hunters transferring their base of operation to the Texas coast of the Gulf, and the bird is now in a fair way to be utterly destroyed there also. He found them very rare in 1891 at Matagorda Bay, Texas. This particular specimen is a remarkably fine one, from the fact that it has fifty-two plumes, the ordinary number being from thirty to forty.

Nothing for some time has been more commonly seen than the delicate airy plumes which stand upright in ladies’ bonnets. These little feathers, says a recent writer, were provided by nature as the nuptial adornment of the White Heron. Many kind-hearted women who would not on any account do a cruel act, are, by following this fashion, causing the continuance of a great cruelty. If ladies who are seemingly so indifferent to the inhumanity practiced by those who provide them with this means of adornment would apply to the Humane Education Committee, Providence, R. I., for information on the subject, they would themselves be aroused to the necessity of doing something towards the protection of our birds. Much is, however, being done by good men and women to this end.

The Little Egret moves through the air with a noble and rapid flight. It is curious to see it pass directly overhead. The head, body and legs are held in line, stiff and immovable, and the gently waving wings carry the bird along with a rapidity that seems the effect of magic.

An old name of this bird was Hern, or Hernshaw, from which was derived the saying, “He does not know a Hawk from a Hernshaw.” The last word has been corrupted into “handsaw,” rendering the proverb meaningless.

Summary SNOWY HERON.Ardea candidissima. Other names: “Little Egret,” “White-crested Egret,” “White Poke.”

Range—Tropical and temperate America.

Nest—A platform of sticks, in bushes, over water.

Eggs—Three to five; pale, dull blue.


Snowy Egret Circle B by Lee

Snowy Egret Circle B by Lee

Lee’s Addition:

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

American Ornithologists’ Union 1st edition (1886):
Snowy Heron ( Ardea candidissima)

was later changed to  

American Ornithologists’ Union 2nd edition (incl. 15th suppl.): 1895
Snowy Egret ( Egretta candidissima)

then finally changed to the current with the

American Ornithologists’ Union 4th edition (1931):
Snowy Egret ( Egretta thula)

We have another case where the name and the scientific name has changed over time. The above give how the American Ornithologists’ Union progressed in the re-naming. I thoroughly enjoy watching the Snowys here. I think it is their yellow feet that amuses me so much. I am always trying to get a photo of the feet.

They are smaller than our Great Egret and I have been able to distinguish them from the Great and the Cattle Egrets finally. Once that yellow foot comes in sight, it’s a “no-brainer.”

Snowy Egret Circle B 8-3-12 by Lee

Snowy Egret Circle B 8-3-12 by Lee

They are a medium-sized Heron that is all white. It has the yellow feet attached to its black legs. Their bill is dark and it pointed like most in the Heron families. That Family is the Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns and also a Bible Bird. They and their kind are listed in the “do not eat” section for the Israelites. Even today, they are too much fun to watch than to eat.

As stated above, their plumage was used a lot before that practice was stopped. Here is a photo from Wikipedia of the feathers displayed.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Plumage ©WikiC

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Plumage ©WikiC

Their breeding habitat is large inland and coastal wetlands from the lower Great Lakes and southwestern United States to South America. The breeding range in eastern North America extends along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from Maine to Texas, and inland along major rivers and lakes. They nest in colonies, often with other waders, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Their flat, shallow nests are made of sticks and lined with fine twigs and rushes. Three to four greenish-blue, oval eggs are incubated by both adults. The young leave the nest in 20 to 25 days and hop about on branches near the nest before finally departing.

In warmer locations, some Snowy Egret are permanent residents; northern populations migrate to Central America and the West Indies. They may wander north after the breeding season, very rarely venturing to western Europe—the first bird sighted in Britain wintered in Scotland from 2001–2002.

The birds eat fish, crustaceans, insects and small reptiles. They stalk prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet, flushing prey into view, as well “dip-fishing” by flying with their feet just over the water. Snowy Egrets may also stand still and wait to ambush prey, or hunt for insects stirred up by domestic animals in open fields.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – Old Abe

The Previous Article – The American Scoter

ABC’s of the Gospel

Links:

Bible Birds – Herons

Snowy Heron – Audubon

Snowy Egret – Wikipedia

Snowy Egret – All About Birds

Birds of the Bible – Herons

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