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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Herons – Color Key to North American Birds, by Frank M. Chapman

Herons

Color Key to North American Birds, by Frank M. Chapman, 2011

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Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets Family

Herons

the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 ESV)

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:3 NKJV)

Color Key To North American Birds cover

Bird Images pg_092192. Great White Heron (Ardea occidentalis). Ads. White, no “aigrette” plumes. A white Heron about the size of a Great Blue Heron. What is supposed to be a gray-blue phase of this bird has been called, a bird which resembles No. 194, but has the head and neck whitish.Range.—Southern Florida, Cuba and Jamaica.

196. American Egret (Herodias egretta). L. 41. Ads. White, about 50 straight “aigrette” plumes grow from the back between the wings; legs and feet black. Ads. when not breeding and Yng., the same, but no plumes.Range.—Tropical and temperate America; breeds north to Virginia, southern Illinois, and California; later strays to New Brunswick, Minnesota, and Oregon; winters from southern California and Gulf States southward.

197. Snowy Heron (Egretta candidissima). L. 24. Ads. White, about 50 recurved “aigrette” plumes grow from back between the wings; legs black, feet yellow. Ads. when not breeding and Yng. The same, but no plumes.Range.—Tropical and temperate America; bred formerly north to Long Island, southern Illinois and California; now very rare in eastern North America; winters from Gulf States and southern California southward.

194. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). L. 45; W. 18.5; B. 5.5; Tar. 7. Ads. Center of crown white, head crested; legs blackish. Yng. Similar, but no crest, crown wholly black, plumage more streaked.Range—Northern South America north to Arctic regions; breeds locally throughout most of North America range; winters from about latitude 42° southward.

194a. Northwest Coast Heron (A. h. fannini). Similar to No. 194 but much darker; upperparts bluish slate black; tarsus shorter, 5.3.Range.—Pacific coast from Vancouver to Sitka.

194b. Ward Heron (A. h. wardi). Similar to No. 194 but whiter below, neck darker; legs olive; larger, L. 52; W. 20; B. 6.5; Tar. 8.Range.—Florida; coast of Texas.

202. Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax nævius). L. 24. Ads. Crown and back greenish black lower back, wings and tail ashy; head with two or three rounded white plumes, except just after breeding season. Yng. Grayish brown streaked with white; below white streaked with blackish; outer webs of primaries, pale rufousNotes. An explosiveqûawk.Range.—Western hemisphere; breeds in North America north to New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, and Oregon; winters from California and Gulf States southward.

203. Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violaceus). L. 23. Ads. Blue-gray; crown and ear-coverts whitish, rest of head black; scapulars streaked with black; head with two or three rounded, white plumes, except just after nesting season.Yng. Crown black, streaked with whitish; primaries bluish slate, no rufous; back brownish streaked with white; below whitish streaked with blackish.

Range.—Tropical and subtropical America; breeds north to South Carolina, southern Illinois, and Lower California; strays to Massachusetts and Colorado; winters from Gulf States southward.

198. Reddish Egret (Dichromanassa rufescens). L. 29. Two color phases independent of age. Ads. Dark phase, Head and neck rufous; back slate; about 30 “aigrette” plumes. White phase. White, including plumes; tips of primaries sometimes speckled with gray. Yng. Rufous and gray, or white, without plumes.Range.—West Indies and Central America north to coasts of Gulf States, Illinois (rarely), and Lower California.

199. Louisiana Heron (Hydranassa tricolor ruficollis). L. 26. Ads. “Aigrette” plumes, short, dirty gray; rump and belly white; legs blackish. Yng. Head and neck brownish; throat and line down foreneck white; above slaty washed with brownish, rump, and belly white.Range.—West Indies and Central America north to Gulf States, casually to Long Island and Indiana.

200. Little Blue Heron (Florida cœrulea). L. 22. Ads. Head and neck maroon; rest of plumage slaty blue. Yng. White, tips of primaries bluish, legs greenish yellow.Range.—Tropical America and eastern United States; breeds north to Virginia and Illinois, later may stray north as far as Nova Scotia; winters from South Atlantic and Gulf States southward.

201. Little Green Heron (Butorides virescens). L. 17. Smallest of our Herons. Ads. Crown, glossy green-black; throat and line down foreneck buffy; rest of head and neck purplish chestnut; back green washed with bluish gray. Yng. Neck and below streaked with blackish; back-feathers not lengthened; duller. Notes. A rattling oc-oc-oc-oc-oc, a startling scow, and, more rarely, a deep, hollow groan. (Brewster.)Range.—Tropical and temperate North America; breeds from Gulf States north to Nova Scotia and Manitoba; winters from Gulf States southward to northern South America.

201a. Frazar Green Heron (B. v. frazari). Similar to No. 201, but rather larger and darker, neck more purplish, light stripings on throat and foreneck more restricted. (Brewster.)

201b. Anthony Green Heron (B. v. anthonyi). Similar to No. 201, but slightly larger, and paler, light markings of wings, neck, and throat less restricted and whiter. (Mearns.)

Range.—Arid portions of southwestern United States, south into Mexico.


Green Heron – From Color Key

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