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Tag: Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – At the Manger

(originally posted on December 24, 2009)

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) by Reinier

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7 NKJV)

Most Christians know the passage in Luke 2 about the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Many others have heard that passage read each Christmas. The birth of Jesus, who was born to die. “Although our first picture of Jesus is as a baby in a manger, it must not be our last. The Christ child in the manger is the subject of a beautiful Christmas scene, but we must not leave him there. This tiny, helpless baby lived an amazing life, died for us, ascended to heaven, and will return to earth as King of kings. Christ will rule the world and judge all people according to their decisions about him. Do you still picture Jesus as a baby in a manger—or is he your Lord? Make sure you don’t underestimate Jesus. Let him grow up in your life.” (Life Application Study Bible)

Joseph and Mary were not so poor that they could not afford a room at the end, but “there was no room for them in the inn.” Because of the registrations going on, each had to show up in their own city. According to the Jewish mode of registration the people would be enrolled by tribe, families or clans, and households. “But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.” (1 Samuel 17:15 NKJV).

Micah prophesied in Micah 5:2:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) by Nikhil Devasar“This mention of the manger is the basis for the traditional belief that Jesus was born in a stable. Stables were often caves with feeding troughs (mangers) carved into the rock walls. Despite popular Christmas card pictures, the surroundings were dark and dirty. This was not the atmosphere the Jews expected as the birthplace of the Messiah-King. They thought their promised Messiah would be born in royal surroundings. We should not limit God by our expectations. He is at work wherever he is needed in our sin-darkened and dirty world.” (Life Application Study Bible)

All of the above was to set the location for the manger and why in my imagination, I believe birds would have been around the manger. There are no verses in the Bible to show there were birds there, nor are there any to show that lambs, cows, or horse were there either, as depicted in our Christmas scenes. So, here is what birds I think may have been there at Jesus’ birth.

Doves – “You who dwell in Moab, Leave the cities and dwell in the rock, And be like the dove which makes her nest In the sides of the cave’s mouth.” (Jeremiah 48:28 NKJV)

Turtledoves – The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:12 NKJV)

Chickens and Roosters by MajiSparrows and Swallows- “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 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 84:1-3 NKJV) If they wanted to be at the altars or house of God, then surely, they wanted to be near their Creator.

Chickens and Roosters – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37 NKJV) and Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (Matthew 26:34 NKJV) Cave or Stable, there had to be Chickens, Hens, and Roosters.

Ravens – Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41 NKJV) They wanted to be near the One who has been feeding them.
Brown-necked Raven of IsraelI would think, in my “sanctified imagination,” that since the Lord created everything, birds included, that they might have been eager to see their Creator. Many humans failed to recognize Him while He was on earth, but I think the critters knew who He was. For example, the un-ridden donkey the Lord rode on. There is no report of it trying to buck or misbehave. It knew!

There are more kinds of birds that might have been there, but I will leave those to your imagination. Have a Merry Christmas as you consider the true meaning of the Lord’s birth.

Produced by Sean Fielder and Pastor Jerry Smith
Photos-Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) by Reinier, Red Turtle Dove by Nikhil, Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) by Nikhil Devasar, Chickens and Roosters by Maji, Brown-necked Raven, Israel

Birds of the Bible – God’s Provision for His Creatures (by Lee Dusing)

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) being raised by a Reed Warbler©WikiC
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) being raised by a Reed Warbler©WikiC

The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalms 145:9 NKJV)

The following thoughts and verses are from R. A.Torrey’s Topical Textbook under the category of The Providence of God.

Preserving His creatures:

Lilian's Lovebird (Agapornis lilianae) by Africaddict
Lilian’s Lovebird (Agapornis lilianae) by Africaddict

You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You. (Nehemiah 9:6 NKJV)

Northern Cardinal by Aestheticphotos

Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O LORD, You preserve man and beast. (Psalms 36:6 NKJV)

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) by Nikhil Devasar
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) by Nikhil Devasa

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)

Providing for His creatures:

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) flock ©USFWS
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) flock ©USFWS

These all wait for You, That You may give them their food in due season. What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. (Psalms 104:27-28 NKJV)

Western Great Egret (Ardea alba) With Fish by AestheticPhotos
Western Great Egret (Ardea alba) With Fish by AestheticPhotos

Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalms 136:25 KJV)

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray
Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ra

He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. (Psalms 147:9 KJV)

Seashore at MacDill AFB by Lee
Seashore at MacDill AFB by Lee

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)

Lee’s addition:

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC
Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV)

Related Posts:

Birds of the Bible – Thanksgiving (by Lee Dusing)

When Stephen asked us to write about 10 (+ or -) things we are thankful for, I am sure he knew that I would write about the birds. How can we be thankful for the birds?

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) by Ray
White-winged Scoter by Ray

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21 ESV)

I am thankful for a Creator God, the Lord, who made not only the birds, but all of us as well. “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”  (Psa 100:3)

Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) by Ian
Channel-billed Toucan by Ian

Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 ESV)

I am thankful that the LORD God gave Adam the privilege and the knowledge to name the birds. We were created with intellect and didn’t have to progress up through evolution to finally get “smart enough” to name the birds. Adam wasn’t even a week old.

The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Genesis 9:2-3 ESV)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) by Daves BirdingPix
Wild Turkey by Daves BirdingPix

I am thankful for the food the Lord has allowed us to eat. Many of us will be eating Turkey this Thanksgiving Day. (Even if it is sometimes sad to think about.)

I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. (Psalms 50:11 ESV)

I am thankful that just as God knows all the birds, He knows us. “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” (Psalms 91:14 KJV)

Greater Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) by W Kwong
Greater Painted Snipe by W Kwong

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, (Matthew 6:25-28 ESV)

Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus)Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell
Chihuahuan Raven by Kent Nickell

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12:23-26 ESV)

Three Sparrows

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (Matthew 10:29-31 ESV)

I am thankful for these three parallel verses that remind us that God cares about not only every need of the birds, but also for ours. We are more valuable than them and He provides everything for them and knows all about them. Why do we need to be anxious?

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) at Nest by Anthony747
Common Starling at Nest by Anthony

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20 ESV)

I am very thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ, became my Savior.

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8 KJV)

Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul) at NA by Lee
Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul) at NA by Lee

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:9-11 KJV)

I am thankful for the partridge that reminds me not to seek earthly riches unjustly.

Bald Eagle flying by Dave's BirdingPix
Bald Eagle flying by Dave’s BirdingPix

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV)

I am thankful for the wings of the Eagle to remind me of all the promises in this passage. Our God is the everlasting God, doesn’t faint or grow weary, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and the Creator. Awesome!

Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil
Oriental Turtle Dove by Nikhil

But if he cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, then he shall bring as his offering for the sin that he has committed a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it and shall put no frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. (Leviticus 5:11 ESV)

I am thankful for doves and pigeons because they remind me that in the Old Testament they were innocently sacrificed for a person’s sin. That was looking forward to the death of Christ on the cross. I am thankful for my salvation in Jesus Christ.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. (Romans 6:9-10 ESV)

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 KJV)

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  (1 John 4:7-11 KJV)

Birds of the Bible – Spain

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Ian

I have enjoyed getting to know the Tim and Pam Darling, our missionaries, while they have been in transition from the field of Venezuela to Spain. We have all been praying for them to get their Resident Visas so they can get on over to Spain to start their new ministry. They now have the Visas in hand, which is a great answer to prayer. They are busy getting packed up and will go to Spain around the 10th of November.

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) by Nikhil Devasar
Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) by Nikhil

This blog is in honor of their friendship and to help them get to know the birds they may encounter in Spain. Thanks, Tim and Pam, for your friendship and our prayers will follow you as you travel and reach those in Spain for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Of course the Sparrows will be over there. The House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow and the White-throated Sparrows will help you to remember

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah (Psalms 84:3-4 ESV)

Along with them you will get to meet the Eurasian Hoopoe. A favorite of mine. There will be Swifts – Common, White-rumped, Little, Pallid and Plain Swifts. Also the Swallows – Red-rumped and the Barn.

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle(dove) and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

Lots of Doves and Pigeons to be on the lookout for – Rock Dove (pigeon), Eurasian Collared-Dove, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Laughing Dove, European Turtle-Dove, Bolle’s Pigeon, Laurel Pigeon and a Stock Pigeon. Only found the Common Crane listed there.

There are 9 kinds of Owls, 6 Falcons, 3 Kites, 3 Bitterns, 2 Cormorants, 4 Herons, 3 Storks, 3 Hawks, 2 Lapwings, the Osprey, 3 Partridges, 2 Quails and the Bobwhite, and 4 Swans.

There is the Common Raven and you know what the Word says about the Ravens.

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? (Luke 12:24 KJV)

Tawny Eagle by Africaddict
Tawny Eagle by Africaddict

Saved the Eagles for last, not because they are bad, but because of the promises that use them as examples. In Spain they have the Adalbert’s, Golden, Greater Spotted, Imperial, Lesser Spotted, Tawny, Short-toed Snake-Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle and the Booted Eagles.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:5 KJV)

The Darling’s are definitely not going to Spain to obtain earthly gains, but to gain heavenly rewards.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Tim and Pam, our collective prayers will go with you.

Learning From The Birds – Overwhelmed

A Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) chick being fed by a Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia Capensis)
A Shiny Cowbird chick being fed by a Rufous-collared Sparrow ©Wikipedia
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)

Brood parasites are organisms that use the strategy of brood parasitism, found among birds, fish or insects, involving the manipulation and use of host individuals either of the same or different species to raise the young of the brood-parasite. This relieves the parasitic parent from the investment of rearing young or building nests, enabling them to spend more time foraging, producing offspring etc. Additionally, the risk of egg loss to raiders such as raccoons is mitigated, by having distributed the eggs amongst a number of different nests. As this behavior is damaging to the host, it will often result conflict between parasite and host.

Interspecific brood-parasites include the Old World Cuckoos in Eurasia and Australia, Cowbirds and Black-headed Ducks in the Americas, and Indigobirds, Whydahs, and the Honeyguides in Africa.

Common Cuckoo being raised by a Reed Warbler©WikiC

Among specialist avian brood parasites, mimetic eggs are a nearly universal adaptation. There is even some evidence that the generalist Brown-headed Cowbird may have developed an egg coloration mimicking a number of their hosts.

Most avian brood parasites will remove a host egg when they lay one of their own in a nest. Depending upon the species, this can happen either in the same visit to the host nest or in a separate visit before or after the parasitism. This both prevents the host species from realizing their nest has been parasitized and reduces competition for the parasitic nestling once it hatches.

Most avian brood parasites have very short egg incubation periods and rapid nestling growth. This gives the parasitic nestling a head start on growth over its nestmates, allowing it to outcompete them. In cases where the host nestlings are significantly smaller than the parasite nestling, the host nestlings will often starve to death. Some brood parasites will eliminate all their nestmates shortly after hatching, either by ejecting them from the nest or killing them with sharp mandible hooks which fall off after a few days.

Whoa! This is NOT NICE! What is so amazing is that if not detected in time, many times the birds do find the intruding egg and toss it out, but most times, the unsuspecting parents raise this young bird as if it were it’s own.

What can we, as observers of this behavior, learn from the birds? I want to consider the host birds who have quite a challenge to face. They either fix the problem or they could be very “overwhelmed” with situation at hand.

My first thoughts were from a physical need. When faced with a health problem, we pray and visit the doctors and try to remedy the situation. Sometimes the ailment is not cured and we may be faced with an “overwhelming” need. Do we accept whatever the outcome and:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: (Philippians 4:11 NKJV)

Another lesson that could by learned by observing this “overwhelming” task might be in sharing the load. Often in churches, the ones who are willing to serve the Lord become very involved because of others not volunteering or helping. They keep taking on more responsibilities, not complaining, but in time they could become “overwhelmed.” We should find a way to:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 NKJV)

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV)

Bald Eagle Flying by Dave’s BirdingPix

The host birds accept the situation and do the best they can to raise the young bird. How do they do that? One worm at a time! When we become “overwhelmed,” that is just what we need do. No! Not by catching worms, but by taking one step at a time and harkening to the following promises:

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (2 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV)

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

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

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

(Some information from Wikipedia)

Birds of the Bible – At the National Aviary

Wattled Curassow (Crax globulosa) by Lee at National Aviary
Wattled Curassow (Crax globulosa) at National Aviary

Birds of the Bible – at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA seems like a logical topic. As you may be aware, Dan and I, visited the Aviary in August. What a fantastic place to see birds from all around the world. With over 800 birds, there had to be some of the birds mentioned in the Bible.

The Bible says that all birds were created by the Lord, so technically, they all qualify. For this blog, I will confine it to named types of birds. Birds mentioned below are in the same family of the named bird, at least according to the IOC list of Families and Orders.

I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. (Psalms 50:11 ESV)

And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; 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, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, … (Leviticus 11:13-19 KJV)

Birds of the Bible (In parenthesis are the birds found at the Aviary)

Their birds change from time to time and what we saw will change. We saw many more birds, but these are only the Birds mentioned by name (kind) in Scripture.