Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – Sugar Bird, Bananaquit or “Honeycreeper” of the Caribbean

Bananaquit or Sugar Bird © Val J. Lee

“Sugar Bird” and “Honeycreeper” best describes the fact these birds feast on nectar.

I shot this cute, yellow fella in Antigua—a plush Caribbean Isle. My husband enjoys flying me to distant lands, and he just happens to tag along. He is the romantic.

Here are three of my photos of this floating paradise area on the sea.

Antigua Sail Boat © Val J. Lee

Antigua © Val J. Lee

Antigua Sunset © Val J. Lee

I was most taken when I spotted this bright, feathery ave lurking here and there on this island stationed southeast of Cuba. I certainly consider birds a blessing from the LORD, being they are lovely, complex, intelligent, and resource the earth and sky as they desire.

Bananaquit or Sugar Bird © Val J. Lee

~

Over a month ago, my marvelous husband and I landed on Grand Cayman Island, and I spotted the Sugar Bird here as well (photo below). Unfortunately, this song bird appeared to prefer to be hidden in the tropical forests on this isle. On Antigua, they were more readily sighted.

Bananaquit or Sugar Bird of Grand Cayman © Val J. Lee

Aves certainly appear to rejoice in the life the Creator has provided them through their tweeting repertoires.

Here is my very short video of a Bananaquit singing on Grand Cayman:

My photo of Grand Cayman:

Grand-Cayman © Val J. Lee

My video of the Caribbean Sea stretching from Grand Cayman’s beach:

From the first Bananaquit photo you notice it is a passerine or perching bird. God provided it with four special toes to wrap around branches—3 forward and one that extends backward.

I revel in their golden splendor and their white crowned heads—the authentic regal beauty of the Bananaquit. I always stand in awe of Jesus Christ’s inspiring, artistic creations of wonder, even the minutest.

~

Sugar Bird Basics:

The Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) is a petite bird (4.5 inches long). It displays a slender, curved bill—uniquely created to obtain nectar from flora.

This Honeycreeper can be spotted in common wooded areas and gardens of the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America. Southern Florida is occasionally blessed by their presence.

At times, this yellow flyer will pierce flowers from the side, removing the nectar without pollinating the plant. It also partakes of fruit and insects. It relishes garden life and can become quite tame. One might even wiz through a front door of an Island home to nab a taste of sweetness from a sugar bowl as a surprise guest. (I know I certainly wouldn’t mind). Its nickname, Sugar Bird, comes from its affinity for bowls or bird feeders stocked with granulated sugar or Hummingbird nectar. (Living in Northwest America, I can’t imagine filling a bird feeder with plain sugar. My goodness the bees!)

The Bananaquit, its formal name, supposedly arose from the fact, it would pierce the flowers of Banana plants.

A rachis (resembles a rope or cord with rings) extends downward from a cluster of bananas and is adorned with a large purple flower on the end. It makes me think of a rope that rings a bell.

My photo of Bananas with purple closed flower on end of the rachis:

Antigua Bananas © Val J. Lee

Amazingly, over 100 billion bananas are consumed each year throughout the world. God has blessed this planet with this abundant yellow fruit that matches the small, yellow bird that enjoys its flowers.

The LORD’S magnificent, dainty, sugar flyer has dark grey upperparts, predominate yellow belly and rump, with a black head crowned with white markings. It also displays a red mark behind the bill. Males and females are matching pairs.

The Bananaquit owns a preen gland (uropygial gland) at the base of its tail. This gland produces a perfect mixture of waxes and oils that the are dispersed by the beak to coat feathers; maintaining flexible, resilient, and water-resistant wings. It also provides basic protection against parasites and bacteria. (God has created this gland in most birds.)

This Honeycreeper’s breeding season commences in resounding beauty—the most productive, flowering period of the year, March and April. The guy and gal’s courtship rituals of play includes bowing, bobbing and exhibiting brilliant, yellow tail feathers.

Once committed, the blond couple weaves a spheric nest of grass, narrow leaves, and twigs. A soft lining is added (the downy blanket). It may consist of many materials, including downy feathers. Bananaquit thieves have been known to steal rag material from mops left on porches. They also will implement the thread-like fibers of coconut husks that also afford many uses for men. One new business implemented the threads for a unusual, hanging ceiling.

At one time ornithologists studied a large range of their nests and “found them to have as many as 404 to 650 items used for nesting materials.” (I know my yard birds will find and sew my long red hair into their nests.) A side or bottom entrance concludes the construction.

The couple may choose to place the nest next to neighbors we would never want—wasps. Yes, if they place their nest adjacent to a wasp nest, they gain protection from predators. God did provide these lovely aves with observation reasoning.

The female will lay several clutches of two to three pale eggs with brown and red tinting. The babies hatch in 12-13 days and the fledglings fly from the nest in 15 to 18 days. A couple may raise 3 to 4 broods a year.

Their lifespan is around 7 years.

Following breeding season, the birds return to separate roosting, sleeping quarters, that are also nests. They do have brooding nests and roosting nests. This is unusual. The roosting nests house several yellows and the nests might be considered condo complexes.

We should never neglect giving thanks for the abundant winged life that sores across our globe. We need to be grateful for all created wonders. We need to offer thanksgiving to Jesus Christ, the Creator of all (Colossians 1:13-19), who died on a tree for every sin. He died for everyone, and whoever sincerely asks Him, in humility, to save them from their sins, can obtain eternal life and a personal relationship with Him. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

*Info gratefully obtained from various web sources.

Please click here to learn of God’s personal love for you: letter-to-bird-enthusiast

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barb Hagelin
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 09:16:09

    Your lovely insight of God and wondrous nature around us is INSPIRING and uplifting!

    Reply

    • Val Lee
      Jan 14, 2014 @ 20:45:57

      Hi Barb,

      Praise God, you are uplifted through His mighty craftsmanship. (Psalm 19)

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment!

      In gracious gratitude for you,

      Val Lee (Author of Cliques in the Church, Revelation the Explanation, Queen Esther/Looming Holocaust, and Apostasy in the Church. All three books can be read, free of charge, at Val Lee’s Weblog)

      Reply

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