Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee—Little Blue Penguins of Australia and New Zealand

Sydney Opera House by Val Lee

Our Ship docked adjacent to “Sydney Opera House.”

Sydney is the main city in the “down under” world of Australia.

Little Blue Penguin

                                                                 Little Blue Penguin

These are the cutest little things! It was such a blessing to see the winged wonders in person. Of course, I relished the koalas, wallabies and kangaroos too. God is amazing in all His creation, which no man can even begin to replicate, though he imagines he can. Man has a brain and mobility; yet, he cannot recreate what he believes absolutely nothing manufactured over limitless years. He cannot remanufacture one human hair to perfection.

The Little Blues scientific genus name, Eudyptula, translates “good little diver;” and who can dispute?

These penguins do not migrate. They are year-round residents of their island and mainland locations in the Southern Hemisphere.

The majority of Little Blue Penguins are found down under, aka Australia. Other places they call home include New Zealand and Chile. A small number of them have been spotted around Tasmania as well.

Their wings, used for swimming, hang down like arms, which adds to their cuteness when they walk about. Penguins do not fly; yet, are considered birds.

Little Blue Penguin swimming

They do swim so they seem more closely related to fish. However, spending a good deal of time on land, out of the water, makes them non-qualifiable.

All species of penguins are disabled to take to the sky. Overall, there are eight bird kinds which do not soar heavenward, including the Kiwi bird of New Zealand. (New Zealand folk refer to themselves as Kiwis after this bird and after the abundant kiwi fruit of New Zealand.) These eight genre are better equipped by God for swimming, walking, running (Ostriches run at 40 miles an hour) and diving.

Bible verses in Psalm 8 explain God crafted man to have dominion over all, including the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, and all which swim the paths of the seas. “Oh LORD God, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth.”

There are 17 species of penguins. Five penguin species reside in Antarctica. Most species love the beach with the heat including species of South Africa. Yes, this is not what most of us normally imagine.

Penguins’ pygmy legs and stocky-build provide them with that distinctive, adorable, waddling walk.

Upper parts of the Little Blues are pale blue to a dark grey-blue, depending upon age, season, etc. The Little Penguin Blue, “has slate-blue to black feathers and a white chin and chest.” Since this animal owns feathers and a beak, it must be classified as a bird, combining with the reasoning earlier stated.

Shiny feathers uniformly overlap to cover a penguin’s skin. Penguins have more feathers than most other birds, with about “100 feathers per square inch.” Penguin plumage is highly specialized—short, broad, and closely spaced, preventing water penetration … protecting the skin from hydrous elements. Tufts of down on the feather shafts or quills, increase the insulative properties of the feathers. God knows just how to design, allowing this seabird creation to thrive in every way.

In contrast to the other penguin species, Little Blues are nocturnal (night creatures). They usually will not waddle to a wave-reaching beach before dusk, and will depart before the dawn. However, in a reserve, you can observe them all day, though you often notice their eyes are shut. Little Blues are fed during the day, allowing patrons to continually view them.

Little Blues display bluish-gray eyes. Like other birds, penguins possess a nictitating membrane, sometimes called a third eyelid, though it resembles a clear-like mucus on penguins. This covering protects the eye from injury, being wonderfully manufactured by God for land and water. Other birds have three eyelids as well; also cats, dogs, reptiles, fish, and camels.

Penguin diminutive legs are strong, though they do not appear to be so. Their feet are webbed, with visible claws. The legs and feet are straight-backed to aid in streamlined navigation while skimming the seas. This placement also ensures penguins stand vertically and walk upright, which makes them doubly cute.

New Zealnd, Dusky Sound, fjords, cruise ship


New Zealand fjords © Val J. Lee

Dusky Sound, New Zealand, where many of the “Little Blue Penguins” breed,

and where my husband I cruised (ship with real grass, first photo). © Val J. Lee

At about three years of age, the Little Blues reach mating age. They will choose one mate for life, being monogamously faithful by Almighty God’s design. Ninety percent of bird kinds are monogamous.

Little Blue Penguins

Lifetime unions commence around June. Complex, maneuvering rituals are performed by the guys in order to get the females to take notice. A gal desires just the right guy since this is a life commitment. One would think, she certainly wants she and her guy, to be the cutest couple around, though every little penguin couple is winsome.

Courtship begins with the Little Blue guys performing courtship displays with calls to attention. A guy who desires to woo will hold his body in an upright position with flippers above his back, neck stretched, and head toward the sky. At which point, he emits a mule-like sound. Yes, it all sounds rather primitive.

On occasion, the single guy will perform in front of a nest he constructed. Apparently, to give a hint of his intentions of being a family man.

When a match is made in Aussie-land or Kiwi-land, the newly tied ones, present a display together. One will stand upright and spread its flippers with head bowed, which signals the other Little Blue to follow. At which point, they walk in small circles around the nest, braying as they go. After this public commitment performance, the couple honeymoon.

Nests vary by location with underground burros under thick grass-roots … the preferred way. However, some nests might be located in rock crevices or caves. Community burrows are slightly over six feet apart; being lined with grass, leaves, or seaweed.

In urban areas, nesting may involve man-made cavities—under buildings, stacks of wood, and even railroad tracks. In some areas, Blues may nest in artificial nest boxes supplied by humans, some quite artistic.

After securing the home environment, the petite homemaker will lay two eggs to her delight and the glee of the papa. And is it not interesting, God placed in the heart of birds the knowledge, these offspring belong to papa too and there is no question who the daddy is? In our wicked society, DNA testing must sometimes be implemented to determine, and such kits can be bought at pharmacies.

Both parents take turns incubating the eggs, their shifts can be for ten days or shorter. Mom’s eggs filled with mini Little Blues, must be incubated for a period of five weeks to develop their hatchlings. It is possible for mommies to lay more eggs through August of the same year.

Upon their chicks being hatched, all baby food sustenance is foraged for them by their parents during the day. The doting parents will sleep beside the nest at night.

Youth are made independent by their parents from 57 to 80 days.

Obviously, the Little Blue Penguins do not require a significant amount of fish food due to size. Their compact diet consists of little bitty fish, krill, and squid. They are known to dive in shallow waters, consuming the catches supplied by the LORD. Being quite petite, inshore fishing suits them best, while supplies last; if not, deeper waters will suffice.

The precious Little Blues live mainly in their own colony. The committed couple return to the same nesting area yearly.

On their first anniversary, the Blue male will arrive at the home nesting site and apply his carpentry skills, renovating last year’s nest. If he chooses not to do this, he will select a new homesite, digging, using his bill and feet. He will then stand in front of the readied nest and await his gal. Most likely, quite excited for their renewed, heart-felt commitment, and the new wee ones which will result.

The adorable Blues are highly social with the other penguins in the colony community. Jesus Christ made them gregarious, part of His marvelous design. Penguins needing penguins to fulfill inner needs.

Most penguin species go through one complete molt (shedding their feathers to be replaced with new) each year, usually following the breeding season. This is true of most birds.

During this period, the penguins are land-bound, not having enough adequate feathers to maneuver in water, leaving them food-less. Because God informs them their molting will begin in a few weeks, penguins increase their food intake, building a fat reserve to sustain them while they are denied a swim.

Birds are never attractive when they are molting. It is a bad feather-day or a long time.

Little Blues can become tasty-prey to a variety of predators, including—seals, sharks, weasels, snakes, rats and foxes.

Little Blue Penguin

Though penguins might appear silky smooth from afar, these flightless aves own about 10,000 feathers—three to four times the feather density of flyers. The feather bases are thick downy … trapping air, providing water-resistant insulation.

God further crafted the feather-tips to be stiff, preventing them from being compressed by water pressure. And He masterfully provides countershading. Penguins are dark when viewed from above, and light when viewed from below. In a marvelous way, this protects them with swimming camouflage.

Penguins are athletes of the seas, completely rhythmic and acrobatic—diving for long periods of time by God’s masterful design.

“Penguins can switch between two modes of oxygen use in the water—either starving their muscles or giving them an extra shot of oxygen;” thus maintaining oxygen operation when submerged.

The Little Blue Penguin’s standing height is 13 to 15 inches.

The life span for the Little Blues in the wild is about 6 ½ years.

Wild penguins may bite if touched.

Val Lee

(Info facts gratefully gathered from various websites)


My video slide show: 


Cute Penguin story in video:


Letter to bird enthusiast:  letter-to-bird-enthusiast

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee—Saffron Finch of Hawaii

Saffron Finch (male) © Val J. Lee

Saffron Finch (male) © Val J. Lee

My husband and I had a spectacular time feeding this wild Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola) on the volcanic Island of Hawaii—A paradise set atop black, molten rock.

Hawaii sunset (molten rock stretches into the ocean)

Hawaii sunset (molten rock stretches into the ocean) © Val J. Lee

This island continues to expand as God touches the volatile volcanoes and makes them smoke and spit their fiery lava skyward. (Psalm 144:5 refers to Almighty God touching the mountains to make them smoke.)

Hawaii volcano © Val J. Lee

Hawaii volcano © Val J. Lee

These petite Saffron Finches, sometimes called roof canaries, were plentiful at our vacation stay. They would bask in the sun and stiff grass in search of seeds, bugs and worms. They had no time to pay attention to vacationers who walked by within a few feet.

Saffrons provide pleasant songs, though often high-pitched.

Saffron Finch, (female) © Val J. Lee

Saffron Finch (female), © Val J. Lee

They mate at two years of age and are faithful to their mates, mating for life, as designed by God.

Jesus Christ designed His birds in such a way that 90% are monogamous. Colossians chapter 1, in the Bible, teaches, all things were created by Jesus Christ. He is God the Son who created with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Godhead, three in one.

Saffron Finch and English Sparrow (background), © Val J. Lee

Saffron Finch and English Sparrow (background), © Val J. Lee, Saffron Finch comparison to English Sparrow

“Saffron” explains the color of the finch, yellow to orange, the color of the stigmas of the Mediterranean crocus plant that are dried to sell as a spice, and it is the most costly of herbs. Though you can find it at an inexpensive price at Amazon.

They are a gregarious bird, outside of breeding season; seen in groups with fellow Saffrons, as I observed.

My video of Saffron Finch:

Saffron meals include a mixture of grass seeds, wild seeds, plants, ant eggs, mealworms, wax-worms, and fruit fly larva. They do visit feeders and will sometimes make a nest under an eave of a house. A homeowner may provide a ready-made nest such as a large, elevated, gourd bird house.

It is a Tanager bird from South America. In North America we have the Western Tanager that is far more striking in vibrancy.

Western Tanager (male) © Val J. Lee

Western Tanager (male) © Val J. Lee

The Saffron Finch is common in open and semi-open areas in lowlands. It can be spotted in Colombia, western Ecuador, western Peru, Brazil (here referred to as “native canary”), Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern islands of South America and the Caribbean.

It was introduced to Hawaii and other locals.

Though commonly thought of as a canary, it is not related to this ave.

Saffron Finches, though exotic birds, can be bought in pet stores, and make hardy, caged pets.

Male Saffron Finches are territorial and will fight for a nesting area for he and his bride during mating season. He will even fight unto death and will not only wrestle fellow Saffrons, but also large male birds twice its size.

Due to this aggressive nature, male Saffrons are frequently used as fighting birds in South America. They are the pit bulls of birds. This is referred to as “blood sporting.” Two are placed in a cage to fight until the loser dies. Wagers are placed on the preferred bird. It is not highly favored and authorities will raid locations of the fights.

Saffron Finch (male) © Val J. Lee

Saffron Finch (male) © Val J. Lee

When a Mr. Saffron spots the gal of his dreams, he will chase her until he has won her heart. At which point, he will court the gal, sitting beside her, romancing her with dancing and songs.

Mommy finches will lay three to five off-white eggs, heavily marked in brown, in a cavity of a tree, crevice in a rock, in an abandoned nest or under an eave of a building, using sticks or bamboo.

Mom incubates the eggs while Dad guards the nest. Incubation is 12 to 14 days. Upon hatching, both parents feed the young and the doting father often checks on his babies.

Baby bird diaper changing involves both the male and female removing the waste from the nest, placing it in their beaks and flying it away.

The young Saffrons resemble their mommies. Hatchlings, are often olive-brown with heavy dark streaks. The males are slightly lighter than the females.

After a few days the chicks fledge (fly from the nest).

A Saffron Finch is over 5 inches in length, weighing in at .7 ounces.

Their flight pattern consists of rapid wing beats with its rounded wings pulled to its sides. Its feathers are black, edged in yellow with yellow-green upper-tail coverts: Covers for all other feathers. Coverts help smooth airflow over the wings and tail.

Adult males are brighter yellow than the females and display an orange crown. Females are more greenish in general. Saffrons, at times, can be difficult to distinguish and often, you see photos at birding sites where the gender is not provided.

Saffron Finch, (female) © Val J. Lee

Saffron Finch, (female) © Val J. Lee

God’s manufactured phenomenal wings; blessing birds with an oil gland at the base of their tail, whereby, birds take the oil and cover their wings for weather-proofing while preening or grooming their plumage. This includes aligning their feathers as well. God tells them what to do to for maintenance for perfect piloting.

Birds, in general, can own up to 25,000 feathers. This includes their numerous, itsy bitsy down feathers.

Tanagers experience a molt and also, a half molt. When a bird molts, they lose all their feathers, unless it is a half molt. A complete molt is when they gain a new set of pinions from God. Unfortunately, we humans can never shed our old bodies for new ones. Though true Christians will obtain new bodies one day in heaven.

Most birds molt after the nesting season.

The LORD God blesses Saffron Finches with an average lifespan of 10 years.

In the Bible book of Hosea, God reveals to us, during the millennium, when Jesus Christ rules the earth from Jerusalem, that the birds will be blessed! God will make a covenant with the birds. They will enjoy peace!  There will be no more war! They will be able to lie down in complete safety. (Hosea 2:18)

Letter to bird enthusiast: letter-to-bird-enthusiast

Bird data gratefully gathered from various web sources.
My Hawaii Part 2, video with Saffron Finch: YrogeWMHltSTdCkspkQ&index=13

Hawaii Part 1, video of volcanos:

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee —African Golden Weaver Bird

African Golden Weaver Bird (female) © Val J. Lee

African Golden Weaver Bird (female) © Val J. Lee

The African Golden (or yellow) Weavers, Ploceus subaureus, are intricate artisans! Males are the architects and constructors of painstakingly weaved creations. Bird lovers are enthralled when they gaze upon their ingenuity. These creations are their renown, fostering the best African environment for their young … an exquisite, rounded green tree house. God manufactured each and every bird, and He knows which nest will best accommodate each species in regard to their composition and environment.

I am set in awe observing homes of breeding aves. Complex engineering capabilities have been implanted in each bird, classified as “Weavers” or not. Jesus Christ is absolutely awesome in His wonders. The songs, flight and nesting distinctions of flyers are worth our observation time.

My video shows an African Golden Weaver and Weaver nests:

The Golden male who wants to make the plunge into fatherhood, will build one of these remarkable rounded nests which dangles from a tree. This caring, feathered, father to be, is most selective regarding the timber, foreseeing the fact, African tribesmen and their male young hunt for the eggs of Weavers for food. God instilled wisdom in this bird so he can avoid humans, animal predators and weather obstacles. A Weaver will selects a tree that is covered in biting insects, including ants. Who or what would want to venture near?

He begins his home plot with one long blade of grass, which he snips at ground base with his black beak, and in which, he carries it away to a limb where he ties it securely. His beak and balancing skills are his tools of necessity, implemented for every aspect of his love nest.

Dad-to-be must carefully sew each blade of grass—the thread, with his beak—the needle. This might be reminiscent of a young lady sewing a wedding dress by hand. He eventually forms a nest hole entrance, using his head as a guide for size (no tape-measure is ready-handy) for the doorless portal which will be placed at the base of the home, that must not be too large or predators can see in and get in. Absolutely, no windows.

Snakes also are unable to slither in with this type of architectural style; they drop to the ground having no support while they attempt to reach. A bottom-holed nest also protects from the strong flooding African rains. A regular nest, cradle-like, would flood over and over again.

The rounded nest requires hundreds of blades of grass, woven tightly together to make it durable. These homes are winsome; you could put a price tag on each one.

This nest crafting requires a great deal of practice and sometimes the nest falls, through lack of fatherly experience.

Male suitors know an eligible lady will be most particular about the nest she chooses. Her design is mainly on the green nest (and it must be fresh and green), not the male carpenter suitor. I mean, of course, she is going to place her unhatched babies in it and they will be nurtured and raised within. It must be of the finest, practical art form.

(Birds who have never had previous families know the cycle of procreation; God has laid it in their hearts and minds as the Bible teaches—Jeremiah 8:7)

The male courtier will wave his wings and call out, to get a gal’s attention after the nest is completed. If the gal is a bit interested, she will inspect the complex grass hut to see if it is suitable for a family. Often times a male’s arduous work will be rejected to his deep disappointment. He will simply have to untie the nest, letting it drop; and then, will begin again the tedious construction with hundreds of more blades of grass to be sewn in hopes of future acceptance. (It must drop to the ground, owning it will turn brown and a female will not choose a brown nest. Plus he must rebuild in his territorial, branch site with his fellow Golden, feathered friends.) Don’t feel too sorry for the young fellow, outside of forging for his daily diet—insects, seeds, and nectar, this is all he has to do.

Mom-to-be does have her small part involving the nest. She lines it with soft grasses and down to protect her precious wee ones, she being the one who truly wants them in soft snugness. Any mother can relate to down baby comforters.

God has implanted in female birds just the right time for their laying. It would be harmful for expecting birds to hold within the growing eggs beyond God’s perfect prescription. He knows the perfect timing for the womb process of release. Of course, this is true of humans as well. A woman does not want to be carrying a 50 pound baby around in her belly. A child appears when it is done in the its mother’s oven.

When the two to four durable, Golden Weaver light blue eggs are laid, Mom will solely incubate them.

God protects His vulnerable creation including bird mommies. This is what He commanded in the Old Testament regarding bird eggs or hatchlings and snatching.

Deuteronomy 22:6-7: “If you happen to come upon a bird’s nest along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall certainly let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, in order that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.”

A Golden Weaver mother may experience deception from an Diederik Cuckoo Bird. Her laid eggs may include an egg from this hoodwinking flyer. The Cuckoo often engages in brood parasitism—placing its eggs in other bird nests. (Only God truly understands the heart of parasitism birds—birds who want others to raise their babies. God does create some animal life to make us laugh.) I guess they don’t feel they have the time to build a home and raise a family, or are simply too lazy to do so. The scoundrels will use the mothering instincts of the Golden Weavers for their selfish benefit. They place their egg in a Golden’s nest, disposing of a Weaver egg when mom is away foraging for food. Cuckoos are aware of the counting abilities afforded to all birds by God.

Mothers know the cry of their hatched young. They recognize the voice of their mate and nearby nesting birds. When a baby Golden becomes extremely hungry and wants Mom to know, it bellows its voice, creating a strange, unusual racket. The hatchling wants Mom to feel sorry for it so she will get on the move with food. Sound familiar? This fact came to light through a German and Swiss ornithologists’ study of Golden Weavers.

Cute Cat Alfredo © Val J. Lee

Cute Cat Alfredo © Val J. Lee

Recently, my husband and I went on vacation. We left plenty of food and water for our cute cat, Alfredo. Also our son came by to check on him. When we returned home, after being away more than two weeks, Alfredo voiced the most mournful cries. Never had we heard such expressions speak from him previously. It tore our hearts. He was extremely elated to see us; yet he wanted us to know he did not like us leaving him! Many love scratchings and hugs did calm him down.


God wisely implements a female bird to address unfaithfulness in the Bible—Proverbs 27:8, “Like a bird who wonders from her nest, so is a man who wonders from his home.” Of course, if a mother ave were to lose her way, taking a too distant flight, and not locating her homeward course, she could not nourish her needy young. She would be left in deep and sad distress, crying rapid bird calls that her doomed chicks cannot hear.

A man who chooses to be unfaithful to his wife and leaves her and their children, carries no wisdom or godly faithfulness. He acts like a fish out of water so to speak, being one who has abandoned his home for what he believes to be great party times. But he is blind to the fact his life is torn into pieces and he will pay the consequences the rest of his life. The wife and children grieve the most. Such a departure leaves lifetime scars. I have a friend and her son-in-law left her beautiful daughter and their sons to do his own thing. Today, many years hence, he says it was the worst decision he ever lived out. His life became a mess, like a nest fallen to the ground.


Male Golden Weavers are bright yellow, and they display a tinge of orange on the head. Females are light brown with a lighter underside, and possess pink-brown beaks. They are native to south and east Africa. Their lifespan is a quandary.

Here, I must divulge, I did not shoot the photo and video in Africa. That would have been great if possible. I have only viewed Africa from afar, and that was when peering at its Northern end from Gibraltar. I do have a cousin, once removed, who served as a missionary in Africa the majority of her life. She has been significantly used of God, introducing many to Jesus Christ. She now lives in a retirement area for missionaries in Sebring, Florida. My husband, other family members and myself visited her in Sebring several years ago. She regally put on the food spread, and entertained us with her stories!

When she first ventured to the mission field, her hut was adjacent to a cannibal graveyard. She rode her bike to get about with God’s message of eternal hope. (to understand eternal hope, please click on “Letter to Bird Enthusiast” on right bar within “Categories,” above.)

When she was on furlough in the states, she would teach children the Good News of Jesus Christ. She has never been one to sit around and neglect God’s message.  She is now 98 years of age.

The Animal Kingdom in Orlando is where I took the photo and shot the video, in the African aviary. This theme park houses many interesting species of beasts, many of them African.

Letter to the bird Enthusiast: letter-to-bird-enthusiast

*Info gathered from various websites.

A detailed, educational BBC video link of the Weaver:

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – The Great White Heron and The Great Blue Heron

Great White Heron © Val J. Lee

Great White Heron © Val J. Lee

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to observe two Great White Herons; as well as the pristine coastal setting of Punta del este, Uruguay.

My husband and I trekked beside the edge of the ocean with eyes wide open in attempt to catch it all. There is a broad, concrete walkway; whereby we could behold a great deal of sea life.

Punta del este, Uruguay © Val J. Lee

Punta del este, Uruguay © Val J. Lee

We arrived at this port of call by water taxi, aka a tender, from our cruise ship.

© Val J. Lee

The Great White Heron, above, is quite rare. It is recognized by its bright white, hanging feather headdress. Also displayed on the Great Blue Heron.

My video of Great White Heron:

I assumed I would never be able to see a Great White Heron, knowing they are incredibly rare. Many birders, even the world’s experts, surmise that Great Egrets are the Great White Herons, though they hold differences. These Egrets do not reveal the snow-white headdress that is always on display atop the Great White Herons.

Great White Heron © Val J. Lee

Great White Heron © Val J. Lee

An ornithologist, employed by Boise State University, informed me regarding the truth of these rare, exquisite specimens that exist on a small island in the lower Florida Keys.

A debate arose in our area of Idaho over a visiting, Great White Egret. A retired Boise State ornithologist, his wife and I were watching this elegant, white Heron at a wildlife area. I was thrilled to observe this shinning, white beauty! I had never seen an ave like it in Idaho, though I had in Florida:

Great Egret © Val J. Lee

Great Egret © Val J. Lee

Egrets are quite common there. The ornithologist, being a former teacher, naturally asked me if I knew what kind of bird it was. I was not absolutely sure, though obviously it resembled an Egret. He enthusiastically let me know that I was in the presence of a Great White Heron. What a privileged sighting I thought, until I sent an email and attached a photo of the Heron to our Audubon president, Pam. This was forwarded to birding experts. I received various opinions and info. The person, who seemed most knowledgable on the subject, was a current BSU ornithologist, who, as I mentioned above, seemed most accurate from what I personally researched. It was a Great White Egret not a Great White Heron.

Great White Herons display a long black or yellow beak with yellow or black legs set on yellow feet. Great White Egrets reveal a yellow beak and black legs on dark feet. The Snowy Egrets display a black beak and black legs on yellow feet. The Great Blue Herons reveal a yellow beak and dark grey legs on dark grey feet.

From my Uruguay photos, I noticed the legs on one of the Great White Herons to be yellow, topping matching yellow feet, and the other Great White revealed black limbs on yellow feet.

The White Herons in my photos do not reveal lower neck feather plumage; however, they are not often seen on the Great Blue Herons.


© Val J. Lee

© Val J. Lee


This growth appears as Herons age, the older the Blue Heron, the more lower throat feathers—and more impressive are its looks.

Great Blue Heron  © Val J. Lee

Great Blue Heron © Val J. Lee

Of course, ornithologists relish in the classifications they place on birds as the “authorities,” though many of their dubbings change over time. I am not complaining, ornithologists are a great assist in the realm of birding assessment.

I do believe the Great White Heron is a unique Heron. It may simply be an easy tag for those Whites that do not stay in the lines.

The Great White Heron is close in appearance to the Great Blue Heron, excepting the bleached coloring and beak and leg hues.

Even in the Florida Keys, the home of the Great White Heron, there seems to not be a completely convincing argument regarding the Great White Heron:

As you read here, the Florida Keys Great White Heron (lower right photo) also displays yellow legs, not the dark legs of the Blue Heron. What is the obvious difference with the Uruguay Great Whites and the Florida Keys Great Whites is the black beak.

The below information also states the Great White Herons are only located in this Florida Keys refuge. This is referring to their location in the United States. This is where the majority of this species congregate and where they live exclusively in America. The also dwell in the Yucatan Peninsula, and in the Caribbean. And, of course, I photographed them in Uruguay.

Info from US Fish and Wildlife:

Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 as a haven for great white herons, migratory birds, and other wildlife. Great white herons are a white color-phase of great blue herons and are only found in the Florida Keys. The refuge was created to protect great white herons from extinction. Great White Heron NWR is accessible only by boat.

(I must personally add, I believe they were crafted by God in all their white glory from the beginning of creation.)

Interestingly, Wikipedia states Great White Herons and Great Egrets are the same.

You also have the Snowy Egret to compare to. If you peer at various Snowy Egret photos, you see how much resemblance there is to the Great White Heron overall.

Many Snowy Egrets will reveal a tall, head feather warbonnet and lower feather dress—expanding like a radiant full skirt; this during courtship exhibitions. The display and precision movements are amazingly gorgeous; all crafted by Jesus Christ. They also reveal long, poofy tail feathers, every season.

The Great White Heron’s upper headdress is not for breeding impressions, being viewed continually, as stated previously. The Great White Egret’s is a breeding presentation only.

It is also interesting to note that dark and white forms of the Great Blue Heron overlap in Florida. They are the intermediate Herons known as “Wurdemann’s Herons.” They have the body of a Great Blue Heron, but the white head and neck of the Great White Heron.

Years ago, I noted a Blue Heron that was quite lighter in color than the average. It lived in our local wildlife park. I am sure it would be classified as a Wurdemann’s, though it was in Idaho.


Great Blue Heron and Great White Heron interesting facts:

I appreciate the fact that some of the Blue Herons at our Boise, Idaho, “Katherine Albertson Park” of wildlife, do not mind me moving in with my camera. I love the varying details of this grand specimen that can contort to a multitude of poses when fishing—truly a must see. The same is true of the Great White Heron. These Herons can be ballerina-like in their movements. White Herons are more so, wearing their prim, white dress that often becomes a full skirt.

You simply gaze on in amazement as you observe and watch the contortion of the necks of these Herons that often resemble an “S.” These proficient anglers always snatch their catch in a wink, but their work does not end there. They must maneuver their captured, finned critter down their long snake-like throats to reach the point of digestion.

One thing to note about these wingers, is, they are loners. You never see a large Heron fishing with another.

The Great Herons are spectacular, photogenic, wading birds of the heron family Ardeidae (Blue Heron) and Ardea alba (White Heron).

Great Blue Heron © Val J. Lee

Great Blue Heron © Val J. Lee

The Great Blue Heron is an eye-catcher, and it is commonly viewed near the shores of open water—in wetlands over most of North and Central America, as well as the West Indies. It is a rare vagrant to Europe.

The Great Blue Heron is definitely the largest North American Heron, with a head to tail length of 36-55 inches. Plus, an impressive wingspan of 66-79 inches.

 © Val J. Lee

© Val J. Lee

It weighs in at 4.6 pounds (on average). The Great White Heron may hold slightly smaller dimensions.

The Blue Heron is incredible in formation with azure feathers that cover the main body. It displays red-brown thighs, with a paired red-brown and black stripe up the flanks. Its neck is rusty-gray, with black and white streaking down the front. The crown is white, and its forehead, and sides of face. A pair of black plumes run from above the eye to the back of the head. The feathers on the lower neck are long and pluming.

Great Blue HeronGreat Blue Heron © Val J. Lee

Great Blue HeronGreat Blue Heron © Val J. Lee

Their bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, along with its lower legs. Male and female are indistinctive.

The Great White Heron is, of course, completely snow white, except for its yellow or black legs, yellow feet and black or yellow bill.

Blues and Whites comb their down feathers with a claw on their middle toes, acting as a brush, removing all that yucky fish slime from their fishing times. They apply a powder that protects their feathers against the slime of swamps and ponds, as well as from the oily foods they consume. Obviously, they are uniquely and marvelously designed by Jesus Christ.

The call of Herons is a harsh loud croak. You can hear it from afar and it always catches my attention. For sure! Herons are most vocal during the breeding season.

The primary food for Herons is small fish, though they are also known to relish a range of shrimps, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents, other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds.

Great Blue Heron © Val J. Lee

Great Blue Heron © Val J. Lee

It is fun to watch Herons consume their catch of the day, implementing their bills as swords. They spear it and swallow it whole. Yes, most amazing! Their angling habits are performed day and night.

I have heard Blue Herons flying in the dark; obviously trekking to their next fishing hole. God has granted them day and nocturnal vision for all their hunger needs. They most often roost for a good night snooze when the sun is setting.

My video of a Blue Heron roosting:

This species usually breeds in a monospecific (only of their kind) colony—a heronry; in trees close to lakes or other wetlands. A heronry may include other species of Herons.

The size of these colonies may be large, ranging between 5–500 nests per tree village. Several years ago, I saw such a colony. It was quite impressive … seeing all those nests in one tree.

The males are quite elaborate in their courting displays for the ladies with their concocting bodies, extended necks, bills raised to the sky, circling flights, as well as courtship noises for attention. God implements all of this to bond parents to raise their young as a team.

Parents take turns warming their unhatched young, consisting of three to six pale blue eggs. Once the wee ones are released from their shells, parents share in the responsibility of nourishment, regurgitating their caught prey to make it more like baby food during the first three weeks. The young will take directly from the beak from after this period, until the seven to eight week mark, at which time, the young will fledge—soaring through the air in their first solo flight.

Herons are monogamous during the breeding season, raising one brood. They may or may not choose the same mate the following year.

Whites and Blues live an average of 15 years. One Blue holds the age record of 23 years. God has granted them great length of days.

The LORD Jesus Christ was most gracious to provide us with this glorious, structured being. He created everything according to His desires and omnipotently. Psalm 148 from the Bible, encourages our praise to God. Praise is commanded from the heavens and praise from the earth, because the LORD commanded and all things were created. The birds are commanded to praise Him—all of creation, including mankind, are to praise the LORD for His goodness in presenting creation.

*Info gratefully gathered from various web sources.

Letter to the bird Enthusiast: letter-to-bird-enthusiast

My South American Video Show:

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – Penguins (Magellanic and Gentoo)

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee


Penguins (Juvenile)

Seeing the Penguins of Patagonia in South America was a dream come true. The LORD God was completely gracious to allow my husband, Al, and I, this blessed experience. We departed from Ushuaia, Argentina, in an enclosed, water tour craft to see the wonders of the Beagle Channel, within the Straights of Magellan. This is called the “End of the World.” The Beagle Channel, or Beagle Canal, is 150 miles long, encompassing both Argentina and Chile. It runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, east to west or visa versa. In this area of the end of the world, you round the cape (Cape Horn) by ship,

Cape Horn © Val J. Lee

Cape Horn © Val J. Lee

And later view the Andes Mountains in the Strait of Magellan.

Strait of Magellan © Val J. Lee

Strait of Magellan © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

These little Penguin guys are just all too cute.


Jesus Christ certainly blessed mankind when He created these multifunctional bird/fish creatures. He gave us countless animals who own captivating attributes that thrill our hearts.

Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

It was such a joy to have a Penguin jumping in and out of the water next to our boat like a dolphin for a short period, as we traveled the Beagle Channel.

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic is strictly a South American Penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. A few do migrate to Brazil. The Magellanic Penguin breed was named after the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan who first spotted this bird in 1520. Of course, the Strait of Magellan was named after him as well.

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguin © Val J. Lee

These bird/fish travel in flocks when merging with ocean waters when on the hunt. They swim like fish as perfect underwater divers who love to catch and eat their fill of petite sea-creatures in God’s life-springing blue waters that provide them with cuttlefish, squid, krill and crustaceans. Great things to munch on. Bon-appetit.

There are 12 types of Penguins. They all ingest salt water with their prey food, their salt excreting glands cleanses the salt from their bodies. No one who has common sense, can absolutely declare that absolutely nothing created these magnificently crafted creatures. Evolution is the god of the foolish. As the Bible states, the fool says in his heart there is no God. (Psalm 14:1)

The Magellanic swimming birds are 24 to 30 inches in length and can weigh up to 14 pounds—weight can vary. The weight of both parents drops significantly during the feeding of their young.

Magellanic Penguins are migratory, some birds traveling as far north as Peru and Brazil to winter.

Parents feed their chicks by regurgitating partially digested food; this is the way of all Penguins. As we note often in wildlife, the males are larger than the females.

You can view from the photos the fact the adults have black backs and white abdomens. They possess a black stripe that runs from their beak upward. It then travels down the back on their heads, and then, wraps like a necklace about their throat.

Penguins (Juvenile)

Chicks and juveniles display grey-blue backs, with a more faded grey-blue color upon their chest. (See photo above)

Magellanic Penguins can live up to 25 years in the wild; however, as long as 30 years in captivity. God is gracious with the years of life He grants them.

Akin to other Penguin species, the Magellanic, has very rigid wings, implemented to cruise under water, as if in flight. They also own the best manufactured eyes for hunting in water and living on land … an amazingly crafted bird for land and sea; though not for air flight as they are a non-soaring bird.

Magellanic Penguins are faithful for life in union. They have been utilized for illustration, to explain how people should be faithful in marriage for life, including one European, secular news source: “Nature’s most loyal lovers: Magellanic Penguins always return to same mate after solo journeys totaling 200,000 miles.” One unique couple remained faithful for 16 years.  This was remarkable as Penguins can easily perish due to the many hazards they encounter.  Many Penguins have to locate new mates as many do not survive the year.

Penguins are equipped by God with locating apparatus within. Among hundreds of thousands of birds, a male or female can home in on their special someone through their one of a kind, distinct call. And parents and their young can locate each other through voice recognition. Penguins can appear alike to us, but they recognize their differences. It is slightly similar to a racial group all appearing the same to a person of a different nationality, though they well distinguish themselves among themselves. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no animal is totally like another. God is not known to make copycats in His animal kingdom and human kingdom.

We all know there will never be another Abraham Lincoln nor Bobbie the Wonder Dog. In 1923, Bobbie traveled with his family from Silverton, Oregon to Indiana for the family’s vacation. He was a two year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd mix. Sadly, during the vacation, Bobbie was separated from his owners. The family engaged in an exhaustive search. Unfortunately, they could not locate their beloved canine. They were forced to return to Oregon. Six months later, February of 1924, Bobbie appeared on the doorstep of his home in Silverton. He was extremely thin, dirty, and weak. His feet were worn to the bone. Bobbie had walked 2,551 miles (4,105 km) across the United States to return home. God was gracious to this family and dog.

Animals and mankind are handcrafted by God Almighty. God says of man that he is fearfully and wonderfully created from the time of conception in Psalm 139, within the Bible. Man is different from animals as man has an eternal soul. Animals do not. This is why Christ came and died for you that you might be saved from your sins and live eternally in heaven. Please click here to learn of God’s personal love for you: letter-to-bird-enthusiast

When Penguins are attracted to each other for a lifetime commitment, they will woo each other by performing a display stretch with their necks, point their beaks skywards, while spreading their wings and making a braying (donkey-like) noise. This is performed repetitively, over periods of an hour or more. Magellanic Penguins also perform allopreening (preening or grooming each other with their beaks). This serves a dual purpose, it reinforces bonds between Penguins and removes parasites; though the later is not romantic at all.


Nesting burrows of Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

Nesting burrows of Magellanic Penguins © Val J. Lee

An Attached Penguin male will reclaim his nesting burrow (They dig holes with a mound at the top) from the previous year and await to reconnect with his lifetime mate—the mother of all their chicks.

The Penguins nest in communities, being most social.

Their nests are constructed under bushes if not burrowed. Two eggs are generally laid. God created them to lay the perfect eggs, which do not fall on ledges, they spin because they own one narrow end and balance themselves. The incubation period is 39–42 days. Mom and Dad take turns guarding the nest. While one takes the sentry position, the other sets out to sea for food. Eggs and young chicks can fall victim to various types of Seagulls so parents must always be on guard duty.

After hatching, Mom and Dad share in their task of chick care. Chicks are fed daily, with one of their parents leaving the colony in early morning and returning with food later the same day. Fledging (departing the nest) occurs at 9 to 17 weeks of age. The offspring are raised through adulthood.

Magellanic Penguins, at the Patagonian coastal areas, are classified as a threatened species due to the vulnerability of large breeding colonies to oil tanker discharges. Sea lions and Giant Petrels also prey on the young.

Sea Lions of South America © Val J. Lee

Sea Lions of South America © Val J. Lee

Petrels with Seagulls, Magellanic enemies © Val J. Lee

Petrels with Seagulls, Magellanic enemies © Val J. Lee

Additionally, heavy rain can lead to the flooding of burrows and killing of chicks, which have yet to develop waterproof plumage. And burrows can collapse when trampled on by guanacos (family of Lamas) or cattle. These aves also can be plagued by Penguin fleas, though this is not life-threatening.

Magellanic Penguins are considered relatively aggressive and can inflict a strong bite if handled. Although they can be approached, they are wary of unfamiliar people.

Magellanic Penguins with Guanay Cormorant © Val J. Lee

Magellanic Penguins with Guanay Cormorant © Val J. Lee

Guanay Cormorants were everywhere. They appear to be Penguins, when amongst the Penguins. You have to peer and observe to see the difference. (See photo above)

Gentoo Penguin © Val J. Lee

Gentoo Penguin in need of a bath © Val J. Lee

The Gentoo Penguins live amongst the Magellanic as if they were of the same family of Penguin. The Gentoo Penguin is easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending like a hat bonnet across the top of its head and its red bill. Also they display pale-pink webbed feet, and a fairly long tail—the most prominent tail of all Penguins.

Nests for their offspring consist of a roughly, circular pile of stones and can be on the large side. The stones are jealously guarded! Their acquired ownership can be the subject of noisy disputes between individual Penguins. The stones are prized by the female Gentoos. A male Penguin knows he can strand in good favor of a female by offering her a nice stone. Needless to say, a great deal of theft takes place during nesting season. They lay two eggs and both parents care for the young, same as the Magellanic.

Gentoo Penguin © Val J. Lee

Gentoo Penguin © Val J. Lee

As the Gentoo Penguin waddles along on land, its extended tail sweeps from side to side like a broom. This visualization explains their scientific name “Pygoscelis,” which translates—”rump-tailed.”

The Gentoo Penguin can reach speeds up to 22 miles per hour, swimming under water. (The Magellanic can reach speeds of 15 mph.) They are not tortoises when it comes to motoring through the oceans. Top Olympian swimmers can swim in the ocean at 2 miles per hour.

Gentoos are also jumping Penguins. God masterfully created them to jump and run quickly over the rocks where they live. They can even outrun people.

Side note: Sailors discovered Penguin eggs could be kept 6 months when rubbed with oil and placed in sand for a future food source.

*Info gratefully gathered from various web sources.

Please click on blue to view my South American slide video:  South America – Beautiful Scenery Slide Show

Please click on blue to view my Sea Lion video: Sea Lions at the end of the world in Ushuaia

*Advertisements are not placed by me, they are placed on the post by Word Press. I apologize for anything inappropriate. 

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – Merganser (Hooded)

Hooded Merganser (Male) © Val J. Lee

I photographed this distinct drake at my favorite park—Katherine Albertson. This is a Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) and it can cause quite the upset for any photographer. These non-quacking ducks are always on the move as agile swimmers and divers. When on a fishing expedition, they will submerge for a long stretch in time and emerge at a distant local. You can never guess where that odd, adjustable head will pop up next! They can hold their breath for as long as is needed. Wow! God is amazing in His creation; He provided all that is necessary by design for survival.

The pronounced ID on male Hooded Mergansers is the crest at the rear of the head which can expand or contract. This collapsible pinnacle is a large white patch when in full diadem array. You cannot help but be amazed by God when you see all the various ways the intricate beauty crest, glowing white, with black, can maneuver by the whim of the Merganser. Jesus Christ, out of His goodness, has made His created elegance everywhere present in the wilds of North America. The male Merganser is a true representative of this fact.

Hooded Merganser (male) © Val J. Lee

The crest can even fold into a marked out, artistic triangle (photo above). No man manufactured, transformer toy can maneuver and perform like the male Merganser crest can! It is my favorite American duck when it comes to loveliness. I am also impressed by their stately manner when they glide through the water.

Females display a crest as well; however, not as near impressive. They can throw it about and maneuver it in other ways, but it cannot beat their counterpart’s crowning agility of appeal.

This angry gal is the mate of the Male Merganser in my first video. Notice her unusual webbed feet. These ducks are prettier when their feet are hidden when floating on ponds.

The eighteen inch Merganser, with a wingspan of 27 inches, inhabits swamps and wooded ponds in America and Canada, bursting with tasty, aquatic life. They breed in northern locals and winter in the southern US.

Though this bird is on the shy side normally, this all changes during courtship. Males will involve themselves in a number of elaborate display expressions. What also surfaces is the definitive vocalizations—chattering or grunting, but never quacking in conversation.

Hooded Mergansers (female and male) © Val J. Lee

Their courting habits remind me of an ancient, native American war dance, waged against pioneers. Male suitors will surround a single gal, and each hopes to win her heart. They all attempt to impress with their vibrant, white crests in full expansion (akin to white and black feathered, native warbonnets); their necks bobbing their heads. They sometimes place their faces toward the sky, as they uplift themselves out of the water—an added, tasteful touch to a gala performance. As they seek to own, they will act like Indians on horseback, circling a wagon train in full determined expression. She is the center of attention and she shines.

Couples pair in early winter, nesting in tree cavities adjacent to water. (also characteristic of Wood Ducks) Between 10 to 12 spherical, thick-shelled eggs are laid. They are either white or green-blue; though an occasional black is laid.

Mom Merganser incubates the eggs for about a month. (Fowl eggs are completely amazing. God creates young within protective shells and He tells moms how to perfectly care for the unborn young through incubation, rotation, etc. Some male birds also assist on the nest.)

She solely tends the young until 10 weeks of age, when they are able to fend for themselves.

Male Hooded Merganser © Val J. Lee

What ushers in further amazement with this ave, is its eye equipment. The Merganser can change the refractive properties of its eyes to enhance its underwater vision. Their eyes are itsy-bitsy-cute; yet masterfully designed for underwater and above-water usage. The nictating membrane (third eyelid) is transparent, implemented for eye protection when diving, akin to donning a pair of goggles.

Its thin, black, long bill is a resourceful sawbill—a serrated cutting beak with edges—ideally suited for capturing and controlling slippery fish (their staple diet) and other aquatic delicacies such as crustaceans and insects.

Hooded Merganser (male) © Val J. Lee

Wow, isn’t God amazing in composing? And just think, Mergansers never have to plant fields, gather into barns or worry about having enough money for their next meal (Matthew 6:26). God has created all they require in abundance. Those who love Jesus Christ need never worry as well—birds bearing the mental picture of this truism. (Matthew 6:27-30 and 7:7-11)


Males display brown/reddish flanks with two black vertical bars at the front, black upperparts, a black face; and of course, a varying crest. Flight feathers are black and white striped with matching distribution. Under-layers are old barn brown. In all loveliness, this ave is designed for earth and sky.

Females own brownish flanks and darker brown upperparts, a brown head, and a brown/reddish to gray crest that can be raised or lowered, like the male. And her’s often bobbles. She exhibits a brown beak and her body can appear more grayish in fall, wearing her winter dress.

God grants them, on the average, ten years of life.

Additional photo showing the Hooded Mergansers with American Mergansers (Though it is stated, the two species do no mingle, I have seen them cruising together, as viewed in the photo.)  The American is a far larger Merganser.

Hooded Mergansers and American Mergansers (males and females) © Val J. Lee

*Info gratefully obtained from various web sources.

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

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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