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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

Video: 

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 – 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

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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

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – Yellow-legged Seagulls

Yellow-legged Seagull @ Val J. Lee

I enjoyed observing these aves moving about the Rock of Gibraltar where Mediterranean Sea intersects with Atlantic Ocean … becoming one. You can view Africa from Gibraltar, specifically Morocco, and ferries run between. It is a famed limestone peak that was once a fortress.

Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

It is richly historical with an inner being that possesses 150 caves and one still holds ancient cannons that are focused on the sea straits.

Gibraltar west side cannon @ Val J. Lee

The City of Gibraltar, holding within the Rock of Gibraltar, is a territory of Britain though it is surrounded by Spain and Spain would like to re-seize it. Spain lost Gibraltar to Britain in the war of 1704.

The highlighted cave of Saint Michael’s, (named after Michael the Archangel in the Bible) was magnificently designed by Jesus Christ. It lodges many deep cavities and a crystal clear lake. The Greeks believed this cave led to Hades.

Barbary or Rock Monkeys freely roam about the Rock. No one knows for sure how these Moroccan monkeys came to Gibraltar; though one couple could have snuck aboard a cargo ship headed for Gibraltar, and over time, propagated  a colony of apes.

Rock Apes on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

Here is my photo of a Barbary Monkey at the summit of Gibraltar and link to my video:

Monkeys (Barbary Macaque) Atop Gibraltar

Barbary Monkey on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

Both the Barbary Monkeys and the Yellow-legged Seagulls (Larus michahellis) love leftovers and handouts. We saw the Seagulls fighting the monkeys for food. Surprisingly, the yellow legs won. It appears these seagulls and monkeys rule Gibraltar in a bi-partisan manner.

Yellow-legged Seagulls on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

Gibraltar is quite the scene and I must say it was the monkeys I enjoyed the most even though they are an aggressive species of monkey.

@ Val J. Lee

This is my husband feeding a friendly rock ape from our car window with some bird seed I brought to feed flyers. A huge, baboon-like ape, noticed this happening, and seeming to come out of nowhere, came right through this window to rob us. I cried, “No” at him, as I do my cats on the rare occasions when they misbehave. But he didn’t care that I pleaded for him to reconsider. He grabbed the bird food bag forcibly from my hand. He knew he was far stronger and faster than I. My husband found it quite the joke, but I was infuriated.

Barbary Monkeys enjoying view on Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

You do have to walk cautiously, knowing these apes can bite hard if you do not let them have their way. You can end up spending your vacation in the hospital. They will even check your pockets for food. I must say I enjoyed the Green Monkeys of Barbados better, as they are sweet, shy and kind.

The Yellow-legged Gulls can be mistaken for the European Herring Gull that also displays a red mark on the beak during breeding season. This mark is the target that yellow-legged Gull chicks tap to incite their parents to regurgitate partly digested victuals. (See first photo) Now, who told them where to tap for food and who made that red mark? Yes, the LORD God! He cares for baby birds and makes sure they are wondrously provided for.

Can you imagine the lifelessness of our domain if God had created a black and white world with only black and white birds? Psalm 8, in the Bible, is a song of praise to God whose name is excellent in all the earth! In this song, the LORD proclaims men’s glory, honor and dominion over our prismatic earth, including the multihued birds of the air.

Yellow-legged Seagulls @ Val J. Lee

Both the Yellow-legged and Herring gull, peer with yellow eyes that are surrounded with an orbital eye-ring. When researching the species, I thought the yellow-legs were Herrings. One distinguishing characteristic, of course, is their skinny yellow legs. The Herring’s are dark grey with pink overtones. Outside of the limbs, I find them difficult to distinguish. Their eye-rings I cannot distinguish in photos, though God crafted the Yellow-legged Seagulls to have red eye-rings that match the mark on their beak during breeding; and the Herrings, a deep yellow ring. Yellow-legs also display a whiter head in autumn and disperse a deeper call that is nasal.

Yellow-legged Seagull at Rock of Gibraltar @ Val J. Lee

The yellow legs breeding range is centered around the Mediterranean Sea. Here is my video with them flying about Rock of Gibraltar with a view of the Mediterranean/Atlantic:

In North Africa, the yellow legs are common in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. “Recent breeding has occurred in Libya and Egypt. In the Middle East a few breed in Israel and Syria with larger numbers in Cyprus and Turkey.” European colonies run along the Mediterranean coast and have spread north into central and Western Europe.

Yellow-legged Gulls courtship is similar to many birds. The damsel will beg food from her wooing suitor. The skinny yellow-legged gal will plead in a hunched-posture. She will toss her bright pretty head and move her bill up and down so her guy gets the message. These gulls mate for life by Jesus Christ’s design. Couples normally breed in colonies and females will lay three eggs from mid March to early May.

There have been reports of gulls attacking people who come to close too their nesting areas. In one area of London, postal deliveries had to be suspended. They are strong birds. I can testify to this from observing them war with apes.

Yellow leg nests are a sparse mound of vegetation built on the ground or on cliff ledges. Their eggs are incubated for 27–31 days and the hatched fledge or fly at 35–40 days. Nests are defended vigorously. This is true with most bird families.

If a couple makes a successful home, they will return the following season.

Seagulls start breeding when age three and can live for 40 years.

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Seagulls do like to be stationed near fast food suppliers and recent studies reveal many now prefer city-life to sea-life. A few will attack people for the delectables in their hands.

Here is a video of a Seagull robbing a store of its Cheese Doritos:

Yellow legs are omnivores (eating whatever is available). Of course, we all know they are a scavenger bird … I must be blunt. They love rubbish and hunting suitable prey in fields or in coastal areas. They will rob smaller gulls and other seabirds of their catches.

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

My video of Gibraltar, France and Spain: Gibraltar, Paris and Spain:

Gibraltar, Paris and Spain

*Info gratefully gathered from various web sources.

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – Western Tanager

Western Tanager (male) @ Val Lee

What a joy it is when I come across these spectacular, brightly hued birds. Until lately, there have been many in Idaho. This is where I shot the photos and video for this article.

My heart broke when it became known to me that a Western Tanager, Piranga ludoviciana, died in my yard courtesy of one of our two cats. My husband and son decided, minus any hesitation, that it had to be Cassidy who loves only me and hates everyone and everything else. They assumed that sweet Alfredo, who loves everyone and everything, would never kill such a pretty bird. I, of course, defended my cat with my two cents, being poor in defense, and simply let it be known that they are both avid hunters. This is certainly the case though they are declawed, that is, they cannot dispense their front claws. Being on the elderly side, and owning this deficiency, they can still pounce and kill in an instant.

Both cats covet trespassing birds and that cannot be denied. I love and feed the various flyers and consider them part of our property. I had no idea a Western Tanager had become linked to the bird gang on Lee’s land before its demise.

Western Tanager (male) @ Val Lee

I tried to figure out why the ravishing Tanager had come our way. They are attracted to feeders holding oranges, grapes and dried fruits, but I do not provide these fruits for our outside, fly-by diners.

Tanagers also partake of growing berries; however, my raspberries had not yet ripened. Maybe I have plenty of insects in my yard, being they are a delicious delicacy of the Tanagers. They will gobble bugs, rushing upon them from behind, as the gourmet creatures soar through the air.

Western Tanagers love wasps and bees as well, this being their first choice in diet. They will get a belly full of them when my trumpet vine blooms, if they stick around for the feast.

They also eat plant matter, incorporating 15% of their diet.

All bug-gorging creatures are welcome in my yard. It certainly appears that I don’t need a sign to tell them so.

My video: 

When these gorgeous birds, crafted by God, arrived in our area about two weeks ago, people talked and wanted to know the species. When walking in the park, my friend Bev told me that she spotted this yellow and orange bird and wanted to know what it was. I wrongly replied that it was probably an Oriole. They can vary in color within orange and yellow tinting, and the Bullock’s Oriole resides here. Within a few minutes, another friend pointed out a Western Tanager that landed a few yards away. I quickly realized this was the type of flyer Bev had spotted originally. Within a day or so, we saw them flying everywhere in the park.

Western Tanager (male) @ Val Lee

These elegant, western beauties are classified as a Tanager (Thraupidae). They have flip-flopped between being Cardinals (Cardinalidae) and Tanagers. I must say, they certainly do not own the distinctive Cardinal cone-shaped beak. They were thus categorized due to their plumage and vocalizations, which was supposedly found to be similar to Cardinals.

There were 240 birds that were classified as Tanagers, but things are in a muddle currently. Apparently some of these birds require new name tags. They are being shoved from one bird family to another, being reassessed via the AOU—American Ornithologists’ Union.

Despite how man classifies or un-classifies this ave, I have to confess, I do not see why they dubbed the Western Tanager as a Cardinal. I observe their plumage not being similar to Cardinals, but actually to Golden Finches. To me, the Western Tanager is simply a medium sized, colorfully crafted, American songbird, graciously provided for us by the LORD Jesus Christ.

God has manufactured Western Tanagers and all His creatures with unique dissimilarities. He did not form birds so they could fit perfectly into ornithologists’ classifications.

Western Tanager (male) @ Val Lee

Western Tanager adults can be described as displaying a pale, stout, pointed bill. Their underparts and wing bars are yellow. Males expose a bright red to bright orange face and a yellow nape, shoulder, and rump, with black upper back, wings, and tail. In their duller, non-breeding plumage, the head has no more than a reddish cast and the body possesses an olive tinge.

Females display their own distinctions with a yellow head and an olive hue on their back, with dark wings and tail. When shutterbugging, I never noticed any females. Perhaps they were tending the home nest. I say this, noting the male birds were flying in and out of a coniferous fir tree, and it is in these trees that these lifetime lovers prefer to nest.

The dead, male Western Tanager in my yard was found next to our blue spruce. I wonder if the poor fellow had a family.

The Western Tanager’s song consists of short phrases and you might think you are detecting an American Robin; however, the Tanager voice is hoarser and rather monotonous. They seem to say “pit-er-ick.”

The Western Tanager flies northward to its happy nesting grounds in May, making their homes in coniferous or mixed woods across western North America, from the Mexican-American border. They can migrate as far north as southern Alaska. It can be noted that they are the northernmost breeding Tanager.

Like many aves, the Western Tanagers mate for life. You will view no elaborate aeronautical courtship display. They are not showoffs. However, a flirting female will flutter her wings toward a suitor to gain his attention. This type of sign language can also be implemented as the queue for him to personally feed her during their courting days. This “feed me,” dating behavior, is common among birds.

The book of Ruth, in the Bible, is a romantic book. You find the story of a godly man by the name of Boaz, a land owner. One day his heart goes out to an impoverished woman by the name of Ruth. He extends kindness by offering her some bread and dip. Having been informed of her unfaltering reputation, he praises her for being a woman of chastity, and a woman who exercises sacrificial love. Later, she flitters his way, letting him know she is interested in a marriage proposal, at which time, he cheerfully complies. Unfortunately, a villain lies in the way. Once “he” is removed from the picture, they marry and live happily, ever-after.

This divinely, appointed relationship was completely orchestrated by God. Because this couple feared God, He allowed them to be grafted into the ancestry line of Jesus Christ.

The vibrant, happy, singing couple of Western Tanagers will engage in tweet talk with short, song notes of admiration. Their solid lifetime bond may form on wintering grounds or during migration.

The enthusiastic pair will build a flimsy cup nest on a tree branch, usually in a conifer for their arriving, sweet, wee bairns. They lay four bluish-green eggs with brown spots. The papa of the nest eggs, establishes and defends home and property (territory) by singing and chasing away intruders. Gestation or incubation is 13 days, and the young fledge or fly at seven days of age.

These birds migrate south in August, wintering in Southern California, Central Mexico and Costa Rica.

Their life expectancy is around eight years.

Western Tanager (male) @ Val Lee

Psalm 104, in the Bible, uplifts the God of creation who sends forth springs in the valleys that flow between the mountains and provides drink for every beast of the field, including the birds of the heavens that lift up their voices among the branches. To learn more about God who created you uniquely, and provides for you, please click here:

letter-to-bird-enthusiast

I have a couple of cat stories about Cassidy and Alfredo at my other website under the category of “cat story.”  Please click here: vallee

*Info gratefully gathered from various web sources.

Through Looking Glass of Val Lee – Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Black Bird (male) @ Val Lee

My husband and I were surprised to hear the Red-winged Blackbirds when we strolled through the park last week. It seems early for them to be migrating to their spring and summer romping grounds. We are still in the midst of freezing weather. We have noticed a few other early bird arriving species as well. Where we have a small population of Canadian Geese all winter, they are now arriving in large formations, covering our southern winter skies at times.

The Red-winged male Blackbird reveals red on its wing, underlined with a yellow bar, as you can see from my photo. The female is nondescript dark brown. This black silken avis proclaims a long explosive call—a throaty “check” and a high slurred whistle, “terrr-eeee.”

My video captures their outstretched trilling:

It sometimes gets on my nerves, being slightly annoying, as it seems to never stop with many singing the tune. It breaks out in a continuous rhythmic long note; being loudly pronounced, carried on the outdoor airwaves to one another. God certainly equipped it with a unique call. All of His aves can be personally identified by their speech patterns. Humans also own a personal unique makeup. No one in the world can perfectly match up. We can be identified through our fingerprints and DNA structure. If our DNA body strands were stretched in sequence, they would reach the sun and back, 400 times. Earth to sun is 93 million miles. It amazes me to consider the complexity of man and beast.

Red-winged Blackbird (male) @ Val Lee

Throughout the Bible, we read of God’s expressions of love for the human race. When we understand our complexity, how can we begin to deny it? If God didn’t love us, He would not have formed each of us so distinctively and marvelously. He would not have bothered to give us limbs and a brain, let alone the breath of life.

I, at times, feel sorry for our Blue Herons that enjoy our wildlife park, as the tenacious red wingers will group and attack them when angling. They can be most cruel and relentless, harassing this large blue bird. They even follow the Herons, never-ceasing, always stalking and attacking. If the Heron settles in to fish elsewhere, they swoop and bombard again and again. I have never witnessed a Blue Heron avenging; it simply travels on. I guess the blues venture too close to the redwingers’ nests. These Blackbirds are even known to attack humans who approach their nesting areas, though I have not personally observed this.

Red-winged Blackbird @ Val Lee

I have surveyed the fact, Red-winged Blackbirds are water lovers. They enjoying being in cattails from which they often perch. This seems to be the best setting for our observation of them.

The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a passerine bird (perching bird—half of all birds make up the passerine bird populace). This Blackbird is located in most of North and Central America. It breeds from Alaska, Newfoundland, south to the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico and Guatemala. It may winter as far north as Pennsylvania and British Columbia. However, northern populations are generally migratory, moving south to Mexico and the southern US. These birds are omnivorous, feeding primarily on plant materials, including seeds, berries, weeds, corn and rice. About a quarter of its diet consists of insects and other small animals. In late summer and in autumn, the Red-winged Blackbird will feed in open fields.

These birds can be drawn to bird feeders using bread, seed mixtures and suet.

My video of the female—puffed out and calling out:

Their average length is 8 inches, with a 14 inch average wingspan.

The Red-winged Blackbird is polygamous, with territorial males defending up to 10 females. Pairs raise two or three clutches per season, in a new nest for each clutch. Nesting takes place in loose colonies. The nest is constructed entirely by the female over the course of three to six days. It is a nice basket of grasses, rush plants, and mosses, lined with mud, and bound to surrounding grasses, or branches. Nests are so amazing and it is phenomenal to contemplate on the fact our LORD Jesus Christ implanted in birds the wisdom to construct, thinking of the arriving young and their needs.

Red-winged Blackbird (female) @ Val Lee

A nest is located 3 inches to 14 feet above water.

One nest (which are around 7 inches deep and 5 inches across) was separated, piece by piece by a birding enthusiast in the 1930s. He found it had been weaved of 34 strips of willow bark and 142 cattail leaves—as long as 2 feet. Simply amazing weaver-work!

A clutch comprises three or four eggs—being oval, smooth, slightly glossy, and measure 1 x .7 inches. They are pale bluish-green, marked with brown, purple, or black, with most markings around the larger end of the egg. Incubation is performed by the female, and eggs hatch in 11 to 12 days. The young fledge in 11 to 14 days.

Red-winged Blackbird (female) @ Val Lee

When breeding season is over, Red-winged Blackbirds gather in huge flocks, sometimes numbering in the millions. This is true of many aves.

Their average lifespan is 15 years.

In portions of America, these Blackbirds are considered pests because flocks can consume large amounts of cultivated grain and rice.

~

Regarding the dead bird incident of 5,000 birds falling from the skies of Arkansas on January 1, 2011, the latest news reveals nothing more than speculation regarding the Redwing Blackbirds. Sources stated there was no poison found in the birds. I wonder if we will ever know the reason for the death of the birds and the 100,000 drum fish.

*Some info from Wikipedia and other web sources.

Please click here: letter-to-bird-enthusiast

Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee – The American Black Vulture

American Black Vulture @ Val Lee

Bet you’ll never guess where I shot this Black Vulture? Ummmmmmm. Give up? I shot it at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida.

Through the bird area refuge, that surrounds the space center, you can see astronauts are not the only created beings that love to be launched above the earth. Vultures are one of the loftiest aeronautical bird flyers.

NASA Vehicle Assembly Building (Largest single-story structure in the world) by Val Lee

To tell it like it happened, I was observing the many displays, including the historic astrovan that was long employed for transporting astronauts to the launching pad.

Vehicle Assembly Building @ Val Lee

This astrovan represents commemorative memories and heartbreaking ones. Many explorative accomplishments arose from the launched lives. The lost lives from failure flights can still jolt our hearts.

NASA Moon Van @ Val Lee

Behind the astrovan, I noticed something odd out the massive rear windows of the visitor room. Large, strange birds that resembled turkeys were lurking outside. Upon closer inspection, I determined they must be Vultures. It was quite the large flock with some, roosting in a tree. I stepped outside, not realizing it was an emergency exit only. Oh my, oh well. No harm done—no arrest. I had my eyes on these birds, not the small sign.

I had never been in such a situation so it was quite a blessing to observe this unique, strange acting creation of God, the American Black Vultures.

American Black Vultures @ Val Lee

These Vultures, like the Cormorant, stand often with wings outstretched, the “spread-winged stance” or “horaltic pose.” They can cool off, dry off, and bake off bacteria—not a pleasant thought; no, indeed not.

My video of these Vultures:

I am not sure what attracted them to this spacey local. I am sure they did not hear about it on the news, though there were various reports regarding the preparation of the last Atlantis Shuttle launch that was scheduled for July 8, 2011.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6308516608498324470

We were there in June and it was quite intriguing to view Atlantis from afar.

There have been 135 missions performed by five shuttles.

“Shuttle flights deployed more than fifty satellites for military, governmental, and commercial clients. Three interplanetary craft were launched from shuttles: the Magellan spacecraft that traveled to Venus, the Galileo spacecraft that traveled to Jupiter, and the Ulysses spacecraft that traveled to the sun. Shuttles also deployed important observatories into space, including the Hubble Space Telescope, Gamma Ray Observatory, the Diffuse X-Ray Spectrometer, and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.”

Two Christian astronauts, Commander Richard Husband and Michael P. Anderson, perished during the Columbia Shuttle reentry disaster on February 1, 2003.

Actual Apolo 14 Capsule, Third Moon Landing @ Val Lee

God’s universe is beyond comprehension and probes to endless galaxies or so it appears. Men can only explore a minuscule segment of its vastness. Privileged Planet Video with the Hubble Heritage Team:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6308516608498324470

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The Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) or American Black Vulture is an ave of the New World Vulture family whose range extends from the southeastern United States to South America, and the Caribbean Islands—a landing local for those buzzards who relish the perfect vacation spots. It inhabits relatively open areas, which provide forests and vegetation. They love perching in dead trees, imagine that.

“Vulture” is derived from the latin word vulturus, which means tearer. This is an ugly picture of its necessary, vulgar habits. Its latin name Atratus, means “clothed in black,” The genus name, Coragyps means “raven-vulture.” The family name, Cathartidae, means “purifier.” It is also identified by the names, Carrion Crow and Black Buzzard.“

Its wingspan is quite large—five feet. As you can from the photos, this bird is as large as a turkey. It is classified as a smaller species of Vulture.

Males and females reveal no distinguishing differences in appearance. Their plumage is black. They display a featherless gray head and neck. This allows these buzzards to probe into carcass’ without getting too yucky.

Their face displays a short, hooked beak and we all know what that is for.

It exhibits grayish white legs. Their flat, weak, blunt talons are long and consist of two front webbed toes. They are not constructed for grasping.

Primary feathers display a white underside at the baseline, visible in flight. The tail is short and square, nothing attractive.

I did notice one positive thing, their brown eyes appeared kind of sweet looking. I was quite struck when peering at one of my photos.

Black Vultures are non-threatening to any human population. They never attack live mortal beings. Contrary to belief, they do not leave bacteria, not even in their feces. God manufactured their systems to be totally self-cleaning. They do leave uric acid (urine) that can kill trees and vegetation; however, decaying dead carrion is more harmful to the environment than Vulture acid that can be washed away by a rainstorm or a good hosing.

Like all New World Vultures, the Black Vulture often defecates on its legs, using the evaporation of the water in the feces and/or urine to cool itself, a process known as urohidrosis. It also kills bacteria as the feces and urine contain a cleaning acid. No, this is not the most pleasant bird on God’s green earth.

The generally displeasing appearance of the Black Vulture matches its prescribed work on this sphere. Besides being a flesh scavenger, this Vulture of black deeds, will seize nest eggs, kill newborn animals and small animals. I viewed a video where they slew and consumed a gray kitten. Not a pleasant scene.

One Black Vulture will devour in one swallow, a newly hatched Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, as it attempts to rush to ocean’s safety. Ridleys are dispersed around the world and eggs are laid in the sand, a distance from the ocean so they are not washed away.

Animal carcass’ are easily spotted by the specialized eyes of this Vulture from a good distance of up to four miles. Though the Black Vulture is smaller than the Turkey Vulture, it is more aggressive and will let the Turkeys know they are not invited to dinner. They win the food fights.

Though the American Black Vulture is not a pretty bird that we like to maintain in our minds’ eye, such as the cute Yellow Warbler, its vacuum cleaning job for the earth is essential. God is astonishing in correlating prey animals for remain disposal. Of course, His bug life can take care of any tiny, unsightly leftovers.

In Revelation chapter 19 of the Bible, we read that Jesus Christ before His millennial reign, will enlist His army of Vultures (there are at least 25 species) to eat the remains of His enemies. He may call other prey birds as well to assist in the feast of human flesh. He will destroy His enemies before He takes His throne in Jerusalem, whereby He will rule the earth as a lowly King, though He is the Creator and ruler of the universe. Perfect peace, harmony and righteousness will rule the world under His power.

The American Black Vulture soars into the heavens in flight artistry. It is one of the most skilled pilots in the world. They fly slightly lower than the Turkey Vulture. Black Vultures are called the “flying wing,” since they mainly fly without exerted effort.

When someone peers into the air and sights Vultures hovering, they might think, “What’s this all about, a bunch of buzzards overhead?” It can be thought of as a nightmare moment since it usually signals a death of something or someone. Black Vultures dress in black for all funerals, but they are not the mourning type. They are into holding wakes, installing the dead.

American Black Vulture @ Val Lee

Black buzzards migrate over North and South America with minimal energy output. Vultures often take to flight a few hours after sunrise, after the morning air has been warmed by the glowing sun. Vultures frequently circle and gain altitude on pockets of rising, warm thermals of air. Topping the thermal, they can glide across the sky at speeds of 60 miles per hour. Upon natural descent, they will locate another thermal for another sequences of circling dance; rising, and then gliding again, implementing the wonders of heavenly air.

Vultures can cover many air miles, advantaging each thermal, never needing to beat a wing. The LORD’S amazing ways of birding design are past finding out. He equips His aves with the right equipment for their designed service on this earth. He even includes break times.

In human populated areas, this ave is not above robbing garbage dumps. It is equipped with a remarkable nose for tracing anything that smells foul, though its snout is weaker than the Turkey Vulture.

Do not expect to hear anything resembling the song of the Nightingale coming from this buzzards’ vocal cords, being it was manufactured without a music box; oops, voice box. It can, however, produce offensive grunting and hissing noises, which God corresponded to its occupation. It seems to be in perfect sync.

It is known to regurgitate food when approached or disturbed. This act displays strategy survival maneuvers. This lightens the air freight load of the bird for fast take offs. And the returned to earth food, at times, can be viewed as a present offered to a prey animal; whereby it might forget the Vulture and eat the fast food. Fortunately for this bird, it has no natural enemies.

American Black Vulture @ Val Lee

Black Vultures are of the friendly sort, owning they are gregarious, roosting in large groups with friends and family. Young stay with the parents in a social group or “kettle” for years or for life.

They fly low to the ground to pick up the scent of ethyl mercaptan—a decay gas emitted from dead animals.

The American Black Vulture occasionally sets its binocular eyes on livestock and deer. This is not a pleasant thought for ranchers. It is the only species of New World Vulture which preys on cattle. Occasionally, it harasses birthing cows; however it primarily preys on newborn calves. Unsuspectingly, young caves will allow the dark Vultures to approach them. In ghastly, black heart fashion, a venue of Black Vultures will swarm a calf. The dressed in black gang will then move in to peck at the calf’s eyes, nose or tongue. The calf eventually goes into shock, and the rest is unspeakable.

Black Vultures have been known to pick ticks from resting, cute Capybaras; a uniquely created, manifold animal:

http://animal.discovery.com/videos/pets-101-capybaras.html

I guess this might be considered a good deed, if you don’t get too technical. They will also try and kill young Capybaras.

The USA Peregrine Fund, located just south of Boise, Idaho, in 2006 discovered why vulture numbers were declining in the nation of India that depends upon vultures for clearing the dead. Vultures were dying from kidney failure that arose from an anti-inflammatory drug administered to cattle. Upon this discovery, the drug was outlawed in order to reestablish vulture numbers. In this pagan land where animals are worshipped as sacred, many people die of starvation. Hindus cannot eat meat.

(My father was stationed in India during WWII working as a lineman with the rank of sergeant. He told of the large carts that were wheeled through cities every morning to pick up the accumulated dead who had starved because heathens maintain a meatless diet. Today one-fifth of India’s population is chronically hungry—200 million people. This land is not abundantly blessed of God because these people refuse to worship their Creator. Instead, they worship cows and other animals that the LORD created to sustain them.)

They soar higher than eagles. They are perfect gliders and rarely have to flap their wings. They display a tremendous wingspan and lofty, aerial abilities. In 1973, a vulture collided with a commercial aircraft off the Ivory Coast. At the time, the plane was flying at 37,000 feet. The plane was able to land safely with one engine.

August 2010: “Warnings were issued to air traffic over Scotland and England yesterday after a vulture, which is capable of soaring at heights of more than 30,000 feet, escaped during an air show. Britain’s air traffic control group issued the warning. ‘We made pilots aware of the possibility of seeing this bird as it has a three-meter wingspan and can fly at altitudes used by commercial aircraft,’ a British air traffic control spokesman says to the Telegraph of London.”

There are a couple attractive vulture species in the world. The Griffin Vulture (Old World) that is not bald; it displays beautiful fluffy white head feathers.

Vultures can be synchronized in their eating habits. Many African species of vultures dine on the same carcass, arriving and feeding at various times, employing regimented dismemberment tactics. The powerful White-headed Vultures usually arrive first on the scene, cautiously approaching the carcass before tearing apart the tough hide. White-backed Vultures arrive soon after, assisting in exposing the carcass’ entrails. Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures may be next in the chow line, thrusting their long necks into the open carcass to obtain pieces of soft flesh. Lappet-faced Vultures typically feast last, eating the remaining skin, tendons, and ligaments. Bearded Vultures feed on bone marrow by breaking open large carcass bones by flying them high into the air, hundreds of feet, and dropping them onto rocks.

God is astonishing in correlating prey animals for remain disposal.  Of course, bug life can take care of any tiny, unsightly leftovers.

Mating for life is the American Black Vultures’ most renowned attribute.

Pairs are formed following a courtship display. Several males will encircle a female, while strutting and bobbing their heads, as if grooving to a love song. They, at times, will perform courtship flights, diving and chasing each other over their chosen nest site. It is always pleasant to fly somewhere for a honeymoon. These show-off guys can afford it.

Once a bond is formed, it is time to raise a family. Bird moms believe in home birth so they lay their one to two eggs in caves, hollow trees, other lofty places or even on the ground. No, not much in the way of a crib. However, some do love exterior decorating and will adorn the nursery area with glass chips, brightly colored plastic, shiny metal objects, such as bottle caps, etc. They lay eggs of various hues—gray-green, blue, or white. The shells are blotched or spotted with lavender or pale brown around the larger end. Both parents incubate the young for 29 days.

Upon hatching, the young are covered with white down, but are still not very cute. Both parents caringly nurture their young.

Vultures feed their young regurgitated carrion (dead meat), a vile smelling substance. It takes the young about 75-80 days to manage the skies as gifted pilots. The entire family remains together throughout the summer.

American Black Vultures lifespan averages 25.5 years.

*Info gratefully gathered from various web sources.

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

My Revelation commentaries for chapters 1-10 explained, please click here: revelation-chapters-1-10-explained

My Revelation commentaries for chapter 11 and following explained, please click here: revelation-chapter-11-mouths-of-fire

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