Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jewel # 136 (April 27, 2013)


To my dear grandchildren,

Birds on Schedule - Swallows

"Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest
for herself, where she may lay her young."
(Psalm 84:3)

It's springtime here in North America, and let's watch for those pretty, graceful cliff swallows returning agin in their colourful feathers of brown, red, yellow and white.  Through the winter they have been in South America, but their God-given instinct brings them back, thousands of miles, to many parts of North America for nest building, raising of young, and an active life in the northern climate.

Cliff swallows look like their relatives, the barn swallows, but cliff swallows have square tails instead of forked tails.  Their legs are short, and they use them mostly for perching since they catch nearly all of their food while flying.  

The reliability of the cliff and barn swallows' annual return on certain calendar days is a signal to farmers when to plant certain crops.  They know swallows are among their best friends because they help destroy harmful crop insects and mosquitoes.

Cliff and barn swallows like to live near people, either on nearby cliffs, under bridges, or under the eaves of houses and barns.  These birds are sociable, and they build their interesting nests in colonies.  Muddy clay is the building material mixed with gluey saliva and straw.  A  beakful at a time is daubed on the surface they have chosen.  Then one beakful after another is added until the jar-shaped nests extend out five or six inches, with open entrances on the tapered ends.  The insides are lined with feathers and grass, providing a soft, safe place for females to lay three to nine eggs.

The nests in a colony actually touch each other.  Watching a swallow swiftly flying in and out, it is amazing how it avoids entering a neighbour's nest.  But no mistakes are made.  The Lord God who first placed them on the earth has given them remarkable instincts and and abilities in their swift flight patterns.

The mouth of the cliff swallow is an example of how every bird in God's creation is well equipped for its manner of life.  The swallow has been given a short, broad beak that opens wide to scoop up insects in flight and to dig and carry mud for nest building.  It will fly several miles from the nesting site searching for food.  Its wings show the Creator's wisdom too.  They are long and flexible and enable the swallow to make its graceful diving-and-turning flight as it pursues its food.

But God has not only shown His care over animals and birds.  In addition to His care and provisions for wildlife, He extends His love to all mankind.  This was most wondrously shown when He gave His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on Calvary's cross to provide forgiveness of sins to all who will accept Him as their Saviour.  Have you thanked Him for His love to you?  

Much love to you all

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