Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jewel # 148 (Sept 25, 2013)

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To my dear grandchildren.,

The Mischievous Frigate Bird

"Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty;
just and true are Thy ways."
(Revelation 15:3)

The frigate bird is a relative of the pelican and has body about 40 inches long.  It has amazing flying skills that few birds can match - eating, drinking and even sleeping while airborne.  It can fly 1000 miles without stopping and has no problem flying as high as 4000 feet.  The Creator has provided the ability for such flights by giving it extremely lightweight bones, an amazing seven-to eight-foot wingspread and a strong, forked tail to act as a rudder and brake.

Because of its mischievous habits, the frigate bird is also called man-of-war.  Sharing islands with great colonies of other birds, it will steal their food whenever there is opportunity.  If a frigate sees a booby flying with a fish in its beak, it will chase the booby, sometimes even grabbing its tail and shaking it until it drops the fish, which the frigate then claims for itself.  Sometimes one will land on a pelican's head and eat fish right out of its pouch!

This behaviour seems unnecessary, because a frigate is quite capable of catching its own food.  Spotting a fish while flying over water, it dives straight down as though headed for a crash landing.  Just before hitting the water, its tail and wings fan out to break its speed, and it snatches up the fish without getting more than its long bill wet.  Frigate birds can't swim, even though their food comes from the ocean.

Frigates nest in tropical seaside areas, including southern California, Mexico, the Gulf states and tropical islands. 

The female is a brown colour, but the male has a jet-black body and bluish-green head.  Young birds have white heads.  In nesting season, the male grows a bright scarlet  pouch under his bill, which he can blow up like a balloon nearly as large as himself.  He does this to attract a mate while standing on his perch, throwing his head back and forth with loud whoops.  Eventually a female responds to this attraction.

A rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands.  Once the male picks a spot for their nest, the female takes over building it with sticks that he brings to her.  Soon they settle down to raise just one chick, which has their careful attention for about a year.

These interesting birds remind us of the great variety to be found in God's creation, and aren't varieties fascinating?  We wouldn't want every bird, every animal, or even every human to look alike.  And so it is with each of us.  Our ways of life are different from each other, but the important similarity should be to let the Lord Jesus rule our lives.  A Bible verse instructs, "Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.  Remember His marvelous works that He hath done" (1 Chronicles 16:11-12).  

Is the Lord Jesus your guide through life?

Love you all,
Grandpa

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