Friday, April 29, 2011

Jewel # 84 (April 29, 2011)

"They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make up MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Lovely Pintails

"These wait all upon Thee; that Thou mayest give them their food 
in due season.  That Thou givest them they gather."
(Psalm 104:27-28)

In the large family of ducks, pintails have a prominent place, noted for their speed and handsome appearance.  The females (hens) are rather noisy with their loud quacking, but the males (drakes) use double-toned whistles that are much more melodious.

Drakes' heads are usually reddish brown, with solid-white feathers covering their underparts and reaching partway up their necks.  Holding those pretty heads gracefully, they look like statues on the water.  The hens, like their mates, have slender necks but dull-coloured feathers.  The tail feathers of both extend to sharp points, accounting for their "Pintail" name.  This is particularly noticeable when flying.

Their melodious whistling is on of the first signs of spring when they are preparing to migrate to spots along the border of Canada and the United States and on into the Yukon and Alaska.  In the fall they reverse the flights, traveling far and wide.  Some from Canada fly to England, some from Alaska to far-off Hawaii, and others show up in India, Russia, Africa and Europe, while a large number make shorter flights to California, Louisiana, Mexico and South America.

In the fall months, pintails are among the first to leave the north, and the following spring they are the first to fly  back.  On these travels, great flocks nest in prairie country in Canada near the U.S. border, north and west of North Dakota, where there is an ample supply of wheat and other grains left on the ground after harvesting.  Some also make California their choice, enjoying the barley and rice grown there.  Hunting clubs, government groups and others are working together, planting separate fields of grain in places easy for the birds to reach, thus providing them with their own private farms in order to spare farmers' crops.

Pintails, along with numerous other ducks feeding in marshy areas, all mix happily together, their many calls blending in a tremendous chatter.  As evening comes, pintails, teals, mallards and other ducks all rise from the ponds or fields in large flocks to find roosting places for the night.

With so many millions of birds in the world, do you think the Creator, the Lord God, can tell them apart?  And does He really know about each one?  Yes, He certainly does, just as the opening Bible verse tells us.  Another verse states it this way: "I know all the fowls [birds] of the mountains" (Psalm 50:11).

He also has His eye upon you and wants you to follow His guidance every moment of your life.  The Bible says, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:6).  This is the only true and happy way of life.



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