Sunday, May 04, 2014

Jewel # 173 (May 4, 2014)


“And 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 Manakins

“By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible 
and invisible. . . . All things were created by Him, and for Him.”
(Colossians 1:16)

In the forests of Central and South America, from Mexico to Brazil and on nearby islands, there are over fifty species of the interesting manakins.  These birds are not much larger than swallows but are much more active.  The Creator has given them small, strong beaks that are slightly hooked on the ends.  They use them to pluck fruit from trees, as well as insects from the air while flying.  These items form their main food supply.

The more common manakins include those named long-tailed, swallow-tailed, white-bearded, golden-headed and blue-backed.   Their names describe each one’s general appearance.  They are also called jewel birds, perhaps because of the brilliant colouring of the males. The females, however, are mostly plain olive-green - a kind provision of the Creator so that they blend in with their surroundings while sitting on their nests or taking care of their young.

Female manakins have an unusual way of choosing mates.  Not all follow the same pattern, but many - particularly the white-bearded, golden-headed and blue-backed - put on a remarkable show.

A group of males selects an open area and removes twigs, leaves, grass and pebbles, exposing the bare ground in a large circle.  Females are drawn to the area by the loud calls of the males and look on from nearby branches.  The leading male first jumps hight in the air, hovering there with fluttering wings in from of a female and sometimes flying back and forth near her before dropping back to the ground.  Manakins’ movements are so fast they are invisible to human eyes. 

Then, one by one, the others jump into the air and perform the same way while making noises that sound like cats meowing.  In some groups, each male will make one hundred jumps or more moving faster and each time.  The females, in their excitement, hop up and down from perch to perch and then fly to the ground, selecting the males of their choice.  

Pairs soon fly off to build cup-shaped nests in trees or bushes where two eggs are laid in each nest and incubated for about three weeks.  After hatching, the young are cared for by only the mothers for another three or four weeks, until they are able to be on their own.

The Lord God found great pleasure in creating all living things, and we can be sure of His tender thoughts toward these lovely birds as He watches over them.  His eyes are lovingly on you too, inviting you to admit your need of having your sins forgiven and accepting Him as your Saviour.

Have you done this? 

Love you all,

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