Saturday, October 04, 2014

Jewel # 190 (Oct. 4, 2014)

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“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,

Hitchhiking Birds

“He giveth to the beast his food, 
and to the young ravens which cry.”
(Psalm 147:9)

The energy needed by birds demands a plentiful supply of food, and usually much time is spent finding it.  Some, like the kingfisher, dive into the water for theirs.  Others, such as robins, search in the soil for worms and insects.  Swallows are one kind that captures insects in the air.  Others use an easier way.

The small, graceful, white-plumed cattle egrets ride on the backs of wild and tame animals.  As the animals graze in grassy areas, they disturb insects in the grass, which are caught by these hitchhikers.  Even crows will ride on the backs of of pigs while they are rooting in the ground, swooping down to snatch the grubs and worms that are turned up.  Cowbirds ride on the backs of grazing cattle and catch the insects stirred up by the cows’ hooves.

The oxpecker, with its red bill and orange and black feathers, frequently perches on the neck of an impala to remove ticks from the impala’s ears.  Sometimes it clings to the sides of rhinos, water buffalo or hippos, eating parasites out of their loose folds of skin.  Certain starlings, as well as the tick bird, also ride on the backs of these big animals.  Cattle egrets also follow farm machines, fires and airplanes to catch insects.  

Other unusual birds include the phalaropes in the Arctic and the carmine bee-eater of South Africa.  Both gray and red phalaropes will perch on the exposed fin of a killer whale and feast on parasites.  The bee-eater rides atop another bird - the big hori bustard.  As the bustard walks through meadows, it stirs up food for itself as well as its little passenger.

In the British Isles, the pied wagtail perches on the head of a fallow deer and catches the pesky flies that bother the animal’s eyes and sometimes cause blindness.  Often this bird’s young ones also ride on the deer’s back while the mother is busy up front collecting flies to bring back to them.

All of these birds, and many others, help their hosts by catching the annoying insects and parasites that bother them.  The birds are very welcome as riders, and if the animals could talk, they would probably thank them for the relief and comfort their service provides.

It has been the joy of the Creator to give these birds and animals a companionship which benefits each other.  It is another example of how“the Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all his works" (Psalm 145:9).

But as wonderful as God’s care is over all living things, His care and love for you is much greater.  That love has provided His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  On Calvary’s cross He was punished for the sins of all who will admit they are sinners and accept Him as their Saviour.  Then God delights to call these His own sons and daughters.

Have you accepted and thanked Him for that love?

I love you all,
Grandpa  

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