Thursday, October 01, 2015

Jewel # 226 (Sept. 29, 2015)

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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

The Blue-Footed Booby

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns; yet your heavily Father feeds them.” 
(Matthew 6:26)

Early-day sailors gave this bird the name booby because it will light on ships and allow itself to be caught. There are several varieties of this swimming sea bird, but the one seen most by North Americans is found along the Pacific Coast—the blue-footed booby.  Well named, its broad, webbed feet and legs are a bright blue.  Its beak is also blue, but not the same bright shade.  Its long wings are brown and its breast and underside are pure white—a very pretty bird.

The Creator has well adapted the booby to its kind of life near the coasts and on islands of the Pacific Ocean, off Central and South America and Mexico.  Waterproof plumage allows it to rest on the ocean surface as well as dive for fish.  Long, strong wings take it hundreds of miles over water and, beating rapidly, provide a power dive to catch fish.  At the last second before hitting the water, the wings are pulled tightly against its body, and its strong beak makes the catch.  This bird can also catch flying fish while they are in the air.

Colonies of thousands of these birds make nests only three or four feet apart on bare ground where three or four chicks are hatched and raised in each nest.  The hatchlings are naked, but in two or three weeks they are covered with white feathers, and their feet begin to show the blue colour.  Within three or four months, they are fully developed and can catch their own food.

Another reason for sailors calling these birds boobies was observing their behaviour to attract a mate.  The male first picks out a nesting spot, and then he tries to attract a female by performing a strange hopping dance.  He holds one blue foot up and waves it at the female, making loud whistles while pointing his beak skyward.  If the female approves, she joins in, both stopping occasionally to bow, touch bills, point skyward and finally do a stiff-legged walk together.  After this, the nest is completed and family life begins.

It is understandable how these activities seem humorous and even clumsy, especially when great numbers are engaged in these rituals at the same time.  However, they are full of meaning to the blue-footed boobies and an important part of their courtship.

For thousands of years, these birds, living in remote places, were never seen by man.  But the Creator has always cared for them as the Bible tells us in Psalm 104:27-28:  
“These wait all upon Thee . . . what Thou givest them they gather: Thou openest Thine hand, they are filled with good.”  
The Lord God also provides for all mankind, and we should thank Him often for His care. 

Love you all
Grandpa

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