Friday, May 06, 2016

Jewel # 247 (May 2, 2016)

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“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 Osprey and Its Prey

“Does the hawk fly by thy wisdom? . . . Does the eagle mount up
at Thy command, and make her nest on high?”
(Job 39:26-27)

The osprey, also called fish hawk, with a five - to six-foot wingspread, is a bird of prey in the hawk family.  It is shiny brown above, but parts of its head and neck have enough white to resembles the bald eagle.  The underparts of its body are plain white, including its heavily feathered legs.  It is very impressive with it erect head and sharply hooked beak.

These birds are found on all continents except Antarctica.  In North America they spend summers from Labrador to Florida and Alaska to California.  Most of them winter from the southern United States to northern Argentina and Paraguay.

Ospreys do not have songs; they have high-pitched whistles.  They feed only on fish, which is why they live near both fresh and salt water.

Their huge nests are a mass of sticks, usually lined with grass or seaweed.  They use the same nest year after year, always adding to it until it may reach three feet high and three feet wide.  Before so many forests were cut down, tops of trees were a favourite nesting place.  From high branches they could look down into the water and choose their fish targets.  But now many build their nests on telephone poles, posts in water, roofs of barns and ledges.  Helping to solve this problem, naturalists build platforms 30 feet or more above the water, and the ospreys find these good substitutes.

Other ospreys build nests on rocks as high as 300 feet.  It is quite a spectacle to watch one take off from this height, hovering over the water, then diving feet first, hitting the water with a great splash and often going completely under, to snatch a fish in its strong talons.  It carries the fish back home in its talons, perhaps eating a few mouthfuls on the way.

The male migrates north again in early spring, soon followed by his lifetime mate.  Returning to the same nest, they clean it and add to it.  Soon they have three or four young chicks to care for.  The mother stays with the young at all times, and the father provides all the food.  The little ones eat so much they become heavier than the parents but return to a smaller size before learning to fly.

The Bible tells us that on the fifth day of creation, “God created . . . every winged fowl after his kind” (Genesis 1:21).  And in Psalm 145:15 we are told, “The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their food in due season.”  Another Bible verse says, “His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He sees all his goings” (Job34:21).

Is that comforting to you?         Or does it trouble you?

Love you all,
Grandpa

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