Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jewel # 260 (Sept. 17, 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 Open-Billed Stork

“The stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle dove 
and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their  coming.”
(Jeremiah 8:7)

Except for people living in Florida and Central and South America, few Americans have seen a stork living in the wild.  However, many live in Europe, Africa, India and some other lands.  They are large birds with long beaks and legs and partially webbed feet.  It is a pretty sight to see them soaring  through the air, big wings spread out, long necks extended and legs stretched out behind them.

The open-billed stork is different from other storks in several ways.  One difference is that it makes its rough nest of sticks near marshes, whereas most storks prefer dry, hotter places.  But the main difference is that this one lives almost entirely on snails, and other storks don’t eat them at all.

Here’s how the open billed got its name.  The Creator has given it a special bill because of the way it gets its food.  Other storks have smooth bills, but this bill is grooved all along the edges.  Also, the upper part of the bill curves down and the lower part curves up, so that when the tips are together there is a spot left open in the middle—open-billed.  This along with the grooves helps it to hold the slippery snail shells securely until it has a chance to insert the pointed tip of its bill into the shell, cutting the snail loose and eating it.  Certainly, this specially designed bill is a provision of the Creator, enabling this stork to capture the great number of snails it eats daily.

Open-bills will ride on the backs of hippos wading in the same marshy feeding area.  The hippo pulls up its own grassy food and exposes snails, which are quickly snatched by the stork.

When stork eggs hatch, the little ones are naked, but before long they grow a soft coat of down followed a little later by feathers.  Both parents take care of them, shading them from the hot sun by stretching out their wings over them and also regurgitating food which they have brought for them.  The greedy youngsters eat more than their stomachs can hold, but the Creator has provided for this too.  Instead of making them sick, the extra food goes into a pouch in their throats until their stomachs are ready for it.

These interesting birds provide another example of the way God cares for every creature, large or small, as a Bible verse tells us: “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing” (Job 12:10).  We are told in other Bible verses how much more He loves and cares for every boy and girl in the the world.

Have you ever thanked Him for His loving care over you?

Love you all, 
Grandpa  

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