Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jewel # 272 (Jan. 28, 2017)

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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,

Swamp Loving Bitterns

“I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.”
(Psalm 50:11)

If you spend time in swampy areas and look closely, you may happen to see one of the lovely bitterns that live in the swamps.  Being part of the heron family, there are many varieties throughout the world, and two of them are residents of southern Canada and northern United States.

Lets look at one named the least bittern.  It is called “least” because of its smaller size compared to other bitterns.  It is about 12 inches long when measured from its feet to the tip of its long bill when it stretches its neck straight up.  Its body is only about the size of a quail or robin, but its legs, neck and bill are much longer.

The Creator has provided this secretive bird with colours suited to hiding in its marshy home of cattails, tall reeds, long grasses and low bushes.  Its feathers are light brown except for  a black crown and back.  Similar colouring on its neck and breast is lightly striped in black tones.  This combination makes the bittern almost impossible to spot when something has alarmed it, and it freezes with its bill pointing up in the midst of swamp foliage.

It also turns its front and both eyes toward the source of alarm.  If the wind moves the reeds, the bittern sways with the movement of the reeds.  Adding to its excellent camouflage, the striped colouring of its long neck and breast look like the reedy plants in which it stands.

One reason bitterns like such watery surroundings is the plentiful food found there—fish, eels and frogs.  They also eat mice and other small animals, various insects and seeds.  Unlike most birds, they do not flock together.  Usually only one is seen by itself or occasionally a pair.

Bitterns are among the world’s most cautious birds, preferring to stay in the surroundings that hide them so well.  Only occasionally will they venture out into open water or into a close-by meadow for a meal of grasshoppers, other insects or seeds.  They can run fast on open ground but fly slowly, keeping close to the tops of the reeds and brush.

Nests are built above water level where from three to six young are raised each year.  The mother bird does all the incubating and feeding of her brood until they can care for themselves.

As we look at even a few of the multitudes of bird varieties in the world, it give us happiness to realize the Creator, the One who is Lord of heaven and earth, has found pleasure in them all.  But He says in Proverbs 8:31, “My delights were with the children of men.”  You are much more important to Him than any bird, fish or animal—so important to Him that he died on the cross for you.

Is He important to you? 

Love you all - Grandpa

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