Birds of the Holy Land #1

I may never get to make a trip to the Holy Land, but I think I’ve found a way to combine Orthodoxy with one of my most passionate and long-standing hobbies – birding.   Have you ever seen or wondered about some of the common birds mentioned in the Bible and still found in Israel and Palestine?  

Think of the Lord sitting under a tree, observing the natural landscape around him.  He had to have taken notice of the plants and animals around him – he certainly knew them in a most intimate way as their witness from the beginning of Creation. 

I think of the swifts when I read the Lord’s words, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them”   Swifts are fast-flying, insect-eating aerialists that are almost never seen on the ground (unless sick, injured or affected by violent weather).  Even their taxonomic family name Apodidae, refers back to the Greek word apous or “without feet”.  They cling vertically with weak, tiny feet to the sides of their nests, through the whole awkward, clumsy business of nest building, egg laying and chick-rearing.  An unproven but popular belief is that they are such completely airborne birds that sleeping and mating are done on the wing as well.


Alpine Swift

Little Swift

Little Swift

Pallid Swift

Pallid Swift

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