I was mowing the other day and had a bit of a surprise. There is a rough patch that I mow so I’m going slow, keeping an eye on my line, and not really looking ahead. All of a sudden, something caught my eye. A bird, the Charadrius vociferus, the common killdeer, was coming at me, charging my mower!
I’m obviously bigger than the bird but it didn’t care. It was in full ungulate display. If you have no idea what that is, don’t feel bad. I didn’t either and discovered the terminology while studying. It is really fascinating.
“Michael Gochfeld named this type of direct, aggressive antipredator behavior by Killdeer the “ungulate display.” Birds performing this display move off the nest towards the intruder with their wings held slightly away from the body, and the contour feathers fluffed. This posture becomes more exaggerated until the wings are held out at a considerable distance from the body, exaggerating the size of the bird. The tail is fanned and the cinnamon rump is exposed. The head is held in a lowered position. While in this crouched posture, the bird lunges towards the intruder in an apparent effort to halt its approach.” GOCHFELD, M. 1984. Antipredator behavior: aggressive and distraction displays of shorebirds. Pp. 289-377 in Behavior of marine animals. Vol. 5 (J. Burger and B. L. Olla, eds.). Plenum Press, New York, New York. https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wilson/v098n04/p0605-p0607.pdf
Many killdeer die as a result of this behavior. The noise and size of the mower weren’t enough to frighten it. This bird was on a mission. It was willing to do what it had to do in order to protect its unborn.
Job 12:7-9 says, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (8) Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. (9) Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?” Job says, “Ask the birds. They’ll tell you about the Lord.
Matthew 6:26 reminds us of God’s care for our lives by telling us to look at how He cares for “the fowls of the air.” If God takes such good care of them, why would we doubt that He would take such good care of us?
The sparrow finds a home and place of rest to raise her young in the tabernacle of the Lord. (Psalm 84:1-3) What better of a place to raise a family than in the house of the Lord?
Knowing how to discern the times is illustrated by migratory birds like the stork, turtledove, crane, and swallow. (Jeremiah 8:7) Nobody “tells” them that it’s time to migrate. They just instinctively know. The seasons do not catch them unawares. Neither should the seasons of life catch the Christian unawares.
The renewed youthful feathers and flight of even an aged eagle remind us of the strength we receive by waiting on the Lord and trusting Him for the strength we need. (Isaiah 40:31) Ornithologists tell us that the aged eagle can molt well past their prime and maintain a youthful vigor and stamina.
A hen protectively gathers her brood under her wings, protecting her young from harm. This was used in Matthew 23:37 to describe how the Lord wanted to protect Israel. However, they would have nothing to do with Him.
On the fifth day of creation, the Bible says, “And God created … every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21) Yes, it was good and continues to supply us with good reminders of the nature of God.