Consider the Birds
Jesus said, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24). Read these pages and think about how God cares for the birds. Then remember how much more God cares for you!The Right Parts
Imagine that you have to make a bird. All the parts are in front of you. You have to put them together in a way that makes sense. Could you? Here’s what God did with those parts:
BONES God gave all birds hollow bones, which weigh less than normal bones. Birds must be lightweight to fly well.
EYES Hawks, eagles, and other raptors (birds of prey) have very good eyesight. These birds have two eyes in the front of their heads. The eyes work together to help the bird judge distances. Birds that are seed eaters have their eyes on the sides of their heads. They don’t need to judge distances. But they do need to spot enemies coming from either side.
BEAKS Seed eaters have short, stout beaks to crack seeds. Raptors have strong, curved beaks to tear food. Ducks have flat beaks with “strainers” to strain water from the water plants they eat. Herons have long beaks to spear fish in shallow water. A hummingbird’s thin beak fits perfectly into tube-shaped flowers to reach nectar.
FEET Most seed eaters have feet with handlike “toes” that can grasp branches, since the birds perch in trees. Most raptors have strong feet with claws, to hold prey. Most water birds have webbed feet to help them swim. The heron’s got long legs to stand in shallow water.
Every bird has exactly what it needs. Every bird shows its Creator’s care.
YOUR TURN: Look carefully at a few birds. Where are their eyes placed? What kind of feet do they have? What do their legs look like? What else do you notice? From what you see, try to figure out what these birds eat. Start with birds that you know. Check a bird book for answers.
God made birds’ eggs just the right size, shape, and color for protection. For example, birds that nest on the ground lay patterned eggs that blend with grass or small stones. Birds that nest in trees or shrubs generally lay blue or green eggs, which cannot be seen very well in dappled sunlight.
YOUR TURN: Scientists tell us that a chicken’s eggs are oval because that shape resists crushing. With permission from an adult, take an egg from your
refrigerator and try to break the egg by squeezing it with one hand. (First make sure the egg doesn’t have a crack in it!)
Going, Going . . .
Right now lots of birds fly south to escape a cold northern winter. Many travel at night. You can watch them if you know how. Go out on a night when the moon is full. Sit quietly, look, and listen. You have a good chance of seeing (and maybe hearing) a flock of birds flying by night. It’s a sight you won’t soon forget.
The moon will be full on Friday, October 6.
Did you ever wonder how birds can sleep on branches and even on wires without falling? God gave them special toelocking equipment.
In each leg there is a special tendon that’s attached to the toes and stretches over the knee. When the bird relaxes, it bends its knees. That pulls on the tendon, which pulls the toes and curls them more tightly around the bird’s perch. The more the bird relaxes, the more the tendon pulls, the more the toes curl. The bird can’t possibly fall off its perch.
YOUR TURN: You can make a rough copy of a bird’s special tendons. Cut a piece of string twice as long as your arm. Tie a loop on each end of the string. Loop these around two fingertips of one hand. Run the rest of the string, folded together, down your arm and over your elbow. Hold it there as you bend your arm. Your elbow should pull the string, which should curl your fingertips.
Not all birds escape cold weather. Those that eat seeds and berries can stay, as long as they can keep warm. So God took care of that for them.
Birds that stay in cold climates usually grow extra feathers for winter. That’s like putting on another layer of clothes. A sparrow with its feathers fluffed up can keep a body temperature of 106.7 degrees Fahrenheit (41.5 C) during freezing weather.
Standing or perching barefoot in snow could be a problem for birds. But that’s solved. Very little blood flows through those cold feet. That blood is quickly mixed with the warm blood in the bird’s body.
So the body always warms the blood, and the feet don’t freeze.
- Find a large feather or buy one from a craft store.
- Run your fingers down the feather from the tip to the base. The feather becomes ragged.
- Get a magnifying glass and look closely at the feather. You’ll see little branches (barbs) attached to each side of the central “quill” or shaft. Look more closely, and you’ll see smaller branches (barbules) attached to each barb. Look more closely yet, and you will see that many of these barbules have hooks. One feather has more tiny hooks than you can count.
- Run your fingers up the feather, from the base to the tip. The feather zips back together. You just demonstrated God’s original Velcro, designed to keep birds warm and dry.
The End of the Matter
Read Matthew 6:2527. Then unscramble the words below and write them in the proper order. (Hint: Jesus asked his disciples this after telling them how well God cares for the birds.) you not they valuable more are than much?