While lock-down continues into another week for us, and prospects to go more than 5 km from home are currently banned, we have had to curtail our birding pursuits for […]
While lock-down continues into another week for us, and prospects to go more than 5 km from home are currently banned, we have had to curtail our birding pursuits for the time being. So this week we focus an extraordinary small bird the Comb-crested Jacana, which is also known as the Jesus Bird because it appears to walk on water. In actual fact its long spindly legs and toes walk across water lilies, on wetland swamps of Queensland, Northern Territory and the far north coast of NSW.
This bird is featured in my book “What Birds Teach Us” because of the amazing ability the parent Jacana has to carry all of its nestlings across the water-lily pads to safety during the rising waters of the wet season. The bird illustrates to us the need to rise above the difficulties of life and to convert what may seem to be a worrying problem into a fresh opportunity or challenge, which will always bring new insights and growth to ones life.
The famous photo of Sally Corte’s, which she graciously lent, is also in the this second edition of my book, where she has actually captured the Jacana father carrying its babies to safety. Look for the tiny legs dangling from under his wings.
Jacana seldom ever come to shore, spending its entire life walking on lily pads, even building its nest in the open on the lily pads. It feeds on aquatic insects, aquatic plants and seeds. Here is a small family, notice the dull undeveloped combs on the the immature birds, while the parent’s comb shines bright red in the sunlight.
Jacana family grazing on the lily pads in the wetlands of Far North Queensland
Here are some more photos of immature Jacana at different stages of maturity.
This mature Jacana was found in the Cattana Wetlands just north of Cairns where the Cairns council have created a wetlands using the recycled water waste. The Jacana live alongside the Green Pygmy-goose (seen below), another unusual bird found in this far north tropical region.
The Jacana seldom flies long distances, usually only enough to jump from one lily pad to another, or is escaping floods, raptors or other threatening predators.
This next image is an all time favorite of mine, as it highlights the smallness of the bird against a flowering water-lily stem. From a distance this bird did actually appear to be walking on water as many of the pads were slightly submerged.
Here are two immature Jacana busily grazing note their continuous head and tail actions
Immature Jacana grazing
So when they rest or sleep they typically stand on one leg to relieve the other leg, since most spend their lives on their legs, never sitting. They also sleep standing on the lily pad out on the river or wetland swamp.
On the home front this week, the two young Crested Pigeons are now going out on long day excursions with parents and only return to roost at night. The effective large local Noisy Miner coalition have been busy in the past few days, as our local Kookaburras have made several attempts a day to reenter our area, especially around our place. I am wondering if it is their interest in the young pigeons, but I think not now, they seem to also want access to my birdbaths. I do miss the sound of the Kooka’s bringing in the morning with their chorus. They sometimes very rarely will call outside our bedroom window before the Miners are up or out of range, before they are mobbed. Here is some footage of mobbing that occurred today.
Enjoy your week and stay safe. Our hearts go out to our US friends having to deal with heatwaves and wildfires and smoke, similar to what we endured earlier in the year. Also to all of us in lock-down, which is being prolonged by stupid people who refuse to obey the law to do what is needed to curb this latest outbreak, stay safe.
You will notice on this my website anniversary, that I have finally given into the WordPress Block Editor, though I have found several significant flaws in it which I have reported. Though I have had to continue to do some functions in Classic. I have adopted a Premium theme and spent this week painfully adjusting the Classic features to Block where it is frustrating possible. My landing page (home Page) is completely different and many of my pages have undergone some level of change. I hope it is to your liking.
I now also have the facility for people to purchase more than one book in one transaction at my online store. I would be grateful if those who have purchased books would write a review in the comments section on the Birdbook page, as the new page lacks the many previous comments.
Panic and anxiety freeze us up, so that associated stress and adrenaline overload cloud our rational thinking process. Worry accompanied by an ineffective response causing a negative reaction instead of positive action to remedy the situation, can mean the difference between life and death. Time is critical as it is when a building or forest is on fire, or for the Jacana, when rivers are rising. Clear thinking action is needed, not panic, as this is when many make poor decisions, and make a bad situation worse, as depicted in many of the old silent comedy movies. The Comb-crested Jacana decisively, calmly and wisely carries its young under its wings to safety, before disaster struck. Do nothing out of fear, for irrational subjective fear is our worse enemy. Act only out of objective faith, weighing up the facts and responding in love. See each circumstance as a challenge to grow in character and an opportunity to shine.
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” – Psalm 46:1-3
“Call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” – Psalm 50:15
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‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,
To learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.