Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being

understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: The Wonder of Bird Feathers Feathers are one of the most prominent features of a bird's anatomy, and they are unique to birds. Every bird has feathers and everything that has feathers is a bird . 1. they provide insulation, this is very important in a warm blooded animal (body temperature of most birds is maintained at around 40C 2. Feathers also protect birds from UV light. 3. Thirdly, feathers control what a bird looks like. A plucked chicken or pigeon looks very different to a fully feathered one. Feathers supply the bird with colours allowing for camouflage and secondary sexual characteristics and sexual display. Consider the tail feathers of a peacock. 4. Feathers grow quickly and are then sealed off at the base. Once fully developed a feather is a dead matter like your finger nails, though there are still muscles attached the base of each feather which can move each individual feather to help keep it in place. Feathers do not last for ever, they become worn and battered and are replaced regularly by the bird once or twice a year depending on species. This replacing of old feathers is called 'MOULT' or the moult or moulting. 5. Feathers have a basic form of a central hollow supporting shaft called a 'rachis' and a number of fine side branches. These side branches have even finer sub-branches in contour feathers. The side branches in these are called barbs and are linked together by a set of barbules and their hooklets sometimes called 'Hamuli'. Barbs have side branches of their own called barbules. The upper ones containing a series of hooklets and the lower ones without hooks but slightly convex in form to catch the hooklets of the barbules from the next barb along the shaft. This is perhaps best understood by seeing the diagram. The base of the feather - where their are no side branches - is called the calamus or quill and at the base of this is the hollow entrance that was used by blood veins to carry nutrients to the growing feather when it was alive, this is called the Inferior umbilicus. 6. They give the bird its characteristic smooth round shape. They also give the bird its visual colouring and provide a first level of defence against physical objects, sunlight, wind and rain. They are very important.

Some More Feather Facts 1. Some feathers particularly in the more primitive orders have a secondary smaller and less complicated shaft arising from the based of the calamus, this is called an aftershaft. 2. Feathers are made of keratin, a protein which is also used to make horn and hair by different animals and beaks by birds. 3. Owls have the outer ends of their flight feathers lacking in barbules, ii.e.they are unzipped - this makes the edges softer and reduces the noise they make, silent flight helps an owl catch its prey. 4. In primitive birds the feathers appear to grow at random all over the body, but in most orders the feathers appear in well defined patterns of rows or tracts called pterylae. 5. The number of feathers a bird has depends very much on its size and where and how it lives, in general a third of a birds feathers are on its head. 6. The bird with the least feathers is the Ruby Hummingbird Archilochus colubris with only 940 feathers in total 7. The bird with the most feathers is the Whistling Swan Cygnus columbianus which can have as many as 25,000 during winter. 8. The longest feathers in the world belong to an ornamental chicken bread in Japan in 1972, this specimen had tail feathers 10.59m or 34.75ft long. 9. The longest feathers of a wild bird belong to the Crested Argus Pheasant Rheinhartia ocellata which commonly reach lengths of 173cm or 5.7ft

The oil is obtained from the preen gland on the posterior. This is an oily spot which can be found by searching near the drake’s curled feathers. The bird uses this patch to roll and stroke its head over the oil. The head is then rubbed over the body feathers to spread the oil evenly. This keeps the feathers bright and supple, and allows water to run off in droplets – as the proverbial "water off a duck’s back." Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.