Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Double-barred Finch is a highly social Australian species and as a result they spend most of their time in group activity. Mutual preening is part of this activity. They also will feed together in groups of twenty or so, mainly picking up seeds that have fallen to the ground but periodically jumping up to pull down stalks that are filled with grain. Sleeping quarters are often unlined roost nests which are built for that purpose where up to six birds will cram together. Even when nesting, several pairs will build nests in the same shrub. These nests usually have a side entrance with a tunnel that leads into an inner chamber where they may raise up to three clutches a year. Pair bonds are strong and maintained even when not breeding.

Since they need to drink frequently, and are not especially strong fliers, they must live close to water. Their method of drinking is somewhat unusual and has led some to believe they suck up water. In truth, they simply submerge their bill into water and then use their tongue to force it into their esophagus and from there, peristalsis transports it into the crop. This allows these gregarious birds to drink quickly and spend less time being vulnerable to predators. Still, drinking as a group allows for sentinels to keep an eye out for danger.

This importance of community is equally as important among Christians. Notice how Paul emphasized this truth: “He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 NIV)