What Are They? Why Do They Do That?


Those are the questios my wife and I were asking a few weeks ago while dining In Galveston at Pier One. These black birds perch on the ropes that moore the ship and occassionally one spreads its wings so your attention goes to that one. My wife thought they were lifting their arms in praise of God. I suggested that they were airing out their armpits. I found the answers in the Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds by Terres. These birds are called Cormorants. It seems that they got short-changed because their feathers are not adequately waterproof and become so sodden after they have been fishing underwater that they must hold them open in the sun and breezes to dry. How good of God to equip them with an alternative way of staying dry.

So what’s the point of all this discovery for a guy who’s not really into bird watching? I realized that my favorite two kinds of questions to ask are “What?” and “Why?” It reminds me of the old Rudyard Kipling poem from the story, The Elephant’s Child, part of which goes:

I keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who.

Interesting how well fourth grade equips you for a life of learning!


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