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Reference: Stork


The stork (Arabic, abu said 'father of good luck') is a bird much loved in Palestine, where in its migration northwards it arrives in the spring (Jer 8:7); it does great good by clearing the crops of caterpillars and locusts: when the storks arrive plentifully, it is anticipated that the harvests will be unusually good. These birds may be seen walking through the grain or circling round and round in groups high in the heavens. No doubt this powerful flight caused its wings to be noted (Job 39:13; Zec 5:8). No native would dream of harming it; its sacred character may have caused it to be an 'unclean' bird (Le 11:19; De 14:18). Its Heb. name, implying 'lovingkindness,' was given because of its tender care of its young. The above remarks apply specially to the white stork (Ciconia alba); a black stork (C. nigra) has also been identified in the Holy Land.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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