Birds intimate with humans by Jwa

What kind of a bird produces that birdsong? What kind of birds are in Wolmyeongdong? Aren't you curious? Let's come to know through the class, 'the bird that is intimate with people.'

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A bird with a story, the Chinese hwamei



A Chinese hwamei that has painted eyebrows and a beautiful voice

Let’s look at one of the many of Pastor Jung Myeong Seok’s stories made in China about a bird he named Myeong Ga Soo. 


The species of bird is a Chinese hwamei, and in Korean, it is called hwamijo (畵眉鳥). It is a suborder of songbirds that mainly inhabits the eastern part of China. Songbirds sing with a beautiful sound as they perch on a branch and they belong to the order Passeriformes.  

However, there is no official record of the bird inhabiting Korea. The name of the bird is derived from the Chinese characters 画眉 (huà-méi), which means “painted eyebrows.”  It is also a typical feathered pet that is well known in China for its diverse and beautiful cry (song).  

What kind of bird is the Chinese hwamei?

On average its size is 21-25cm long  and Its wings and tail are frequently in the shape of a fan and it has a habit of moving them up and down. Overall it has a dark reddish brown colour. Furthermore, its eyes are highlighted by a white pattern that encircles them and elongates slightly toward the bird’s back.  The sound it makes is sometimes a repeated diverse set of sounds (whistling, or rattling sounds) or sometimes the sounds of other birds it mimics. 

The birds travel in small flocks and usually eat insects, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Breeding is monogamous and usually happens between April and July. They build large, round, cup-shaped nests two meters above the ground simply in regular forests or bamboo forests and incubate two to five green or blue colored eggs together, with the result being the chicks hatching after 13 days. Breeding is known to happen about twice a year. 

In recent years, it has been confirmed that the Chinese hwamei exists in south-eastern and central China, Vietnam, northern and central Laos, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and Hawaii. The bird was introduced to the Hawaiian islands in the early 20th century and it currently breeds vigorously especially in the forests of that region. Therefore, it is known to be a common species of Oahu Island and Molokai. 

The Chinese hwamei also appears in the arts, such as in paintings, novels, and poems.  The Qing Dynasty painter, Wangrye, as well as modern and contemporary Chinese painters, have drawn the Chinese hwamei. In addition, a masterpiece among Chinese classical novels, Dream of the Red Chamber, says that many aviaries that have all kinds of birds, such as parrots and Chinese hwamei, are hanging in the one of main characters’ house.  

Myeong Ga Soo, the bird with a miraculous story


In China, Pastor Jung Myeong Seok also was drawn to the beautiful sound of the Chinese hwamei, which were popular at the market, so he bought one. When he preached the Word, the bird also would cry beautifully, so he decided to name the bird, Myeong Ga Soo*. He gave Myeong Ga Soo a bath, washed its feet, and caught insects and grasshoppers with which to feed it.  He took care of it as if he was managing a life. 

(Translator's note: Myeong means great or best, and Ga-soo means singer in Korean.)

Then one day, when a strong wind blew, Myeong Ga Soo’s cage fell on the ground and the bird flew out through the open cage door. Even though the bird had already flown away, Pastor Jung Myeong Seok prayed to the Lord that he would be able to find the bird. Then, something incredible happened.  30 minutes after the bird had flown away to the wild, it came flying into view. In this way, he magically came to find Myeong Ga Soo. In this way, Myeong Ga Soo is a bird with a miraculous story. 

Us too, let’s make a miraculous story with Heaven and, like Myeong Ga Soo, become human Chinese hwamei who offer beautiful praise before the Lord. 


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