Chullin 63 - The Names of the Birds

Rav Yehudah said, "The cormorant ('shalach') is the bird who draws fish from the sea." Its name is related to "sholeach" - draw or send. Rabbi Yochanan, when observing this bird, would exclaim, "Your judgments are in the great deep" - because the fish that is destined to perish at that time is captured by the cormorant in the depth. When observing an ant, he would say, "Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains." This phrase from the psalms means that God provides for the tiniest ant. Alternatively, it emphasizes that an ant can carry a burden much larger than itself.

The stork in Hebrew is "racham," which connotes mercy - because it is a harbinger of rain. Rav Bibi bar Abaye said, "That is only when it sits on something makes the 'sherakrak' sound. If it sits on the ground and shrieks, it is a sign that Messiah is about to come." But there was one stork that settled in a plowed field and shrieked, and a stone came down and cracked its skull?! - That one was a liar.

Art: Wladyslaw Aleksander Malecki - Storks' Seym