“Flag those birds!” (Part 2)
And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi [i.e., the LORD is my banner]. (Exodus 17:15)
In “Flag that Bird! (Part 1)”, we considered 4 “banner birds” – besides globally popular eagles – that appear on national flags: Belgium’s Wallonian Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus); Portugal’s Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis); Burma’s Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus); and Dominica’s Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis).
As promised, this mini-series will continue with more “flagged birds”, namely, British Antarctic Territory (penguin); Saint Helena, British crown colony in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean (Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a “wirebird”); Kiribati (frigatebird); Papua New Guinea (bird of paradise); Fiji, as well as the royal standard of Tonga (dove); Australian state of Western Australia (black swan); Australian state of South Australia (iping shrike); Bolivia (condor); and Uganda (crested crane).
In this particular installment, 2 more (of those just listed) will be introduced.
So now, consider the penguin – avian icon of the British Antarctic Territory.
Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri). There are a variety of penguins that live in the Antarctic regions, yet it is the Emperor Penguin featured on the official coat-of-arms of the British Antarctic Territory, and that coat-of-arms is what appears on the territory’s official flag, next to the Union Jack (on a white background).
The British explorers of the Antarctic regions include Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, who led an expedition using their research ship RRS Discovery (AD1901-AD1904), a symbol of which ship appears on the heraldic crest of that territory’s coat-of-arms.
Captain Scott’s second expedition (using the Terra Nova, AD1910-AD1913), to explore Antarctica, was disappointing for two reasons: (1) Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian exploration party had just “beat” the Brits to the South Pole, on 14 December of AD1911; and (2) Scott’s expedition party died in the wild weather of Antarctica near the end of March that year, on the Ross Ice Shelf, about 150 miles from their base camp.
Of interest to Biblical creationists, Captain Scott collected about 35 pounds of plant fossils in Antarctica, proving that Antarctica was previously forested (obviously under milder climate conditions!). Regarding the importance of forests in Antarctica, see Buddy Davis’s article “Forest in Antarctica After the Flood?”, citing National Science Foundation Press Release (8-4-2008), “Antarctic Fossils Paint a Picture of a Much Warmer Continent”.
Ironically, the Discovery and Terra Nova research ventures were both intended to support Darwin’s theory of evolution, but the evidence refused to cooperate! This surprise (to the evolutionists) is summarized by a BBC reporter, Megan Lane (in BBC News magazine, 2 November, 2011), as follows: “Of the 2,000 specimens of animals collected by Scott and his team – 400 of which were newly discovered – the jewel in the crown was a trio of Emperor penguin eggs. It was hoped [by Darwinism supporters] that these would provide long-awaited proof of Darwin’s theory of evolution. At the time, it was thought [by evolutionists that] an embryo passed through all [“phylogenetic”] stages of its species’ evolution as it developed. And as the [British evolutionists] assumed the flightless Emperor penguin to be the world’s most primitive bird, they hoped the embryos in these eggs would show the link between dinosaurs and birds. The birds had been seen before, but never with their eggs. ‘It was the greatest [sic] biological quest of its day,’ says polar historian David Wilson, whose great-uncle, Edward Wilson, was Scott’s naturalist. ‘Then they collected the eggs, and all the theories turned out to be wrong’.” [Quoting BBC’s Megan Lane.] Amazingly, the “dinosaur-morphs-into-modern-birds” fairy tale is still being fabricated today, through science fiction movies (like Jurassic Park) and via dinosaur DNA evidence spoliation. [Regarding how dinosaur DNA evidence is being censored, in academic/research circles, to avoid spoiling evolutionist mythology, see the multi-authored ICR article posted at www.icr.org/article/4947 .]
The next bird on this list is the Saint Helena Plover, locally nicknamed the “wirebird” (due to its wiry-thin legs).
Saint Helena Plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae).
The Saint Helena Plover appears on the flag of Saint Helena, as well as on that small nation’s official coat-of-arms. The plover is Saint Helena’s national bird as well. Saint Helena is an island territory — in the South Atlantic Ocean (about midway between South America’s Brazil and Africa’s Angola) — administered by the United Kingdom, having been formally claimed by Great Britain when Oliver Cromwell (in AD1657) granted a charter to the East India Company, to settle the South Atlantic island. Politically speaking, Saint Helena is grouped with Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, as a British overseas territory (formerly known as “Saint Helena and Dependencies”).
This little plover is a year-round resident, endemic to this island (although it is similar to other plovers). This endemic invertebrate-consuming landbird is a small “wader”’, i.e., a shorebird capable of wading in coastal tidewaters, yet it mostly habituates other open areas of the island, such as pasture-like grasslands. Its eggs are mostly light-brown in color, with dark-speckled mottling. Its populations are declining, according to monitoring (which includes motion-sensor ultraviolet cameras positioned near nesting grounds), apparently due to predation (by rodents or feral cats) or due to other kinds of nest disturbances (such as sheep that step on plover nests). Conservation efforts are underway, in hopes of restoring the population growth of this island’s humble symbol.
Stay tuned! God willing, the next installment in this mini-series will cover more of these “banner birds”, now that a penguin and a plover – both of which birds live only in the Southern Hemisphere, are properly “flagged” and accounted for.