The Eagle has Landed, in Fact Many of Them!

The Eagle has Landed, in Fact Many of Them!

Eagles have Repopulated the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Range

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good [things; so that] thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:5)

BaldEagle-SanDiegoZoo

Bald Eagle – San Diego Zoo

God satisfies our real needs, from time to time, from season to season, just as He sustains the ongoing needs of the eagle. Recovering strength is good for an individual–and also for a population, including eagle populations.

Recovering from a “ghost town” shutdown is worth the effort.  Ask a Bald Eagle.

Whitney Pipkin recently reported, in the Chesapeake Bay Journal , that Bald Eagles have made a comeback along Virginia’s James River.(1),(2)

This avian population illustrates how a pessimistic situation can, if the right actions are taken, be reversed—eventually producing a happier result.

First, the bad news:

In the late 1970s, the treetops of the James River looked like a ghost town. Despite plenty of suitable habitat where bald eagles could have been nesting and had before, the waterway was the only major tributary in the Chesapeake Bay whose nesting population of the iconic American predator had plummeted to zero.(1)

Now, the good news:

Imagine biologists’ surprise when, four decades later, that same river became the staging ground for the eagles’ astonishing comeback. Aerial surveys tallied more than 300 breeding pairs of [bald] eagles along the James River for the first time in 2019—a number that had been the species’ recovery goal for the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.(1)

When it comes to the Chesapeake Bay, the majestic bald eagle has come back from the dead. Driven from historic nesting strongholds like the James River by pesticides in the 1970s, the national bird has become a success story.(2)

BaldEagles-BirdWatchingHQ

3 Bald Eagles – Bird Watching HQ

Furthermore, the big-picture news is even better:

Biologists estimate there are now close to 3,000 nesting pairs Baywide [i.e., in the Chesapeake Bay watershed], but surveys of the entire region no longer occur annually. Maryland stopped surveying bald eagles in 2004 when they hit nearly 400 breeding pairs statewide, surpassing population goals.(1)

Moreover, it’s not just eagles that are flourishing in the Chesapeake Bay area:

“We are just in an amazing time right now,” said Bryan Watts, co-founder and director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary. … Not just bald eagles, but fish-eaters like osprey and blue heron also once died out on the James.

Today, [these riparian fish-eating birds—like eagles, ospreys, and herons—have ] swelled to numbers Watts believes are well above what even Capt. John Smith encountered on the cusp of the 17th century. “In terms of eagles,” said Watts, “we are protecting them. We’re not shooting them like we did in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We don’t consider them competitors for muskrats or for fish, and so we’re not killing them.”(2)

For conservationists, birdwatchers, and other wildlife enthusiasts, these large-scale recoveries are very good news. After all, eagles are America’s official bird.

Beyond that, eagles are amazing creatures that display God’s genius in bioengineering.(3)

One example of highness being compared to the nesting habits of eagles is found in the Bible, in the Book of Obadiah 1:3-4, where the eagle is described as a creature that lives in high places, much closer to the stars than do most other animals (or people). Another Old Testament book in the Bible, the Book of Job, refers (at 39:13) to the eagle as mounting up into the air by God’s command (because God programs eagles to fly up into the air the way that they do), and as nesting in high places (because God programs eagles to do this also).

Eagles are good parents, training their sons and daughters to live like eagles (see Deuteronomy 32:11). Eagles can fly, like dive-bombing airplanes, at great speeds (see 2nd Samuel 1:23 and Lamentations 4:19). Their strength is renewed from time to time, as their feather-cover adjusts to their growing bodies (see Isaiah 40:31 and Psalms 103:5). Eagles are known for their gracefulness and dignity (see Proverbs 30:19). In fact, eagles fly very high in the air as a matter of habit – above most other birds (see Proverbs 23:5).(4)

Meanwhile, the Bald Eagles’ recovery—in the Chesapeake Bay area–illustrates how a bad situation can be overcome, with the prioritized concern and problem-solving management practices, plus patience.

But this is not the first time that an endangered or threatened wild bird (or other wildlife category) has been rescued from the brink of population failure. Consider the amazing recovery of the Trumpeter Swan, which nearly sang its own swan song.(5)

Likewise, Tri-colored Herons (also called “Louisiana Herons”) have recently reclaimed (and repopulated) ranges that previously they had lost.(6)

It’s not just the birds. American bison have made a comeback.(7) The list goes on, but the list could be longer than what it is.

Wildlife populations often face critical perils, sometimes facing population failure, range contraction, or habitat loss. Sometimes they recover.(1),(2),(5),(6)

The same is true for humans. For example, it is well worth praying for America to recover from its many political (socialism-pushing) problems in the wake of pandemic perils and propaganda.(8)

Problematic situations, including disasters, don’t fix themselves—real solutions (to real problems) don’t accidentally “evolve”. There is much good work needed, to recover lost ground in America. Human responsibility is the key to much of what is needed; yet God’s providential blessings are needed even more, much more.(8)

So we need to pray fervently for God’s blessings, daily—not just on the National Day of Prayer.(8)

References   

  1. Pipkin, W. 2020. Bald Eagles’ Recovery Along James River Soars to New Heights: Area’s 300 Breeding Pairs Surpass Goal for Entire Chesapeake Watershed. Chesapeake Bay Journal. 30(3):17-18.
  2. Dietrich, T. 2019. Bald Eagles Enter ‘Golden Age’ in Chesapeake Bay. Daily Press. Posted (July 9, 2019) on DailyPress.com at http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-nws-bald-eagles-recovery-20190709-story.html (accessed May 9, 2020).
  3. Eggleton, M. 2016. The American Bald Eagle: On Eagle’s Wings. 38(2):34-37, posted at https://creation.com/on-eagles-wings . See also Johnson, J. J. S. 2018. Hawks and Eagles Launching Skyward. Acts & Facts, 47(4):21, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/hawks-eagles-launching-skyward .
  4. Johnson, J. J. S. 2008. Alaska’s Coastal Rainforests and Two of its Rangers, the Bald Eagle and the Alaska Moose. Dallas: NWD Press/RCCL’s Radiance of the Seas (July 2008), pages 10-11.
  5. Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. Post-Coronavirus Comeback or Swan’s Song? Creation Science Update. Posted (April 23, 2020) at https://www.icr.org/article/post-coronavirus-comeback-or-swans-song .
  6. Johnson, J. J. S. 2019. Does Global Warming Threaten Bird Habitats? Acts & Facts. 48(6):21, posted at https://www.icr.org/article/does-global-warming-threaten-bird-habitats .
  7. Whitaker Jr., J. O. 1998. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals, revised edition. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 850-854, Plates # 329-333.
  8. James 5:16; 1 Timothy 2:1-3. See also Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. Prayers for America and our Divine Editor. ICR News. Posted (May 7, 2020) at https://www.icr.org/article/prayers-for-america-and-our-divine-editor .

Birds Are Wonderful: A, B, and C !

BIRDS  ARE  WONDERFUL  . . .  A, B, and C !

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus said: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”   (Matthew 6:25-26)

For ushering in the new year  —  the year of our Lord 2020  —  below follows the first installment of alphabet-illustrating birds of the world, as part of this new series (“Birds Are Wonderful  —  and Some Are a Little Weird*).  The letter A is illustrated by Anhinga, Andean Condor, and Arctic Tern.  The letter B  illustrated by Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, and Bewick’s Wren.  The letter C illustrated by Cardinal, Chicken, and Cowbirds.

“A” BIRDS:   Anhinga, Andean Condor, and Arctic Tern.

BAW-Anhinga-AndeanCondor

BAW-ArcticTern

“B” BIRDS:  Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, and Bewick’s Wren.

BAW-BaldEagle-BaltimoreOriole

BAW-BewicksWren

“C” BIRDS:  Cardinal, Chicken, and Cowbirds. 

BAW-CowbirdsBAW-Cardinal-Chicken

Birds are truly wonderful — and some, like cowbirds, are a little bit weird!  (Stay tuned for more, D.v.)


* Quoting from “Birds Are Wonderful, and Some Are a Little Weird”, (c) AD2019 James J. S. Johnson   [used here by permission].

Rooster-RaisinghappyChickens.com-photo

Woodstock’s Migration Fear

As most of you are aware, the northern birds in this hemisphere, prefer to head south, but there are a few exceptions.

Common Cranes in Israel. Many species of crane gather in large groups during migration and on their wintering grounds

There are many stories of how far they migrate, how many flock together to travel together, and many other amazing feats that the Lord’s Avian Wonders perform this time of the year.

But there are a few exceptions, Woodstock being one of them:

Snoopy and Woodstock - migration fear

Snoopy and Woodstock – migration fear

“He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.” (Psalms 115:13 KJV)

I would have loved to have had my camera handy the other morning. I was walking to the breakfast table and noticed a huge black bird through my glass sliding doors. It appeared that he was swooping up and going to land on the roof corner of our patio/lanai. I mentioned to Dan that I thought I had just seen a cormorant try to land on the roof.

While seated for breakfast, here came the bird again. This time I realized what I was seeing. [No camera handy, of course] It was a huge, immature Bald Eagle being chased by a angry Boat-tailed Grackle. Wow! He swooped up again.

Wild Immature Bald Eagle in Flight

Wild Immature Bald Eagle in Flight ©Pixers

This is similar to what it looked like underneath, but, it was a whole lot closer!!

“For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.” (Jeremiah 48:40 KJV)

This happened one more time and the last time he was just about 20 to 25 feet from where I was seated. When he flew up the last time I had a great view of his head and then all those feathers under his wings as they were fully stretched out. Double WOW!

I came to the conclusion, that this must have been the first time it had been mobbed. [Even though it was just one bird.] Maybe he felt Mugged as Woodstock was worrying about.

P.S. Dan knee surgery was Monday and he is progressing quite well. Has pain, but it gets less each day. Thanks for the continued prayer.

Bald – Golden – Steller’s Sea – Eagles Compared

Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) next to Bald Eagle by Lee at National Aviary

“Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:5 KJV)

The last post mentioned the Golden Eagle and the Sea Eagle. We were privileged to have seen the Bald Eagle [almost daily here in Polk Country this time of the year.], the Golden Eagle, and the Steller’s Sea Eagle. Just thought you might like a size comparison. The above photo was taken at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA. The two exhibits were side by side and I was overwhelmed at the size of the Steller’s Sea Eagle on the right, and the Bald Eagle on the left. I backed up so I could get them both. What a difference!

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Lee at National Aviary

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Lee at National Aviary

The Bald Eagle has a body length of 70–102 cm (28–40 in). Typical wingspan is between 1.8 and 2.3 m (5.9 and 7.5 ft) and mass is normally between 3 and 6.3 kg (6.6 and 13.9 lb).[5] Females are about 25% larger than males, averaging 5.6 kg (12 lb), and against the males’ average weight of 4.1 kg (9.0 lb)

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Flying ©WikiC

The Golden Eagle is a very large raptor, 66 to 102 centimetres (26 to 40 in) in length. Its wings are broad and the wingspan is 1.8 to 2.34 metres (5 ft 11 in to 7 ft 8 in). Golden eagles’ wingspan is the fifth largest among living eagle species. Females are larger than males, with a bigger difference in larger subspecies. Females of the large Himalayan golden eagles are about 37% heavier than males and have nearly 9% longer wings, whereas in the smaller Japanese golden eagles, females are only 26% heavier with around 6% longer wings.[2][8] In the largest subspecies (A. c. daphanea), males and females weigh typically 4.05 kilograms (8.9 lb) and 6.35 kg (14.0 lb), respectively. In the smallest subspecies, A. c. japonica, males weigh 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) and females 3.25 kg (7.2 lb).[2] In the species overall, males average around 3.6 kg (7.9 lb) and females around 5.1 kg (11 lb). The maximum size of golden eagles debated. Large subspecies are the heaviest representatives of the Aquila genus and this species is on average the seventh-heaviest living eagle species. The golden eagle is the second heaviest breeding eagle in North America, Europe and Africa and the fourth heaviest in Asia. For some time, the largest known mass authenticated for a wild female was the specimen from the A. c. chrysaetos subspecies which weighed around 6.7 kg (15 lb) and spanned 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in) across the wings.[10] American golden eagles are typically somewhat smaller than the large Eurasian species,

Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) by Lee at National Aviary

Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) Feet by Lee at National Aviary

Steller’s sea eagle is the largest bird in the genus Haliaeetus and is one of the largest raptors overall. Females vary in weight from 6,195 to 9,500 g (13.658 to 20.944 lb), while males being rather lighter with a weight range of 4,900 to 6,800 g (10.8 to 15.0 lb). The average weight is variable, possibly due to seasonal variation in food access or general condition of eagles, but has been reported as high as a mean mass of 7,757 g (17.101 lb) to a median estimate weight of 6,250 g (13.78 lb)… [Above from Wikipedia, with editing.]

Steller’s Sea-eagle at San Diego Zoo 2015 by Lee

*

Golden Eagles in Scotland – YouTube

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

Eagles Protecting Their Young – YouTube

“To the Chief Musician. Set to “Do Not Destroy.” a Michtam of David When He Fled from Saul into the Cave. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.” (Psalms 57:1-2 NKJV)

“He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. ” (Psalms 91:4 NKJV)

Shared from the Decorah Eagles YouTube Page

“DECORAH EAGLES & EAGLETS IOWA USA 🐣🐣🐣 After spending days enduring severe, horrendous weather conditions, protecting their three precious eaglets from the gale force winds, wet and freezing cold, Mom and Dad Eagle warm our hearts with this beautiful moment… a family moment of love, care, protection and devotion in the wild ♥ amazing nature!”

Trust you enjoy this as much as I did!

Birds of the Bible – Eagles