There weren’t any owls on our must-see lists for Brazil and Chile because we weren’t particularly expecting to see any. However, we ended up seeing two species at opposite ends of the size scale: the largest Brazilian owl, Great Horned Owl, and one of the smallest, the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.
The Great Horned Owl – splendidly named the Grand-duc d’Amérique in French – is seriously big, with females, larger than males, being up to 60cm/24in in length, 1.5kg/53oz in weight, with a wing span of up to 1.5m/5ft. The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, by comparison tiny with the (smaller) males being as short as 15cm/6in, as light as 46g/1.6oz with an average wing span of 38cm/15in.
Great Horned Owls feed mainly on mammals but are versatile and will take birds from small passerines up to geese and Great Blue Herons. Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are also versatile, make up for their small size by being quite aggressive and taking anything from insects to birds much bigger than themselves.
Their versatile diets mean both species are very adaptable and have huge ranges in the Americas. The range of the Great Horned Owl extends from Alaska and northern Canada through Central and South America as far as northern Argentina, though it sizes restricts it to hunting in open areas and it avoids rainforests such as the Amazon Basin.
The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl ranges from southern Arizona through Central America and most of South America east of the Andes (including the Amazon Basin), also as far as northern Argentina. Both incidentally illustrate the taxonomic folly of using geographical areas in names, the specific name of one referring to the American state of Virginia, and the other to Brazil.
You probably know by now that I’m attracted to symbols, hence the owls. I couldn’t resist using avian symbols of wisdom as we celebrate the beginning of a new year and a new decade. The last decade seems to have been singularly lacking in wisdom in politics and leadership, and I hope for better in the twenties. At the same time we need to be optimistic and not lose our sense of fun, so I’m sharing the experience Trish and I enjoyed of watching Peruvian Pelicans on the coast of Chile – another lesson in names – apparently enjoying skimming over the waves in the late afternoon.
On the subject of wisdom, I read an article on the (Australian) ABC website today on whether the decade actually starts on the first of January 2020 or 2021. At the start of the millennium I was one of the pedants who felt it started in 2001, but I’ve shifted my ground. I like this quote from a comment on the article by Professor Hans Noel:
“Knowledge is knowing that there was no year 0 so technically the new decade begins Jan 1 2021, not 2020.
“Wisdom is knowing that we started this system in the middle, it’s socially constructed anyway, and it feels right to treat ‘1 to 10’ as a decade, so that’s what we do.”
The ABC Language researcher Tiger Webb had the final word:
“What’s often missing from this discussion is that all calendrical systems are abstractions of human arrogance in the face of an indifferent universe.”
So have a wisdom- and fun-filled 2020 and decade!
Well, now there is an interesting take on this new year.
I do know that according to the Bible, there was a year zero (0):
“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
(Exodus 20:11 KJV)
That was when TIME as we know it began.
“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-15 KJV)
Like Ian, Happy New Year.
Ian’s comment, “Current population estimates are about 6,500 individual wild birds of which perhaps 5,000 are in the Pantanal.” makes one want to hop on a plane and visit that area. Wow. Your “Bird List” would grow immensely.I am alway glad when Ian stops by to show some more of his birdwatching adventures. Those Hyacinth Macaws are so neat to see. We have only seen them in Zoos, but always thankful to see more of the Creator’s magnificent birds.
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31 KJV)“For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:” (James 3:7 KJV)
Dr. Jim sent this article to me today and I thought we would work it up. After checking online, there were quite a few news articles about Dindim the Magellanic Penguin and his rescuer. Here is the article:
It’s the story of a South American Magellanic penguin who swims 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.
Retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found the tiny penguin, covered in oil and close to death,
lying on rocks on his local beach in 2011. Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named him Dindim.
After a week, he tried to release the penguin back into the sea. But, the bird wouldn’t leave. ‘He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared,’ Joao recalls.
And, just a few months later, Dindim was back. He spotted the fisherman on the beach one day and followed him home.
Look who’s back
For the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of the year with Joao and is believed to spend the rest of the time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile. It’s thought he swims up to 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.
‘I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,’ Joao told Globo TV. ‘No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do. He lays on my lap, lets me give him showers, and allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up. It’s thought Dindim believes the fisherman is also a penguin ‘Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years. He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February and every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me.’
But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. (3 John 1:14 KJV)
Biologist Professor Krajewski, who interviewed the fisherman for Globo TV, told The Independent: ‘I have never seen anything like this before. I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well. ‘When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight. And, just like that, the world seems a kinder place again.
You might want to check out these articles as some of them have videos of these two.
Penguins belong to the SPHENISCIFORMES Order, the Penguins – Spheniscidae Family.
King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. (1 Kings 9:26)
Normally, it would not be unusual to find a stone with engraving on it in South America. But a stone found in 1872 in Brazil is unusual, since Aztec, Mayan and Incan civilizations never lived in that region. Besides, the engraving on the stone was in Phoenician. Its discoverer, who did not know Phoenician, sent it to authorities who gave it to the head of the national museum. He recognized the ancient language and translated it. It reads, “We are the Sons of Canaan from Sidon, the city of the King. Commerce has cast us on this distant shore, a land of mountains.”
Could 7th century B.C. Phoenicians have sailed as far as South America in search of commerce? In the ancient world, Phoenicians were known as the greatest commercial sailors of their day. But there is a modern bias against seeing ancient peoples as being as smart and resourceful as we are today, so the inscription has generally been considered a hoax. Then, in the 1960s, the original rubbing made of the inscription turned up at a scholarly auction in the United States. A modern expert on ancient languages studied the rubbing and concluded that the inscription must be authentic. It contains quirks of the Phoenician language that were unknown even to scholars in the 19th century.
While we today may know more facts, the ancients were no less intelligent and resourceful than we are today. That’s consistent with the Bible’s picture of man as God’s highest visible creation, rather than evolution’s gradually improving creature.
Prayer: I glorify Your Name, O Lord, for making us the way You have. Amen.
References: Archeology, “Before Columbus or the Vikings,” Science, May 1968.
©2009 Creation Moments
Because one of our men left for Brazil to become a missionary and we already have a missionary there, I was wondering if they might see different Birds of the Bible than we see up here in North America. So, this is the result of that search. The first thing I found out is that “Brazil has one of the richest bird diversities in the world, with more than 1700 species of birds, about 57% of the bird species recorded for all of South America. That fact was enough to make me realize I might be busy for awhile doing this. With the help of “Avibase – the world bird database” I was able to narrow the list down to Paraiba, a State, in Brazil, which is the area of both our missionaries.
Technically all birds are mentioned in the Bible because the Lord created them on the fifth day of creation. The list here is only of the “named” kinds in the Bible.
Birds of the Bible that are missing in Paraiba, Brazil are the Cranes, Hoopoe, Partridge, Peacock, Pelicans, Ravens, Swan, Pelicans. At least from what I can find out so far.