Here am I, Where are You?

Always Honking

Honk…honk…honk!” Before you ever see the birds’ characteristic black heads and white cheek patches, you identify Canada Geese coming as they honk across the sky in their typical V-shaped pattern. It seems Canada Geese are always vocal; on the ground, in the air, while feeding, when waking up, just before they sleep… they are always honking.

So that begs the question: what are they honking about? What are they saying? Biologists tell us they honk to keep family groups together; they honk to communicate rest or feeding areas; they honk to alert others of danger or predators; or, especially the younger birds, they just “go off with a jag of honking that seems to serve no other purpose than sheer exuberance – the expression of joy and excitement over the ability to fly with their friends and family.” 

Keeping it Together

Birds face many hazards during migration. Facing often severe weather and high winds, some may get blown off course or get caught in a storm. Inexperienced birds may chart a wrong course and fatally collide with tall buildings, windows, and other structures, or risk being shot by hunters. It is during the hardships of migration that honking becomes so important to Canada Geese. The blinding snow and rain, or thick fog, may make it impossible to see one another. So, as they toil through the sky, they honk to keep their flock together.

The geese are talking to one another. Each is saying to its companions, ‘Here am I… where are you? Here am I… where are you?’ Aloft in storm and cloud, the voices hold the flock together. They speak out loudly against wind and distance so that others of their kind, strayed or lost, may know the way. Under fair sky the calls continue for reassurance and to reassure. ‘Come along, do not tire. We are on the right course and will soon stop for rest.’ It is no fable, but a truth of nature; experienced elders lead the way.

Magnificent Voyagers, Waterfowl of North America

The experienced elder goose is leading the way with his honking, while the others follow honking encouragement to the others to keep to the course and not quit the flight. The grounded geese that left the flock because of weariness or injury can hear the incessant calling, “Here am I… where are you?” and rejoin their migrating families. It is the duty of those still in flight and on course to call out to their lost and weary relations to come back and return to the path.

Calling Out to Others

In life, many people around us may fly the wrong course or succumb to the hazards of life: failure and defeat, drugs and alcohol, apathy or crime. We have a duty to our fellow man to fly the right course and to lead them in a safe direction. We are to be leaders in our schools, on our jobs, in our families. We have a duty to not leave behind the weak and weary, and to help others to the safe places of rest and success that have been shown to us.

As Christians, we all have a duty to “honk” as the Canada Goose: “Here am I…where are you?” There are many – family members, friends, coworkers, schoolmates – that are lost and on the wrong course. They will never find the right course and follow Jesus if we, the ones that know the right path, don’t call out to them to follow. 

The New Living Translation of Romans 10:14 states, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” If we remain silent, they will never find the way. Our constant, clear call of “Here am I…where are you? Here Am I…where are You?” makes it ever known to them to where they can return when they tire of the life of sin. ​

Where are You?

Before you can lead others and call “Here am I…”, do you know where you are heading? Are you on the narrow path that leads to life? If not, follow the voice of the Savior who “calls you out of darkness into His wonderful life” (I Peter 2:9). And if you do know the course, never quit your duty of calling out to those who are lost or weary. Like the geese that seem to never quit honking, so should you never cease making the call: “Here am I…where are you?  Here am I…where are you?


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

A Pleasant Surprise – II

BJU Bird Collection 2018

In A Pleasant Surprise At The BJU Homecoming the Waterman Bird Collection, in the Science building, was introduced. This post will start introducing you to these wonderfully preserved specimens of birds that lived over a hundred years ago.

BJU Waterman Bird Collection 2018

At first, it bothered me about the use of birds in this manner, even though many museums have displays of birds. Yet, when you look back 100 plus years, they didn’t have the technology, nor the modern color cameras or slow motion videos to capture images of them. John Audubon did excellent drawing, with detailed colors. He also studied live birds and specimens.

“John James Audubon’s Birds of America is a portal into the natural world. Printed between 1827 and 1838, it contains 435 life-size watercolors of North American birds (Havell edition), all reproduced from hand-engraved plates, and is considered to be the archetype of wildlife illustration.” Birds of America

When the Lord first created the birds, there were no specimens until sin entered. How must those first birds have appeared? Photos, movies, and even specimens would have given us quite a sight. Today, we have fossils, but they do not show the beautiful feathers and features that those original avian wonders must have been adorned with.

“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:21-23 NKJV)

Common Eider, Bufflehead, and Canada Goose

The birds in the right hand side of the display above is where we will begin. On the top shelf is an Eider, a Bufflehead and a Goose. It is nice to see them together to get a size perspective.

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The Common Eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria mollissima) is a large (50–71 cm (20–28 in) in body length) sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on coastal waters. It can fly at speeds up to 113 km/h (70 mph) Part of the Anatidae Family. Common Eider – Wikipedia and All About Birds

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) BJU Bird Collection 2018

The Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is a small sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Anas albeola.

The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek boukephalos, “bullheaded”, from bous, “bull ” and kephale, “head“, a reference to the oddly bulbous head shape of the species. The species name albeola is from Latin albus, “white”. The English name is a combination of buffalo and head, again referring to the head shape. This is most noticeable when the male puffs out the feathers on the head, thus greatly increasing the apparent size of the head.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) BJU Bird Collection 2018

All of these three birds are in the Anatidae Family. The photo shows how much larger the Goose is than the Bufflehead.

The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe. It has been introduced to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands. Like most geese, the Canada goose is primarily herbivorous and normally migratory; it tends to be found on or close to fresh water. Canada Goose Wikipedia and All About Birds

I trust you will enjoy meeting the various birds through this series. The links provided give much more information, and photos of these species.

“The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.” (Psalms 111:2 NKJV)

 

Sunday Inspiration – Whistling, White-backed Ducks, and Geese

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) at Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) at Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

 “And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier-eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18)

I have always enjoyed trying to whistle and today we lead off our latest Family, the Anatidae, in the Answeriformes Order. The Anatidae family has ducks, geese, swans, and a few others that add up to 173 species. The Whistling Ducks do make a whistling sound, which I notice more when they are flying. We have the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks here locally. In fact, some hang out at the pond in our housing area.

Anat Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) by Lee at Palm Beach Zoo

Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) by Lee at Palm Beach Zoo

Audio of a Black-bellied Whistling Duck from xeno-canto.

The Anatidae are the biological family of birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on all the world’s continents. These birds are adapted for swimming, floating on the water surface, and in some cases diving in at least shallow water. (The magpie goose is no longer considered to be part of the Anatidae, but is placed in its own family

They are generally herbivorous, and are monogamous breeders. A number of species undertake annual migrations. A few species have been domesticated for agriculture, and many others are hunted for food and recreation. Five species have become extinct since 1600, and many more are threatened with extinction.

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) ©WikiC

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) ©WikiC

Whistling ducks are found in the tropics and subtropics. As their name implies, they have distinctive whistling calls. The whistling ducks have long legs and necks, and are very gregarious, flying to and from night-time roosts in large flocks. Both sexes have the same plumage, and all have a hunched appearance and black underwings in flight.

White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) ©WikiC

White-backed Duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) ©WikiC

The white-backed duck (Thalassornis leuconotus) is a waterbird of the family Anatidae. It is distinct from all other ducks, but most closely related to the whistling ducks in the subfamily Dendrocygninae, though also showing some similarities to the stiff-tailed ducks in the subfamily Oxyurinae. It is the only member of the genus Thalassornis.

These birds are well adapted for diving. On occasions they have been observed to stay under water for up to half a minute. They search especially for the bulbs of waterlilies. From danger, they also escape preferentially by diving; hence, the namesake white back is hardly visible in life. (Information from Wikipedia)

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) by Ian 2

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) by Ian

The black geese of the genus Branta are waterfowl belonging to the true geese and swans subfamily Anserinae. They occur in the northern coastal regions of the Palearctic and all over North America, migrating to more southernly coasts in winter, and as resident birds in the Hawaiian Islands. Alone in the Southern Hemisphere, a self-sustaining feral population derived from introduced Canada geese is also found in New Zealand.

The scientific name Branta is a Latinised form of Old Norse Brandgás, “burnt (black) goose). The black geese derive their vernacular name for the prominent areas of black coloration found in all species. They can be distinguished from all other true geese by their legs and feet, which are black or very dark grey. Furthermore, they have black bills and large areas of black on the head and neck, with white (ochre in one species) markings that can be used to tell apart most species.[note 1] As with most geese, their undertail and uppertail coverts are white. They are also on average smaller than other geese, though some very large taxa are known, which rival the swan goose and the black-necked swan in size.

Nene (Branta sandvicensis) ©WikiC

Nene (Branta sandvicensis) ©WikiC

The Nene (Branta sandvicensis), also known as nēnē and Hawaiian goose, is a species of goose endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The official bird of the state of Hawaiʻi, the nene is exclusively found in the wild on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, Molokai, and Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiian name nēnē comes from its soft call. The species name sandvicensis refers to the Sandwich Islands, an old name for the Hawaiian Islands. (Above information from Wikipedia)

The first two photos show how the different zoos call the same bird by different names. This is why the scientific name is very important. Also, Dan and I have been fortunate to have seen most of these birds either in the wild or in zoos. It is always a joy to watch the Lord’s Creations in person.

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I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: (Ecclesiastes 2:6)

In those pools of water, most likely you will find one of these.

“I’d Rather Have Jesus” ~ by Faith Baptist Orchestra*

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ANSERIFORMES Order

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans Family

Falling Plates

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Child’s Book of Water Birds ~ The Goose

The Goose

Child's Book of Water Birds - Book Cover

Child’s Book of Water Birds – Book Cover

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Childs Bk of Water Birds titlebird

NEW YORK

LEAVITT & ALLEN.

1855.

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Welcome to the Updated Child’s Book of Water Birds, by Anonymous. It was written in 1855 and this is 2013. That is 158 years ago.

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Childs Bk of Water Birds goose

THE GOOSE.

The Goose is a very common bird. In Lincolnshire, England, enormous flocks are bred, containing from two to ten thousand each. They are subjected to the plucking of their wing-feathers periodically, in order to supply the demand for quills.

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Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) w brood ©USFWS

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) w brood ©USFWS

Update:

Today we use ballpoint pens and the Geese do not need to have their feathers plucked for quill pens. There are many Geese here in America and around the world.  They belong to the Ducks, Geese & Swan Family. Many local parks have geese of various kinds. They are larger than Ducks, but smaller than Swans,

The female is called a “goose” and the male is the “gander.” Some of the kinds of geese are: Barnacle, Cackling, Canada, Emperor, Nene, Ross’s and the Snow Goose.

Many geese, like the Snow Goose, have their chicks in summer in the northern parts of America and then fly south in the winter. They gather in huge flocks.

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Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD. (Jer 8:7 ESV)

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See the other five Child’s Book of Water Birds:

The Swan

The Coot

The Dabchick

The Teal

The Oyster Catcher

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Ducks, Geese & Swan Family.

Bible Birds

Wordless Birds

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Child's Book of Water Birds - Levit and Allen
*** PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CHILD'S BOOK OF WATER BIRDS ***

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Launching pad…

Brant Goose (Branta bernicla) by Ian

Brant Goose (Branta bernicla) by Ian

Launching pad… ~ a j mithra

Brant Geese (Branta bernicla) by Ian

Brant Geese (Branta bernicla) by Ian

The small Arctic Goose
called Brant Goose,
would wait
for the storm system
to come,
so that,
it would catch
the storm’s tail wind
and
migrate during winter…
GOD doesn’t give
the storm to destroy you,
but,
to take you
to a better place…
Remember,
storm is surely
a launching pad…

The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. (Nahum 1:3)

Have a blessed day!

A thought from ~ a j mithra

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Cape Barren Goose

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Ian

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Cape Barren Goose ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter 08-14-10

Here’s one, the Cape Barren Goose, from the other end of Australia for a change, taken last year at the euphemistically named Western Treatment Plant at Werribee southwest of Melbourne.

It’s a large goose, to 100cm/40in in length with drooping wing feathers when standing, giving it a slightly 19th Century bustle. It has a large greenish-yellow cere and red legs with black feet. Its range includes Northern Tasmania, the islands of Bass Strait and the south coast of Australia from Victoria in the east to islands near Albany in Western Australia. It’s not particularly common with a population estimated at about 17,000 but the population is stable and it has been introduced to a number of places including Kangaroo Island in South Australia and New Zealand.

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Ian

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Ian

The birds are grazers and feed on grasslands and cultivated pastures. They are wary, and when they take flight they fly strongly, as in the second photo.

The Birds Australia Congress starts in Townsville this evening and the Campout starts next Monday. So, if you’re attending I’ll look forward to catching up with you. In the meantime, in haste, I haven’t updated Ian’s Picks on the website but will do so when I get a moment and will let you know.

Link: http://www.birdway.com.au/anatidae/cape_barren_goose/index.htm

Best wishes,
Ian


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Looks like Ian is off on another one of his adventures down there in Australia. The Cape Barren Goose is in the Anatidae Family along with Ducks, Teals, Shelducks, Mergansers, Geese, Swans and their allies and are part of the  Anseriformes Order.

And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:30-31)

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