The Ghost Army – Repost

An inflatable dummy tank ©WikiC

An inflatable dummy tank ©WikiC

The Ghost Army:  Moaning Noises Can be Scary!

– by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. *

[Lee’s introductionThe current Acts & Facts from Institute for Creation Research has this very interesting article by Dr. James J. S. Johnson, who formerly taught courses on ornithology, ecology, limnology, and other bioscience-related courses at Dallas Christian College.]

Sometimes the best defense is an offense, even when the “offense” is really a bold bluff. This tactic is valued in wartime, and when God uses this principle He deserves our reverent adn admiring appreciation.

America’s top-secret World War II “Ghost Army” used cleverness and technology to fool German forces by masking military vulnerabilities. Yet the main fakery they used wasn’t mere camouflage—the daring deception involved threat-reversal mimicry….

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) ©USFWS

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) ©USFWS

Such is ordinary life for the mourning dove (Zenaida macroura), which feeds on the ground and nests there or within shrubs, on buildings, or in trees—the same places where opportunistic and omnivorous rats, like Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus, roam for food. Consequently, dove eggs and hatchlings are sometimes vulnerable to prowling predatory rats.3 … [Click here to see the whole article.]

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (Romans 11:33-34 KJV)

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Trumpeter Swans: Trumpeting a Wildlife Conservation Comeback

If a bird’s nest chance to be before you in the way, in any tree, or upon the ground, whether they be young ones [i.e., nestling infant birds], or eggs [i.e., not-yet-hatched baby birds], and the mother [’em is the usual Hebrew noun for “mother”] sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young.  But you shall surely send forth the mother, and take the young [literally “children”] for yourself; that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong days.  Deuteronomy 22:6-7

During mid-August (AD2015) my wife and I visited the Columbus Zoo (in Ohio), while vacationing, and I was surprised to see Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) there —  and I realized that the Trumpeter Swan illustrated the importance of Deuteronomy 22:6-7.

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) ©Columbus Zoo

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) ©Columbus Zoo

Seeing the snowy-white Trumpeter Swans, there, occurred during a telephone call, while we were viewing and identifying various animals, with our enthusiasm-exuding Ohio grandsons (who both call us Mimi and Farfar, the latter name being Norwegian for “father’s father”).  The unexpected telephone call came from a caller in crisis, seeking legal advice, on how to interpret and apply a mix of federal statutes.  It appeared that the call could not wait, till I returned to Texas – such is the lot and responsibility of a vacationing lawyer.

But a bird-watcher has his priorities!  So, as we rounded a bend in the walking trail, and I saw a couple of Trumpeter Swans, I interrupted the phone call with “hold on just a minute”, then I half-screamed to the grandsons: “Look, boys  –  Trumpeter Swans!  Look!  Trumpeter Swans!”

Seeing these massive swans, up close, helps you to appreciate how huge they are.  Trumpeter Swans are the heaviest of all birds that are “native” to North America – and one of the heaviest birds, alive today, that is capable of flight!  Unlike other swans, the Trumpeter Swan has a distinctively black bill, a stark contrast to the all-white hue of its adult plumage.

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) ©USFWS

The Trumpeter is a close cousin of Eurasia’s Whooper Swan [Cygnus cygnus], which I previously commented on, in an earlier blogpost about birdwatching in Iceland  (please check out  https://leesbird.com/2014/12/08/birdwatching-in-iceland-part-i/ .)  The Trumpeter Swans did not “trumpet” while we observed them; however, their name is due to their habit of loudly vocalizing with a musical sound like a trumpet, similar to the vocal sounds of their Cygninae cousins, the Whooper Swans and Bewick Swans.  Swans are shaped somewhat like geese, but swans grow larger and have longer (and proportionately thinner) necks.  The poise and posture of swans, accented by their flexible and long necks, appear more elegant than that of geese, some say, although surely mama geese would disagree.  Why are swan necks so lengthy and versatile?  Imagine being nick-named “Edith Swan-neck” — that is the name by which historians remember the wife and widow of England’s last Saxon king, Harold Godwinson, who lost the Battle of Hastings to William the Conqueror, in AD1066.  [ For more on that providentially historic battle, see http://www.norwegiansocietyoftexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/VikingHistory-GeoWash-ancestry-NST-AD2012.pdf  . ]  Geese have 17 to 23 neck vertebrae, yet swans have 24 or more!  Trumpeters also bob their heads a lot, apparently as a form of visual communication with one another.

Back to the very busy (and very tiring) adventure at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio.

As we all excitedly discussed the Trumpeter Swans, so close to us then, my mind recalled how these quietly graceful and magnificently dignified swans were once very close to the extinction cliff.   According to one study (by Banko, cited below), in AD1957, the United States then hosted only 488 Trumpeter Swans.  It got even worse!  In AD1932, fewer than 70 Trumpeter Swans were known to exist in all of America, with about half of them dwelling at or near Yellowstone National Park’s northwest section.  Would the Trumpeter Swan go extinct like the Passenger Pigeon and the Dodo bird?

What a loss it would have been, if our earthly home had seen a permanent demise of such noble anatids, especially since they once teemed when America was founded!

Trumpeter Swans were once hunted in huge numbers – thousands were killed for their skins and/or feathers.  Sir John Richardson (a Scottish scientist/surgeon who studied the Trumpeter extensively) once wrote that the Trumpeter Swan was “the most common Swan in the interior of the fur-counties.  …  It is to the trumpeter that the bulk of the Swan-skins imported by the Hudson’s Bay Company belong” [as quoted in Winston E. Banko, “The Trumpeter Swan:  Its History, Habits, and Population in the United States”, North American Fauna, 63:1-214 (April 1960), a data-source used for much of this article].  The Trumpeter Swan was well-known of its migratory habits, ranging from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, according to ornithologist James Audubon:

“The Trumpeter Swans make their appearance on the lower portions of the waters of the Ohio about the end of October. They throw themselves at once into the larger ponds or lakes at no great distance from the river, giving a marked preference to those which are closely surrounded by dense and tall canebrakes, and there remain until the water is closed by ice, when they are forced to proceed southward. During mild winters I have seen Swans of this species in the ponds about Henderson [Kentucky] until the beginning of March, but only a few individuals, which may have stayed there to recover from their wounds. When the cold became intense, most of those which visited the Ohio would remove to the Mississippi, and proceed down that stream as the severity of the weather increased, or return if it diminished. . . . I have traced the winter migrations of this species as far southward as the Texas, where it is abundant at times, . . . At New Orleans . . . the Trumpeters are frequently exposed for sale in the markets, being procured on the ponds of the interior, and on the great lakes leading to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. . . . The waters of the Arkansas and its tributaries are annually supplied with Trumpeter Swans, and the largest individual which I have examined was shot on a lake near the junction of that river with the Mississippi. It measured nearly ten feet in alar extent, and weighed above thirty-eight pounds.”   [Quotation taken from Banko, on page 15.]

During AD1862 George Barnston, a Scottish-born Hudson’s Bay Company official in Canada, noticed the Trumpeter Swan’s remarkable migration habit, as it is seen in America’s Northwest:

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) and Canadian Geese ©WikiC

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) and Canadian Geese ©WikiC

“In the winter months all the northern regions are deserted by the swans, and from November to April large flocks are to be seen on the expanses of the large rivers of the Oregon territory and California, between the Cascade Range and the Pacific where the climate is particularly mild, and their favourite food abounds in the lakes and placid waters. Collected sometimes in great numbers, their silvery strings embellish the landscape, and form a part of the life and majesty of the scene.”   [Quotation taken from Banko, on page 17.]

Records indicate that Trumpeter Swans were still present in “the states of Washington, Oregon, and California in the Pacific flyway ; Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Icansas, and Texas in the Central flyway ; Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Louisiana in the Mississippi flyway ; and Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina in the Atlantic flyway to demonstrate that the trumpeter still appeared as a migrant or winter resident in those states during the last half of the 19th century”, according to Banko (at page 20).  Banko further reported, in AD1960, that the marketable feathers of swans historically superceded the marketing of their skins (especially by the Hudson’s Bay Company), and soon the population numbers of North American swans were plummeting as swan feathers gained popularity as a glamorous ingredient in fancy hats for ladies, with less flamboyant quills being marketed as ink-pens.   Even the famous Audubon, in AD1828, observed that American Indians engaged in swan hunts, in order to gain the prized plumage of these wondrous waterfowl, many of which feathers would ultimately be exported for resale to ladies of fashion in Europe!  (Banko once served as Refuge Manager, Branch of Wildlife Refuges, for the U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish & Wildlife Service).

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) ©WikiC naturespicsonline

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) ©WikiC naturespicsonline

As transatlantic trade in fancy feathers burgeoned, the marketing of Trumpeter Swan plumage (as well as plumage of other large birds, such as flamingo, egret, heron, and many others), for fashionable female headgear, was driving the North American population of Trumpeter Swans toward regional extirpations and appeared aimed at a continental extinction, — unless regulatory brakes were somehow applied, with ameliorative conservation efforts to restore the population.

Many conservation efforts combined, to rescue the Trumpeter Swan’s perilous predicament,   four of which were:  (1) the Lacey Act of 1900, that banned trafficking in illegal wildlife; (2) the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, that implemented the migratory bird protection “convention” treaty, of AD1916, between America and Great Britain (f/b/o Canada); (3) President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 7023 (4-22-AD1935); and (4) the conservation-funding statute called the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration [Pittman-Robertson] Act of 1937.  For more on this last federal wildlife conservation-funding law, please review “Crayfish, Caribou, and Scientific Evidence in the Wild”, posted at http://www.icr.org/article/8775 ).

Saving America’s Trumpeter Swan from near-extinction is largely due – humanly speaking – to the establishment of the Red Rock Lakes Migratory Waterfowl Refuge (n/k/a “Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge”), part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem  —  located mostly within a 60-mile radius that includes portions of southwestern Montana, eastern Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Park, which itself includes a “Trumpeter Lake”.   The Trumpeters have enjoyed dwelling in the Red Rock Lakes neighborhood for generations —  for example, an aerial photograph during January AD1956 shows 80 of them on Culver Pond (east Culver Spring area, where warm spring waters, often found in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, keep the pond from freezing), on a day when the outside air was -20 degrees Fahrenheit!  (See page 59 of Banko’s report, cited above.) This federal wildlife refuge was established by FDR’s presidential executive order (#7023), in AD1935, largely in reaction to the nadir-number of Trumpeter Swan count of less than 70 during AD1932.

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) by Daves BirdingPix

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) by Daves BirdingPix

According to the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge’s official website (q.v., at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Red_Rock_Lakes/about.html), this refuge now includes 51,386 acres, plus conservation easements totaling 23,806 acres, all of which blends into a marvelous mix of snowmelt-watered mountains, montane forests, flowing freshwater, and marshy meadows:

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has often been called the most beautiful national wildlife refuge in the United States. The rugged Centennial Mountains, rising to more than 10,000 feet, provide a dramatic backdrop for this extremely remote Refuge in Southwest Montana’s Centennial Valley. Red Rock Lakes NWR encompasses primarily high mountain, wetland-riparian habitat–the largest in the Greater Yellowstone Area– and is located near the headwaters of the Missouri River. Several creeks flow into the refuge, creating the impressive Upper Red Rock Lake, River Marsh, and Lower Red Rock Lake. The snows of winter replenish the refuge’s lakes and wetlands that provide secluded habitat for many wetland birds, including the trumpeter swan, white-faced ibis, and black-crowned night herons. The Refuge also includes wet meadows, willow riparian, grasslands, and forest habitats. This [ecological] diversity provides habitat for other species such as sandhill cranes, long-billed curlews, peregrine falcons, eagles, hawks, moose, badgers, bears, wolves, pronghorns and native fish such as Arctic grayling and westslope cutthroat trout.”    [Quoting from http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Red_Rock_Lakes/about.html ]

Trumpeter Swans are also seen afloat in lakes of Wyoming’s neighboring park, Grand Teton National Park, a scenic mountain-dominated park accented by the Snake River and Jackson Lake, and historically enjoyed, annually (in the summer), by many bankruptcy barristers (and their families), as they simultaneously attended the Norton Bankruptcy Law Institutes at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The Trumpeter pairs are often seen as isolated pairs, each “owning” its own lake, yet these swans also congregate in gregarious flocks, especially in the Red Rock Lakes area.

[Canadians, especially in British Columbia and Alberta, have also been intensively involved in serious efforts to conserve Canada’s population of Trumpeter Swans, for more than 65 years – but this birding report mostly notices and focuses on the Trumpeter conservation efforts in the United States.]

Has FDR’s Executive Order 7023 been followed by conservation and restoration success, for the Trumpeter Swan?   The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website reports a happy “yes”:

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) by Kent Nickel

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) by Kent Nickel

In 1932, fewer than 70 trumpeters were known to exist worldwide, at a location near Yellowstone National Park.  This led to the establishment of Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in 1935.  Red Rock Lakes is located in Montana’s Centennial Valley and is part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.  Nearly half of the known trumpeter swans in 1932 were found in this area.  Warm springs provide year-round open waters where swans find food and cover even in the coldest weather.  Today, estimates show about 46,225 trumpeter swans reside in North America, including some 26,790 in the Pacific Coast population (Alaska, Yukon, and NW British Columbia) which winter on the Pacific Coast; 8,950 in Canada; about 9,809 in the Midwest; and about 487 in the tri-state area of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana (including the Red Rock Lakes refuge flock).”   [Quoting from http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Red_Rock_Lakes/about.html ]

Sounds like a winner to me  —   from less than 70 to more than 46,000!

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) cygnets ©USFWS

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) cygnets ©USFWS

However, if only the wildlife conservation principle of Deuteronomy 22:6-7 (i.e., you can take the eggs and nestlings, but not the adult mother birds) had been practiced in North America, during the past 2 or 3 centuries, the continent’s Trumpeter Swan population would never have gotten so close to extinction.  Moses not only mandated restrictions on excessively hunting avian wildlife (Deuteronomy 22:6-7), Moses also banned imprudent deforestation (Deuteronomy 20:19-20).   Of course, creation conservation laws are always balanced to value human life over nonhuman life forms (Matthew 6:26-30; Psalm 8; Jonah 4:8-11).  Yet the promulgated priority of stewardly usage of God’s creation – because all of creation is God’s property, ultimately, not ours! — traces all the way back to Creation Week, because even Adam was put into Eden “to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15), and Noah managed the greatest biodiversity protection project ever (Genesis chapters 6-9).

Humans have been eating domesticated birds, such as chicken and turkey, ever since Noah’s family disembarked the Ark (Genesis 9:3).  People who raise domesticated fowl (such as chickens) are careful to preserve enough breeders so that they don’t eat up all of their fowl.  [This illustrates the old adage about balancing give and take: if your input exceeds your output, your upkeep is your downfall!]  Accordingly, chicken farmers avoid eating all of their chickens  — it’s important to protect the reproductive success of your chickens if you want poultry eggs and/or chicken meat to eat, on a continuing basis!  But what about wild birds?  The private ownership principle that guides common sense, in raising chickens and other domesticated fowl, doesn’t work so well with wild birds (especially migratory birds), because they are not privately “owned” – so they are a “public” resource vulnerable to irresponsible “tragedy-of-the-commons” depletion.

And most swans are wild, so greedy over-hunting can endanger their population success.

Providentially, the eating of wild birds, such as wild swans, was restricted under Mosaic law, for good reason  —  wild bird populations can be extinguished if one generation of hunters gets too greedy.

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) on nest ©USFWS

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) on nest ©USFWS

If a bird’s nest chance to be before you in the way, in any tree, or upon the ground, whether they be young one [i.e., nestling infant birds], or eggs [i.e., not-yet-hatched baby birds], and the mother [’em is the usual Hebrew noun for “mother”] sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young.  But you shall surely send forth the mother, and take the young [literally “children”] for yourself; that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong days.  Deuteronomy 22:6-7

This is a simple law of predator-prey dynamics:  if the predator population (i.e., the “eaters”) consume too many of the prey population (i.e., the “eatees”), the result is bad for both populations, because the prey population experiences negative population growth, a trend that can lead to its reproductive failure (and extirpation) if the excessive predation continues unabated.

Each generation of humans, therefore, needs to exercise wise stewardship of Earth’s food resources, so that adequate food resources will be available of posterity (i.e., later generations).  When greed leads to over-hunting, the foreseeable consequence is bad for both the birds (whose population declines, generationally) and the humans (whose food resources decline, generationally).

Sad to say, mankind’s track record for respecting and heeding God’s Word, as it teaches us to be godly stewards of His creation (and to use it in ways that glorify Him, its rightful and only true Owner), all-too-often misses the mark (Romans 3:23).

What slow learners we all-too-often are!   [For Genesis-based ecology perspectives, for this fallen “groaning” world, see http://www.icr.org/article/misreading-earths-groanings-why-evolutionists/ and  http://www.icr.org/article/7486/ and  http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-science-practical-not-just/  and  http://www.icr.org/article/why-we-want-go-home/ .]

Meanwhile, may God have mercy on the people of America, by restoring to us a serious and reverent respect for the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), that He has given us in the Holy Bible, His holy Word.  Only then, as we heartily heed His Word, will we properly appreciate and rightly treat His creation, including the Trumpeter Swan.  And, only then, will we properly revere and appreciate Him as our Creator (and Redeemer).  And living life responsibly on His earth, with that kind of reverence, would be far better than the fanciest feather in anyone’s cap!

by James J. S. Johnson

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More articles by James J. S. Johnson

Orni-Theology

Good News

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Moving On – Vacation – Part 3

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee

We have many more Houston Zoo photos to share, but for now, let’s move on with our vacation. In Birdwatching Along the Way, the last statement was “Vacation Goal #1 – Met.” We had arrived at Houston and visited with my niece and went to the Houston Zoo.

On Thursday of that week, May 7th, we were suppose to drive up to Dallas. On Friday, we were to visit James J S Johnson, who writes on this blog, at the Institute for Creation Research. Also, I was looking forward to meeting Ernesto E. Carrasco, and seeing his Noah’s Ark Model. (Ernesto and I follow each other’s blog.). This was to be “Vacation Goal #2”.

During the month of May, Dallas had tremendously bad weather. They had tornadoes and flood warnings most of that month. The weather was turning bad even in Houston, so, with a call to Dr. Jim, we all agreed that it would be best to not come up to Dallas, at least at this time. Vacation Goal #2 – NOT Met!

West Texas from phone camera 5-7-15

West Texas from phone camera 5-7-15

The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. (Psalms 72:3 KJV)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14 KJV)

Dan and I decided to continue on west, taking the lower Interstate 10 route through west Texas and maybe try to get to Dallas on our return trip. We never did make it to Dallas. We were challenged coming back through lower Texas on our return trip because of the storms and flooding. Whoops! I’m getting ahead of myself. More about that later.

Let me tell you, Texas is one long state! I-10 across Texas, according to Wikipedia is – Length‎: ‎878.6 mi (1,414.0 km). You do not scoot across it in one day!

West Texas Speed Limit sign from phone camera 5-7-15

West Texas Speed Limit sign from phone camera 5-7-15

We were surprised to see this speed limit sign at 80 MPH. Never seen one that high. 70 or 75 maybe, but 80, not seen before. Forgot to put the camera up front, but grabbed the phone.

We ran 70, but, considering that there are miles and miles of open area, it is understandable why Texas has it this high out here. We got as far as Sonora, Texas and then on Friday we had some interesting things to investigate.

Roadrunner in Ft Stockton TX  by Lee

Roadrunner in Ft Stockton TX by Lee

I’ve already written about My Western Greater Roadrunners that we saw in Fort Stockton. That was on Friday, May 8th. At Fort Stockton, there is actually an old fort that was originally called Camp Stockton, now Fort Stockton.

Welcome to Historic Fort Stockton

Welcome to Historic Fort Stockton

“Military presence began here with the establishment of Camp Stockton in 1858 by troops of the 1st and 8th Infantry, US Army. It was named for Commodore Robert Field Stockton, a naval officer who distinguished himself during the Mexican War. This first site was southwest of the present location, near the present Courthouse.

The post protected travelers and settlers on the numerous roads and trails that made use of the abundant water supply of Comanche Springs. It was here that these trails crossed the Comanche War Trail.”

Below are some photos from Sonora and Fort Stockton. More tales to come before we leave Texas headed West. Next “Vacation Goal” – San Diego, California. On the way!

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Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton, Texas – Wikipedia

Birdwatching Along the Way

My Western Greater Roadrunners

Ernie’s Musings

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Birds of the Bible – Not Seeing Or Hearing

While reading in Isaiah lately, I came across this verse:

“Seeing many things, but you do not observe; Opening the ears, but he does not hear.” (Isaiah 42:20 NKJV)

When Dan and I visit aviaries, we spend quite a bit of time in them. Yes, we are birdwatchers and do photography, but it still amazes me the ones who come in, look around as they walk through, and then leave. They may be in there five minutes. We are there for 30, 45, 60 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the aviary.

Me and my big mouth causes me to speak up and point out birds they just walked by and never saw. Most times it is appreciated, but there are times when the kids (especially) only want to see the “big” animals. Well, a 6 foot Sarus Crane is “big.”

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Also, some people don’t even hear the birds chirping and singing. Sometimes we all get so wrapped up in what we are thinking or doing, we forget to look, see, and hear what the Lord has created for us to enjoy. I am so glad for creationist scientist and organizations which study birds and animals. They see so many marvelous things in the way the Lord made the animals and birds, Even fish, other critters and especially the human body.

Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) by Nikhil Devasar

Pacific Golden Plover by Nikhil Devasar Flies to Hawaii from Alaska without the help of its parents.

Back to the verse, Isaiah 42:20. I like this from John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:

Isaiah 42:20
Seeing many things, but thou observest not,…. The Scribes and Pharisees, saw Christ in the flesh; they saw the miracles he did; they saw the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead raised; yet they did not give note to these things, and keep them in their minds, and regard them as clear proofs of his being the Messiah:

opening the ears, but he heareth not; they heard John Baptist preach, the forerunner of Christ, and the testimony he bore of him; they heard Christ himself and his apostles; they sometimes opened their ears, and seemed to listen and hear with attention, and wonder at what they heard; and some would own, that never man spake like Jesus; and yet understood not his speech, and hardened their hearts against him; they saw many things with their bodily eyes, but perceived them not with the eyes of their understandings; they heard with their ears, but understood not in their hearts; for their eyes were shut and their ears heavy, Isa_6:9.

May we, that know the Lord as our Savior, keep our eyes and ears open to God’s Word. May we see His creation and realize, what was spoken in Isaiah 46:9-10:

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10 KJV)

God created it all and He has prophesied things that would transpire, which many have already come true, like the prophesies of the Lord Jesus Christ coming and dying as our Savior. Plus many, many more fulfilled prophecies.

Are we seeing and hearing?

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Birds of the Bible

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Sarus Crane

Pacific Golden

Incredible Pacific Golden Plover

Gospel Message

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Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers? ~ From Acts & Facts

Dinosaur with Feathers ©WikiC

Dinosaur with Feathers ©WikiC

This month’s Acts & Facts from the Institute For Creation Research has an interesting article, Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers?. It is written by Frank Sherwin, M.A.

Someone was brave enough to hand out a “button reading “Dinosaurs are not birds”” at a Florida Symposium on Dinosaur Bird Evolution. Needless to say that opinion was in the minority there. Like the writer, I and the emphasis of this blog is that Birds were Created by the Lord. So were Dinosaurs. The problem is that the Bible says they were both created in the same six day period. (24 hour days)

Anyway his article is very good and you would enjoy reading it. The quote below is very good.

“God engineered exquisite flight feathers for lightweight aerodynamic efficiency. Using a microscope, one can see an amazing display of interlocking hooks and barbules—features absent from all dinosaur fossils so far described. When the bird preens with its bill, the zippering effect flattens feathers and snaps them into shape again. In order to preen, the feather-possessing creature must have a bill. Some dinosaurs had beaks, but none had bills. Furthermore, true bird fossils appeared before dinosaurs in the fossil record—a fact that those who promote the strange dinosaur-to-bird theory gloss right over!”

To read the whole article:

Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers?  

Click Here

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Acts & Facts

Also in this issue:

The Limits of Variability

There is also an article  by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D.

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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. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:21-31 NKJV)

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Sneaky Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) Reinier Munguia

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) Reinier Munguia

Sneaky Roadrunner ~ by Dr. James J. S. Johnson

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 KJV)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

Roadrunners are unusual birds.   When you think of birds, usually you think of birds that fly.  But not roadrunners – mostly they run (up to 20 miles per hour!), or walk very quickly (“race-walking”).  But roadrunners sometimes fly short distances, if they want to escape someone.  Once I saw one fly from my home’s front yard to the roof of our house.  But a roadrunner’s usual exit strategy is to run.  But not always. Sometimes they try to be sneaky. Before recalling a memorable example of roadrunner sneakiness, however, a few fact about roadrunners should be reviewed.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) by Daves BirdingPix

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) by Daves BirdingPix

Roadrunners have longer legs, in proportion to their bodies, than do most birds.  Obviously God designed these roadrunners to get around on foot!  Taxonomists (i.e., those who categorize creatures into groups of common traits, by “lumping” on similarities and “splitting” on dissimilarities) classify the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus – meaning “Californian earth-cuckoo”) as a member of the cuckoo family, birds that look like half-starved chickens with long tails.  Roadrunners thrive in desert habitats, yet these black-and-white fowl are also found living in shrub-dominated lands known for hot, dry climates, such as the western half of Texas (as well as most of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and California).  See Roger Tory Peterson, WESTERN BIRDS (Houghton Mifflin, 3rd ed., 1990), range map 192.  Roadrunners can also be seen, though less frequently, in contiguous states, such as Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Missouri, and Arkansas.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Alan Murphy Flickr

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Alan Murphy Flickr

Roadrunners are not picky eaters.  Roadrunners are happy to eat bugs (insects and spiders), seeds, fruits, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, and even small birds (and their eggs), small mammals (usually rodents like mice, rats, and voles), and small reptiles (such as lizards).  One of the more unusual insects, that roadrunners are known to eat, is the tarantula hawk wasp – an amazing spider-killing wasp that the U.S. Army named one of its “unmanned aircraft” reconnaissance units after.  [See my article at www.icr.org/article/slow-death-for-tarantula-lesson-arachnid/ — “Slow Death for a Tarantula”.]

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Flickr

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Flickr

So how can a roadrunner be “sneaky”?  A few months ago I walked out of my house’s front door, and saw a roadrunner in my path.  Startled by my approach, the roadrunner skittishly scuttled around my van, which was parked in the driveway in front of my house.  So now I was standing on the north side of my van, and the roadrunner was standing on the south side of my van.

How do I know that, since I don’t have “x-ray eyes” that can see through a parked van?   As I slowly and silently crept, counter-clockwise around the west side of my van, I could see the roadrunner, standing on the south side of my blue van: he (or was it a she?) was bent over with his head turned to the southeast, with his slender bill and face aimed directly away from me.  By bending down his head, and aiming it away from where I was standing, the roadrunner must have thought that he was hiding from me, and that I could not see him – because he could not see me!  If I had impolitely startled him, then, surely it would have hurt his feelings, or his pride, because he obviously thought he really had me fooled.  So I stood silently, unmoving, for quite a while, to see if he would notice me – only about 3 feet form him – with nothing but air between us!  The roadrunner never moved, and he never turned his head to see me, so perhaps he thought I still could not see him.  Not having the heart to correct him, I slowly and silently backed up to the north side of the van, then retreated back through my front door, into my house.  To this day the roadrunner probably thinks that his bent-over, head-turned “hiding” had fooled me.

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©thedrinkingbird Bing

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©thedrinkingbird Bing

Then I got to thinking about how often we humans act as though we could hide ourselves from God.  When our first parents first sinned (Genesis 3:8-10) they tried to hide from God, among the trees in the Garden of Eden.  (If there had been a blue van there they might have tried to hide behind it.)  Of course, the very thought of hiding from God is silly because He is omnipresent and omniscient (Psalm 139).  But, because the Lord Jesus Christ provides us with a free redemption (John 3:16), there is no good reason to be afraid of God (Hebrews 10:19), because “perfect love casts out fear” (1st John 4:18).

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Nathan Davis Bing

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) ©©Nathan Davis Bing

Roadrunners are fun to watch – I love watching them scoot around on their fast, race-walking legs! If roadrunners only knew how kindly I regard them they would not fear me – they don’t need to sneak around to escape me.  And, because of Jesus, there is no good reason for us to try to hide from God.

(Dr. James J. S. Johnson, now apologetics professor at ICR,  previously taught ornithology at Dallas Christina College. Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner, his second-grade teacher, introduced him to creationist ornithology.)

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Great Blue Heron: Patient, Prompt, and (Rarely) Pugnacious

Great Blue Heron by Dan

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron: Patient, Prompt, and (Rarely) Pugnacious

by Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

The heron family (family Ardeidae, which also includes bitterns and some egrets) and their cousins include some of my favorite long-legged wading birds:  great blue herons, green herons, grey herons, tri-colored herons, night herons, great white egrets, and cattle egrets.

 

Reddish-Snowys-Greats Egrets -Great Blue Heron all MacDill by Lee

Reddish-Snowys-Greats Egrets -Great Blue Heron by Lee

Their often smaller cousins (of the family Egretta) include the reddish egret, little blue heron, and the snowy egret.  Of these many regard the great blue heron (Ardea herodias) as a favorite:

“For most of us, sightings of great blue herons are confined to a glimpse of the bird as it flies slowly and steadily overhead, wings arching gracefully down with each beat, neck bent back, and feet trailing behind.  At other times we see it on its feeding grounds, standing motionless and staring intently into shallow water, or wading with measured steps as it searches for prey.” [Quoting from “Great Blue Heron”, by Donald & Lillian Stokes, in Bird Behavior, Volume III (Little, Brown & Co., 1989), page 25.]

Great Blue Heron by Dave's Pix

Great Blue Heron by Dave’s Pix

The Holy Bible mentions “herons” twice, in Leviticus 11:19 and in Deuteronomy 14:18 (both times translating the Hebrew noun ’anaphah), in Mosaic lists of ritually “unclean” birds.   The bird’s Hebrew name is based on a verb (’anaph) meaning “to snort” or “to be angry”.  Herons can be aggressive, and their almost-violent habit of “zapping” their prey could appear to resemble an aggressor angrily striking at unsuspecting victim. The more likely behavior that matches the Hebrew name, however, is the aggressive defense of a heron’s feeding grounds:

“Defense of feeding territories is commonly seen and involves aerial chases, Frahnk-calls, and aggressive [body language] displays, such as Upright, Bill-down-upright, Bent-neck.  Fighting rarely occurs, but when it does it can be violent, with one bird landing on the back of the other and either bird stabbing the other with its bill.” [Quoting from “Great Blue Heron”, by Donald & Lillian Stokes, above, page 30.]

Yet do not imagine that the great blue heron is an erratic hothead that has no self-control, because its self-restraint, when seeking a meal at the shoreline of a pond, is so self-contained that the heron resembles a statue, for many minutes if necessary. Then, zap!  The statue suddenly fast-forwards his sharp beak toward a hapless fish or frog,   —  and instantly the heron is gulping down his dinner!

Great Blue Heron with fish ©© winnu on Flickr

This ability to strike like lightning, yet the choice to withhold doing so (unless the time for doing so is obvious), reminds us of the New Testament directive:  “be ye angry, and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26).

Also, in spiritual matters (Ephesians 6:12), we are exhorted to “contend earnestly” for the Biblical faith (Jude 1:3), in ways that do not involve flesh-and-blood fighting.  Such spiritual conflicts require both the patience and promptness of a sniper (or an opportunistic great blue heron)!   Yes, there may even come a time for the use of physical force, when the stakes are high enough –  remember how the Lord Jesus cleansed the Temple with a whip!  —  but most of the time our anger should be suppressed, with heron-like patience, in order to achieve the most worthy goals in life.

><> JJSJ

See:

Orni-Theology
Ardeidae- Herons, Bitterns
Birds of the Bible –  Herons
Dr. James J. S. Johnson – Guest Writer

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Orni-theology ~ The Master Carpenter

Master Carpenter 1

Whether you’re a bird person or not, this is stunning!!!

Not to detract from the sheer magic of it, but in practical terms.

How MANY trips would a bird have to make with that tiny little quantity of mud/clay it could carry? (and how far from the nest is the source?) Look at the pictures keeping this in mind.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you take the construction of a circular bowl in your stride as instinctive, how does the bird come up with the windbreak/entrance design that shields the eggs/chicks from the elements, and at what point in fashioning the bowl do they start to construct it?

Master Carpenter 14
Even if you think you could build this…try it without using your hands!

Master Carpenter 15

And now…stop to consider this:

Where did the knowledge to do this come from?

TRULY THERE HAS TO BE A “MASTER CARPENTER”.

Orni-Theology with Luzan Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

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This was received in an email again today from friends at I.C.R. It has been sent to me many times, but this makes a good article to start a new section of this blog. “Orni-theology”

In John Stott’s The Birds Our Teachers, Stott says, “So over the years I have been trying to develop a new branch of science, which a friend and I have jocularly called “orni-theology’, or the theology of birds. It is founded on an important biblical principle namely that in the beginning God made man, male and female, in his own image and gave us dominion of the earth and its creation.” (pg 10)

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:24-28 NKJV)

As far as I know, the term “Orni-Theology” is not copyrighted. We have been doing “Orni-Theology” blogs from the beginning, but this is the perfect name for those articles. The Birds of the Bible articles are about specific birds named in Scripture, where as Orni-Theology articles have a principle of a bird’s behavior applied in relation to Scripture.

A J Mithra’s articles have been great examples of “Orni-Theology. He introduced us to a bird and it’s behavior and challenged us with God’s Word to behave that way.

Give a few days as a new page is developed and added to the tabs at the top.

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ALASKA’S BALD EAGLE by James J. S. Johnson

ALASKA’S  BALD  EAGLE

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Associate Professor of Apologetics, ICR ( jjohnson@icr.org )

The ecological world of Southeastern Alaska hosts a diversity of animals  —   creatures of the air (like the Bald Eagle),  creatures of the land  (like the Alaskan Moose), as well as creatures of its freshwater rivers and streams (like Pacific Salmon), lakes and ponds (like Rainbow Trout).  This article will look at one of those creatures, the Bald Eagle.

The national bird of the United States of America, since 1782, is the bald eagle.  The backside of many quarter-dollar coins (the silver coins which most Americans call “quarters”) show an American bald eagle with outstretched wings.  Mexico’s most famous eagle is the golden eagle, which is a kind of “cousin” to the bald eagle.   The bald eagle’s scientific name is “Haliaeetus  leuocephalus”,  meaning  “white-headed  sea-eagle” (which is a very accurate name).  The adult bald eagles have their heads (including their neck area) covered in white feathers, and also their tail feathers are white; the rest of the adult bald eagle’s feathers are black or blackish-grey.  Their sharp curl-ended beaks and their talons (feet) are yellow.   A bald eagle is fully grown in about four or five years after its hatching.

Bald Eagles 1 for Alaska' Bald EagleHow big is the adult bald eagle?  The bald eagles is a very large bird; it often weighs about ten pounds, though it may weigh as much as thirteen pounds.  The bald eagle, when fully grown, is almost three feet long and its wingspan can be as wide as six or seven feet when fully spread out!  The tough-looking eagles have a voice that seems almost silly when compared with their rough toughness – their voices make sounds like thin squealing or squeaky cackling.

Where do bald eagles live?  Eagles sometimes migrate, flying south to avoid super-cold weather in Canada’s inland forests.  However, many bald eagles, especially those which live near coastal waters, do not migrate at all.  Bald eagles like to live on land near waters where fish (their favorite food) live, such on seacoasts, by rivers, by large lakes, or in marshy areas where flowing stream-waters provide homes for fish.  Bald eagles usually live in shoreline areas where cold water flows nearby, such as where snow-melt-watered mountain creeks empty into a estuarial bay ( a place where flowing freshwater mixes with tide-washing ocean water).

The highest concentration (most crowded gathering) of bald eagles in the world is in southeast Alaska, where the Chilkat River empties into the tidewaters near the town of Haines, a picture-postcard coastal town originally founded as a Presbyterian mission.   At the Chilkat River’s emptying point more than 3,000 bald eagles congregate annually, during autumn, for an all-you-can-eat salmon feast.  What do bald eagles like to eat?  Bald eagles are hawk-like “birds of prey”, meaning that they like to eat meat from smaller animals (like fish) that they hunt and kill for food.  Bald eagles especially like to eat salmon when then return to coastal streams and rivers during spawning seasons!  (After salmon reproduce fertilized eggs for the next generation of salmon, the parents salmon are fatally exhausted (so tired out that they are dying) and they move about in shallow water where it is easy for bald eagles to see them and to grab them for food).  If an eagle has an adequate food supply, which the eagles of Alaska usually do, they can live for twenty or thirty years, or may even live for forty years!

Bald Eagles 2 for Alaska' Bald EagleBald eagles have super-human eyesight (eyes able to see distances much farther than humans can see).  Their eyes are so sharp that the eagles can chase fish swimming near the surface of water, then zoom down near the water surface to grab the unsuspecting fish with their extra-strong talons (clawed-feet-like legs that can clutch things as if they were hands), then fly away with the fish to eat it (or to share it with its family).  An adult eagle’s beak is about two inches long and about one inch deep at its hook-like curled tip.  The sharp curled tip of the beak can rip into a fish easily, for eating convenience.  Sometimes bald eagles, while flying, will attack another fish-catching bird, the osprey (also called “fish hawk”), in order to get caught fish that the osprey is carrying.  Sometimes an osprey will intentionally drop its fish so that the eagle will fly down to catch the dropping fish; this allows the osprey to escape the attacking eagle – it’s better for the osprey to lose a fish than to lose its life!  Bald eagles eat other small animals, including other fish, ducks, seagulls, and other birds.

Where can eagles be easily seen?  In the coastal forestlands of southeastern Alaska (especially Juneau, Alaska’s capital city), many of the trees that cover sloping hillsides near the shoreline of rivers or bays of water are often filled with perching bald eagles.  The bald eagle prefers to make its nest in a tall tree, where sticks are gathered and arranged to provide the bald eagle family with a huge house of sticks and other materials.   Bald Eagles 3 for Alaska' Bald Eagle(Another kind of eagle, the golden eagle, prefers to make its home in rocky places on top of cliffs, and sometimes bald eagles do the same.  Baby golden eagles and baby bald eagles lookalike, but if the eaglet grows up to have a white head and a white tail it is a bald eagle.)  From the roadside, if you look up at the trees that are near Juneau’s shoreline, you will see many bald eagles perched in the high branches of those dark evergreen trees.  The eagles are easy to see, because their bald heads contrast in color against the dark green trees, so the trees look like Christmas trees decorated in popcorn balls, except that the white spots that look like popcorn are really the heads of the bald eagles!

What kind of family life do eagles have?   Usually an eagle family has a father eagle and a mother eagle (who both act like they are “married” to each other), and a small number of hatched eagle children (one, two, or three) until the smaller eagles grow up large enough to fly away and start their own families (with mates for themselves).   Unlike many animals, the mother eagles are usually larger in size than the father eagles.  Bald eagle mates usually try to have one or more new eagle babies each spring.       After the eggs are laid the parent eagles take turns incubating them, to keep them warm enough to grow until it is time for hatching out of their eggs.  Whenever parent eagles walk around near the eggs they walk very cautiously.  Of course, if they did not, many eagle eggs would be accidentally broken by careless contact with a sharp eagle talon!

When eagles are grown up, at about four years of age, they find a mate to start a family with; so, a fully grown male eagle and a fully grown female eagle become an eagle pair, kind of like getting Bald Eagles 4 for Alaska' Bald Eaglemarried to each other.  The eagle couple will stay together as long as they both live (unless one is captured and prevented from returning to its mate).  Not all birds stay with their mates for life, but the bald eagle does.  The eagle couple will soon become parents, with the female eagle becoming a mother by laying large white fertile eggs that will one day hatch into baby eagles – called eaglets.  The baby eagles are very hungry but they cannot fly to get their own food, just as many other kinds of babies need their parents to care for them, and protect them, and feed them.

The parent eagles are very protective of their baby eaglets; they will attack any other bird that flies too close to the eagle nest, so ravens, gulls, and hawks better stay away and respect the eagle family’s privacy!   The baby eagles do not have “bald”-looking heads, because their heads do not have white feathers.  Baby eagles are blotchy brown-grey colored and begin their hatchling life with light grey-colored fuzzy feathers called “down”.  Young eagles are called nestlings during the time that they live in their parents’ nest.  It takes a while for the little eaglets to grow enough strength in their little wings so they can be ready to fly  like their parents.

Bald Eagles 5 for Alaska' Bald EagleWhen a young eagle finally learns to fly it is called a fledgling.  Eagles are such heavy birds that they don’t Bald Eagles 6 for Alaska' Bald Eaglebuild their houses, called “nests”, near the ground.  Eagles build their nests high up in trees or on top of rocky mountains or cliffs, so that they can jump out into the air and glide on rising warm air currents.               Some air currents are made of warm rising air, so an eagle can jump into such warm air and “ride” it up like an elevator, then the eagle can glide from one air current to another , until it wants to fly down.  These rising air currents are called “thermals”.  The eagle that soars on a thermal is mostly at rest, because he is trusting the thermal to carry him along for a “ride” in the air.  The eagle soaring on such a thermal air current is a reminder of how we should trust and depend upon God to carry us through life’s adventures, as we travel from one day to the next.  By “riding” on upwardly spiraling thermal air currents eagles can save their energy, because too much wing-flapping can waste an eagle’s energy and cause it to get too tired to fly.  Like eagles, we can waste a lot of energy if we fail to depend on God, because worrying and distrusting God wastes a lot of mental energy and emotions!  (See Isaiah 40:31.)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:31 KJV)

By conserving (carefully using, not wasting) his energy, the bald eagle can flap his wings only when he needs to, and he can rise to very high places in the air, which also means that the eagles can reach high places on top of mountains or cliffs that other animals cannot reach.  So an eagles’ nest (called an “eyrie”) can be far away from egg-eating animals that might bother parent eagles and try to eat their eggs before they have a chance to hatch into baby eaglets (the baby eaglets are called “hatchlings” when they first hatch).  Bald eagles, like other kinds of eagles, often live in rocky places in high places, so it is not surprising that people (including Biblical authors) compare highness with flying and nesting behaviors of eagles.

Bald Eagles 7One 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 39:27) 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).

The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. (Oba 1:3-4 KJV)

Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? (Job 39:27 KJV)

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).

During winter bald eagles like to live near seacoasts or near large fast-moving rivers where fish are abundant.  Often, bald eagles must migrate south to avoid wintering in places where the food supply is too sparse or the weather is too harsh.  During spring, when the new baby eagles are hatched from eggs, bald eagles usually prefer to live in northern lands, such as Alaska and Canada, but some start their springtime families as far south as California on the West Coast and as far south as Virginia on the East Coast.  Since a thermal spring keeps the Chilkat River warm enough to prevent it from freezing in late summer and early autumn, many salmon continue to congregate in that unfrozen river during the autumn – this is like an “all-you-can-eat” salmon dinner for Alaskan bald eagles!

One place other than Alaska where bald eagles are easily seen in the later summer is along certain parts of the Snake River near Jackson Hole, Wyoming (part of the Grand Tetons National Park), in nests built in the tops of old dead trees along the river’s forested shoreline.  Of course, bald eagles are usually so high up in a tree (or soaring up in the air) that you really need to use binoculars (holding them with steady hands) to see the bald eagle’s colors, wings, talons, stern-looking face, curled beak, and clawed  talons.     Maybe learning about the salmon feasts of the Alaska bald eagles has made you hungry for some Alaska salmon!  If so, you might visit my favorite salmon bake feasting-place, “Gold Creek Salmon Bake” a few miles outside of Juneau, Alaska, an Alaskan rainforest all-you-can-eat place near an old abandoned gold mine.  But, if that’s not convenient for you at the moment, you might try buying some fresh salmon filets from your local grocery store, – and your family can enjoy a healthy protein-rich meal – a feast fit for the Bald Eagle, America’s national bird!

[The above text on Alaska’s Eagle is adapted from James J. S.  Johnson’s “The Bald Eagle”; © AD2001-AD2013 James J. S. Johnson, here reprinted/used by permission.]

Bald Eagle Brings Nesting Material by Aesthetic Photos

Bald Eagle Brings Nesting Material by Aesthetic Photos

Lee’s Addition:

What an interesting, informative and challenging article about the Bald Eagles. Thank you, Dr. Johnson, for giving permission to post it here.

I am looking forward to some more articles that he will be sharing with us here.

See also:

Institute For Christian Research

Dr. James J. S. Johnson – Guest Author

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks and Eagles

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Plus – “Evolutionary ‘Game Changer’ Doesn’t Change” by Brian Thomas, M.S.

Evolution stuff - Australopithecus sediba-Mrs_Ples

Australopithecus sediba-Mrs_Ples ©WikiC

“Evolutionary ‘Game Changer’ Doesn’t Change” by Brian Thomas, M.S. is an interesting article that is in this month’s Acts and Facts.

It is typical of how hard the evolutionist want to believe in their theory of evolution. Now it is a “creature, called Australopithecus sediba, “could be a key link in the process of evolution that led to modern human beings.”1 One headline read, “Rethinking Human Origins: Fossils Reveal a New Ancestor on the Family Tree.”2 But none of these claims is true, and it’s relatively easy to understand why.”

To read the article – Click Here

Acts and Facts

Institute for Creation Research

They also have a daily devotional called – Days of Praise, which I use along with my Bible reading.

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: (1 Timothy 6:20 KJV)

See Other Plus items

New Finch Species Shows Conservation

Medium Ground Finch (Geospiza fortis) ©Wiki

Medium Ground Finch (Geospiza fortis) ©Wiki

New Finch Species Shows Conservation, Not Macroevolution
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

“Darwin’s finches” are a variety of small black birds that were observed and collected by British naturalist Charles Darwin during his famous voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle in the early 1800s. Years later, Darwin argued that subtle variations in their beak sizes supported his concept that all organisms share a common ancestor (a theory known as macroevolution). The finches, whose technical name is Geospiza, have since become classic evolutionary icons.
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In the fourth generation, “after a severe drought, the lineage was reduced to a single brother and sister, who bred with each other.”1 Their descendants have carried on the family traits. The Grants reported in a study on the birds published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that “our observations provide new insight into speciation and hence, into the origin of a new species.”2 But the details show that this new “species” is just a variation within the finch kind, and is therefore irrelevant to big-picture evolution.

 

Large Cactus Finch (Geospiza conirostris) ©WikiC

Large Cactus Finch (Geospiza conirostris) ©WikiC

Genus Geospiza contains six species, and these are usually distinguished by the songs that the males sing primarily to attract breeding partners. However, if a father bird dies while his chicks are young, and all they hear is the neighboring song of a different species, for example, young birds can learn the wrong songs. When these mature, they sing the song of, and breed with, the foster father’s species. Other scenarios result in crossbreeding between Geospiza species. ……”

To read the whole the article – CLICK HERE

From Institute for Creation Research

Do Migratory Birds Practice Preventative Medicine?

 

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) by Daves BirdingPix

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) by Daves BirdingPix

Do Migratory Birds Practice Preventative Medicine?
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

“Before a long migration, certain birds shift from an insect diet to eating fruits such as berries. Researchers once thought that this added carbohydrate reserves as fuel for the journey. But a new study out of the University of Rhode Island suggests that the birds are interested in the fruits’ antioxidants, not their sugars.

Antioxidants are chemicals that are packed within richly colored fruit skins and are known to stabilize cellular processes. Based on research presented at the March 24th American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco, it appears that the birds fill up on berry antioxidants for the medicinal benefits they provide to tissues that will undergo stress during the upcoming flight.

But this implies that birds use preventative medicine by instinct,….”
To read the rest of the article – CLICK HERE

Thought this was quite interesting and that you might enjoy reading the article from Institute for Creation Research.

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