Spectacular Journey to Africa by Honey Buzzard

What an amazing story!! This is from the BirdGuides.Com

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A young European Honey Buzzard, satellite tagged by the Roy Dennis Foundation at a nest near Forres, Scotland, in mid-August, has already reached the African continent – albeit via a remarkably risky route that included two long sea crossings.

The bird, ‘620’, was tagged on 11 August and remained in the vicinity of her natal woodland until early September. Her first significant flight came on 11 September, when she moved 50 km to the east, aided by a stiff breeze.

“Doth the hawk (or buzzard) fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?” (Job 39:26 KJV)

Young European Honey Buzzards, such as this one, often end up taking more convoluted migrations south in their first autumn than the more experienced adults (Per Schans Christensen).

However, this could have given no clues for the extraordinary events that took place on 12-13 September. Clear skies and a brisk westerly wind on the morning of 12th encouraged the young honey buzzard to continue her eastward journey, although the Aberdeenshire coast seemingly provided no deterrant – she continued out to sea just north of Aberdeen at around 11.20 am, with the next GPS position logging her at an altitude of 477 m some 57 km out to sea, south-east of the Scottish city.

She continued on an easterly trajectory and, as darkness fell, she was only half-way across the North Sea. Flying through the night, the next tag fix at 2.34 am placed her a further 282 km east of the previous evening’s reading. By 6.30 am, she reached the Danish coast safely, having made a 640-km sea crossing in a non-stop 19-hour flight, largely during the hours of darkness – hugely impressive given it was the bird’s first long-distance movement since fledging the nest.

After a couple of days’ recuperation, her southward journey recommenced as she gradually made her way through Denmark, reaching Germany by the evening of 17th. She continued on a south-westerly route, skirting the western border of Germany and entering south-east Belgium on 20th, roosting in the country that evening. The south-westerly trajectory continued over the following five days, and ‘620’ had reached Clermont-Ferrand, France, by the evening of 25th.


Juvenile European Honey Buzzard photographed on migration in Denmark – a route used by many youngsters of this species, including ‘620’ (Morten Scheller Jensen).

At this point, it seemed as if the south-westerly route would continue, taking the bird into Iberia and, most likely, across the Strait of Gibraltar, which is a well-practised spring and autumn migration route for adult European Honey Buzzards. However, ‘620’ had other ideas.

After two days near Clermont-Ferrand, she flew due south to a wood near Montpellier on the afternoon of 27th. Her migration recommenced the next morning and by 8.40 am she was at the coast. But, instead of following this south-west into Spain, strong north-westerly winds encouraged her to fly directly out to sea.

As she moved south over the Mediterranean Sea the wind veered to a north-easterly and, with a brisk tailwind, her flying speed reached 87 km/h as she flew at altitudes of up to 750 m. By 1 pm she had reached Menorca – but did not land there, instead continuing southwards. By 8.30 pm, the wind had dropped and she was flying due west, having travelled almost 750 km over open sea in 12 hours of continuous flight.

Satellite data suggests she rested on a boat for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, before recommencing her journey south. Finally, by 12.50 pm the following day, she reached the Algerian coast, completing a 1,000-km migration over open sea in just over 28 hours – an astonishing feat for such a young bird tackling its first migration. Not done there though, the young honey buzzard continued inland for a further 160 km, roosting in mountains on the northern edge of the Sahara. It then made a further 60-km movement south and roosted in one of the last patches of woodland on the north side of the Sahara on the evening of 29th.


The movements of young European Honey Buzzard ‘620’ between 11 and 29 September, from Scotland to Algeria via Denmark, Germany and France (Roy Dennis Foundation).

This amazing journey shows just how treacherous life can be for migrant birds, especially youngsters in their first autumn, yet also exhibits the impressive feats that they are capable of. But the journey isn’t done there, with the world’s largest desert still left to negotiate. As the Roy Dennis Foundation wrote on its blog on 30 September: “After two very long sea crossings, the young honey buzzard now faces another daunting challenge – her first flight across the Sahara.”

Following 620’s exploits at www.roydennis.org/category/honey-buzzard-620.

“Was it through your know how that the hawk learned to fly, soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts? Did you command the eagle’s flight, and teach her to build her nest in the heights,” (Job 39:26-27 MSG) [I don’t use this version normally, but I liked these verses, in respect to this story.]

What A Creator!!

Birds of the Bible – Buzzard

Wordless Birds

Avian – Happy Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day here in America. I wonder if the beautiful, hard-working avian mother’s have a special day. Maybe, it is the day the little one fledge and finally have “Flown The Coop.”

Seriously, I would like to wish all of my readers a Happy Mother’s Day with this little tribute.

First, the Momma bird lays her eggs:

“Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:25 NKJV)

Second, momma has to sit on the eggs for awhile:

“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50 NKJV)

Third, the little ones start to appear:

“Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 19:19 KJV)

Fourth, those little birds get hungry:

“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” (Ephesians 6:2 KJV)

Fifth, they mature (juveniles) and eventually Fly The Coop:

Avian mother’s are finished with that batch. Unlike human mothers whose work has just begun, and will continue through every stage of their children’s lives, even into their grandchildren’s lives.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

“Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22 NKJV)

“A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother.” (Proverbs 15:20 NKJV)

Double-crested Cormorant Juvenile at Indian Rocks Beach

Double-crested Cormorant by Angie at beach 7

My niece, Angie, sent the above photo of a bird they observed at the Indian Rocks Beach shore in Florida. She asked what kind of a “sea duck” it was. She was close, but the cormorant family is totally separate. I let her know that it was a juvenile Double-crested Cormorant.

She later told me that it was almost struggling to get out of the water. Angie also provided me with more photos of this youngster. I may be wrong, but, being immature, it may have become too water-logged. I have never experienced seeing one “swimming ashore”. If they were to become too wet, that could happen, I suppose. Whatever the case, enjoy seeing her sequence of another fantastic creation from our Creator. He provides for us and the avian population with provisions to help us when in need.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV)

The Cormorant is listed in four verses in the Bible, therefore making it a Bird of the Bible. “And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,”
(Deuteronomy 14:17 KJV)

The Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It occurs along inland waterways as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico. Measuring 70–90 cm (28–35 in) in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin. Five subspecies are recognized.

Double-crested Cormorant by Angie at beach 1

Double-crested Cormorant by Angie at beach 2

Double-crested Cormorant by Angie at beach 3

After fishing, cormorants go ashore, and are frequently seen holding their wings out in the sun. All cormorants have preen gland secretions that are used ostensibly to keep the feathers waterproof. Some sources state that cormorants have waterproof feathers while others say that they have water permeable feathers. Still others suggest that the outer plumage absorbs water but does not permit it to penetrate the layer of air next to the skin. The wing drying action is seen even in the flightless cormorant but commonly in the Antarctic shags and red-legged cormorants. Alternate functions suggested for the spread-wing posture include that it aids thermoregulation, digestion, balances the bird or indicates presence of fish. A detailed study of the great cormorant concludes that it is without doubt to dry the plumage.

Double-crested Cormorant by Angie at beach 4

Double-crested Cormorant by Angie at beach 5

Double-crested Cormorant by Angie at beach 6

The Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It occurs along inland waterways as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico. Measuring 70–90 cm (28–35 in) in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin. Five subspecies are recognized.

The double-crested cormorant is found near rivers and lakes and along the coastline. It mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving. Its feathers, like those of all cormorants, are not waterproof and it must spend time drying them out after spending time in the water.

[Info from Cormorant] and Double-Crested Cormorant from Wikipedia]

Lord’s Avian Wonders – Juvenile Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) Juvenile Lowry Park Zoo

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) Juvenile Lowry Park Zoo

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53 NKJV) (emphasis mine)

While in the Aviary at Lowry Park last week, this little avian wonder caught my attention. Our Scarlet Ibis juvenile is in the process of becoming a beautiful adult, but at present he is still in transition. The Lord’s Creative Hand gave these ibises protection while growing up, but now that change to a full-grown Scarlet Ibis is becoming very evident.

Scarlet Ibis adults in the Aviary

Scarlet Ibis adults in the Aviary

Adult plumage is virtually all scarlet. The feathers may show various tints and shades, but only the tips of their wings deviate from their namesake color. A small but reliable marking, these wingtips are a rich inky black (or occasionally dark blue) and are found only on the longest primaries – otherwise the birds’ coloration is “a vivid orange-red, almost luminous in quality.” Scarlet ibises have red bills and feet however the bill is sometimes blackish, especially toward the end. They have a long, narrow, decurved bill. Their legs and neck are long and extended in flight.

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) Juvenile Lowry Park Zoo

A juvenile scarlet ibis is a mix of grey, brown, and white. As it grows, a heavy diet of red crustaceans produces the scarlet coloration. The color change begins with the juvenile’s second moult, around the time it begins to fly: the change starts on the back and spreads gradually across the body while increasing in intensity over a period of about two years. The scarlet ibis is the only shorebird with red coloration in the world.

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:2-3 KJV) (emphasis mine)

As these young Scarlet Ibises are growing into beautifully colored adults, you can see how they have grown from the baby to where they are now.

So, we as Christians, should be growing and changing as we grow in the Lord. How do we grow? Reading God’s Word, attending a good Bible preaching church, praying, studying, and doing whatever the Lord may lead you to do to help out. These juveniles are starting to change and so will you as grow in the Lord. Sooner or later you will bloom into a mature Christian able and willing to serve Our Lord wherever or however He chooses.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17-18 NASB)

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:20-23 NKJV) (emphasis mine)

Scarlet Ibis – Threskiornithidae – Ibises, Spoonbills

Orni-Theology

Lowry Park Zoo Articles

Sharing The Gospel

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Sandhill Crane Juveniles in Backyard

Sandhill Crane "colts"

Sandhill Crane "colts"

Do you remember the blog about the Sandhill Crane “Colt” Birdwatching? The little baby Sandhills were just a day old then on March 14th of this year. Today is August 27th of 2010 and they were visiting in my backyard with their parents. As you can see, they are growing up quite well. We have been watching them over the last five months. Couldn’t resist getting the camera out and updating their progress.

Sandhill Juvenile - 5 months old

Sandhill Juvenile - 5 months old in backyard

They still don’t have all their color yet, but they are just about as tall as the parents. It is neat to be able to watch them grow. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) are in the Gruidae Family of the Gruiformes Order.

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. (Jeremiah 8:7 ESV)

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