Birds and Me
BE FOREWARNED: many photos and two short videos : )
I have been watching birds on cameras through Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology or American Eagle Foundation/USDA. I watch the Albatross in Kauai, Hawaii, the Bald Eagles in Washington, D.C., Ospreys in Missoula, Montana, and the Red-Tailed Hawks in Ithaca, NY. There are others as well, but these have been my favorites to watch. Yes, I am a birdwatcher in real life too, but these birds either do not visit South Texas or they are hard to spot. I certainly do not get to watch them raise their young.
Birds species can be so unique in the way they care for their young. These that I am watching have laid the eggs and then sat upon them, frequently tidying up the nest around them. The mate that is off the eggs goes hunting or fishing, bringing the feast back to the nest. With some species, only the female sits on the eggs while the male hunts and gathers, whereas other species share in both the nest and hunting duties. It is quite interesting to me. These same ways continue once the eggs have hatched and they have their nestlings. When very young, the parent continues to sit upon the babies until food arrives. The parents are so careful in the way they straddle and finally sit over the young. Take a look at this video to see this phenomenon. Those large yellow talons never touch the chicks. (The video is only 53 seconds.)
As they grow, there is less sitting over the nestling and more sitting with the nestling. This young Laysan Albatross cuddles up to a parent in the nest.
Red-Tailed Hawk parent gently feeds first of three born to this family in Ithaca, New York on the Cornell University campus.
Parent birds teach their young. The juvenile bird begins to imitate the parents in feeding themselves with food brought by a parent, flapping their wings and hopping, practicing for that day when they will fledge (fly on their own).
This is Liberty and Freedom dancing in the rain. The video is 9:35 minutes long, but just watch the first few minutes of practice and more practice. It will make you smile when they begin hopping too:
In the case of Albatross, the parents head to sea, leaving their young to practice alone for their big day of flight before heading out to sea. It is on its own for food for a time as well.
A fledgling often stays near the nest, continuing to be fed by the parents for some time. Once flying becomes second nature to the juvenile bird, most receive lessons in hunting and fishing.
“The eagle is observed to have a strong affection for her young, and to show it, not only as other creatures by protecting them and making provision for them, but by educating them and teaching them to fly. For this purpose she stirs them out of the nest where they lie dozing, flutters over them, to show them how they must use their wings….” Matthew Henry
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
- Parents care for their young: both may be involved, but not always.
- As infants, we depend upon our parents to feed us, change us, place us into bed.
- As children, we continue to depend upon our parents for many years, although we begin to spread our wings, gaining some feeling of independence.
- One day, when we are old enough, and, hopefully, mature enough, we spread those wings and take flight.
- …to name a few
Parents teach their young, guiding them to walk by holding their hands, eventually stepping out away from them so they begin to take steps toward the parent.
‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Exodus 19:4
God is our Father, teaching us. He is a patient Father. He waits as we take steps. He reteaches, if necessary (usually so! at least for me!). He draws us out to walk in His Way, to be obedient to His commandments. He loves us and nurtures us. He keeps His hand in ours.
And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis 1:26
I ponder the ways of these birds and my own existence. You created me…ME!
For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
Father God, You blessed me with wonderful earthly parents who cared for me tenderly and dearly. They loved me. They raised me up that I could fly. And I have flown and hope I will continue to fly. My earthly parents are with You now, yet their love is still with me. Thank You for them, Father. You care for me so much more than I can know…yet one day, I will know You, Your Holiness, Your Sovereignty, Your Love. You are my God.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34
I seek Your Kingdom, Father. Show me the way.
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
I want to fly with You for the rest of my earthly life and then on to Heaven to be with You…one day.
I’LL FLY AWAY by Albert Brumley **
Some glad morning when this life is o’er,
I’ll fly away;
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away.
I’ll fly away, O glory,
I’ll fly away;
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I’ll fly away.
“A Regal Couple” — http://www.eagles.org/dceaglecam/about.html
Video: American Eagle Foundation/DCEagleCam — http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2016/03/bald_eagle_chicks_hatched_at_national_arboretum_video.html
Laysan Albatross by Linda van den Heever: https://twitter.com/LindavdHeever/status/738811736409681921/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Red-Tailed Hawk feeding newborn by keysfishin: https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26491567641/in/photostream/
Bald Eagles with two eaglets: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ckhh94GWUAA2AxS.jpg
Bald Eagle with Freedom and Liberty: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23dceaglecam&src=tyah
Laysan Albatross chick practicing wing-flapping skills: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CkiOKYCVAAAsLbL.jpg
Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight by keysfishin: https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26953158963/
Bald Eagle adult with juvenile: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=juvenile+bald+eagle+fishing+with+adult&view=detailv2&&id=B46BB7286E88F6C4170CC1682DC880085885587F&selectedIndex=1&ccid=NqGIBWck&simid=607997538543667549&thid=OIP.M36a188056724e13121ed5f3373687b56o0&ajaxhist=0
Baby Learning to Walk photo: http://www.fellowship.ca/AWordFromSteve
Flying Bald Eagle: https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Free+Pictures+of+Bald+Eagles+In-Flight&view=detailv2&&id=371DEF5AFFC30C6C9055F494279CDFB0566974F0&selectedIndex=56&ccid=SSmBjioE&simid=608035965620391302&thid=OIP.M4929818e2a049a1f248cb977a990d061o0&ajaxhist=0
** LYRICS “I’LL FLY AWAY” AS REPRINTED IN “ALBERT E. BRUMLEY’S OLDE CAMP MEETIN’ SONGS.” Camdenton, Missouri, 1971, p. 11;© 1932, renewed 1960 Albert E. Brumley and Sons.