A Few of my Favorite Birds (14): Flyin’ High Like the Eagles

Eagle 9.20.12 at our homeAlthough it’s rare to see an eagle flying over our lake (as one did 2 years ago), they do live in the area, and eagles are definitely one of my favorite birds! Golden Eagle Profile There is probably no bird as exalted as the eagle, which was used as a symbol of power and majesty even during biblical times. Great Seal of U.S. The bald eagle, indigenous only to North America, has been the national symbol of the United States since our country’s inception in 1789.Eagle Fluffy Feathers This great bird has been protected and honored ever since, as former President John F. Kennedy affirmed: Eagle as symbol of our Country 2 “The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.”  Eagle. Bronze Statue Bald eagles are among the largest of the “raptors” (birds of prey). Males weigh 7-10 pounds and have wing spans of up to six feet. Surprisingly (at least to me), the females are even larger, weighing up to 14 pounds and attaining a wing span of up to 8 feet! So, if you ever have the privilege of seeing a pair, the bigger one is actually the female. Eagle watching Although bald eagles have been carefully protected in America since 1940, some zoos are allowed—by special permission—to keep eagles. Golden Eagle 1The High Desert Museum near Bend, Oregon, has 2 eagles who were found injured but rescued. These stately birds could no longer survive in the wild. Pair of Eagles Did you know that eagles mate for life and live up to 30 years? The John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids has a mating pair, and this year they have an eaglet, although I’ve not been able to get a good picture of it despite several trips to the zoo!  Eagle's Nest Eagles use the same nest year after year, which can eventually become  massive in size (up to 10 feet across). Although the female usually lays 2-3 eggs, only one eaglet normally survives, because it will kill any other eaglet that hatches, and the parents don’t intervene. Janine Harles's photo via Pivot Evans. Woodway, WA 5:12:14 (Above is a very happy exception, photographed by Pivot Evans this past May, 2014 in Washington State.) Bald-headed Eagle Wings  After about 4-6 months, the eaglets learn to fly by a do-or-die dive out of the nest. (If they’re too hesitant, the parent will eventually push them over the edge!) Bald Eagle in coniferHowever, because nests in the wild are usually at very high elevations, the parent eagle will swoop down under the eaglet and help support it if the young eagle doesn’t learn to flap fast enough to survive the first dive.  Bald Eagle over our lake 1.31.13Hence, the scripture in Deuteronomy 32:11-13, where the Lord speaks of his tender care for his children: “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him.” Bald Eagle. Heather CushmanAs I consider the mighty eagle—and how it represents America—I am sobered to remember that God is not only a tender parent, he is a demanding God who requires holiness. Bald-headed Eagle 1 In Obadiah 1:4 he warns against the sins of pride and arrogance, “‘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.” Eagle EatingIf we don’t want to be reduced to living in captivity, we need to resist feeding on the carrion of this world and humble ourselves as a nation, Eagle flyingturning away from evil and prayerfully seeking the way of Light. Bald eagle fluffy feathersI would love to see our nation known for courage and goodness Bald-headed Eagle 2 rather than self-indulgence and degenerate living, wouldn’t you? Bald-headed EagleMay God give us grace to be true to our calling, individually and nationally, Eagle Flyin' High Heather Cushmanso we can keep on flyin’ high like the eagles! Bald Eagle (EJ Magnuson)(Close up of the bald eagle sitting high up on a snag and the next-to-the last picture are used by permission of my cousin, Heather C. The last picture was taken by my friend E.J.M. in Juneau, Alaska in July! The rest I took in Michigan, Colorado, and Oregon.)