As I was experiencing delayed recovery from Covid, I was unable to go birding. As a result, this week’s post highlights my most recent page addition to my website, which some of you may not have yet explored, which is accessed via my Homepage and can be accessed by clicking the image below:
Many are unaware of the importance of these majestic birds in the ecological balance, especially in keeping rodents such as rabbits, mice, rats. They also eat reptiles, birds, small mammals, frogs and baby wallabies. Several species, including the Pacific Baza, include large insects in their diet, often while in flight, such as grasshopper, which attack our food crops. Generally most raptors are carnivores. The Osprey uniquely has a fish only diet.
A bounty was placed on the Wedge-tailed Eagle before the 1970s for each dead bird shot or poisoned, because glaziers accused them of taking lambs from their flocks. This devastated the vast population of these birds throughout Australia, which is one reason why the introduced rodents brought by the British, have never been adequately controlled. The population is slowly increasing , but Wedgies remain a not so common raptor. Though they are now protected by law in all states with a $8000 fine and imprisonment, some farmers in outback regions still secretly kill them. The Wedge-tailed Eagle is our largest eagle, and the White-bellied Sea-Eagle our second largest. Though it is called a sea eagle, it is often also found inland around rivers, and feeds on a similar diet to the Wedgie, but has more of a fish diet. Both these birds, including the Nankeen Kestrel, our smallest raptor, and Barn Owl are in my book “What Birds Teach Us” and also “Flight of a Fledgling”.
Raptors, in particular eagles are used in the coat of arms for defense and police forces to denote power and authority. Monday was Anzac Day for Australian’s and New Zealander’s. Today is an important Australian holiday when we all commemorate and give thanks for those men and women who served and gave their lives for our freedom in the two world wars and also the other wars our country has served in. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Lest we forget.
The bravery and mate-ship of our Australian Armed Forces is inspiring and legendary. I am a casualty of war, even though I have never had to serve. Many post war baby boomers and the wives of returned servicemen are casualties of war. Due to my dad’s emotional and mental condition from the terrible experiences he endured, he came back with severe PTSD which was not properly recognized/diagnosed back then, as the army did not want to acknowledge it. It went on to impact his life, his work and our family, as it did many families of returned servicemen. I deal with this issue in my second book:
The eagle is used in a similar way in the Bible to denote God’s power :
“‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” – Exodus 19:4 (NIV)
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: A great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon. Taking hold of the top of a cedar, he broke off its topmost shoot and carried it away to a land of merchants, where he planted it in a city of traders.” – Ezekiel 17:3,4
The most encouraging mention of the eagle is how it is applied to us in the Bible, in David’s Psalm 103:1-5 in relation to renewing our strength, in which some species of eagle are able to extend their life and renew their strength by removing all their feathers and beak and waiting for renewed growth.
“Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.“
The ability of the eagle to soar effortlessly over the world is another aspect of the bird drawn upon in Isaiah 40:31, a much loved verse for encouragement to believers: