Well, this is awkward. Not being a literal bird, I can’t actually tell you. I’ve spent a lot of time watching birds, there are twitchers in my family, and hours upon hours of David Attenborough documentaries though. Do those things stand up as a qualification!
In recent weeks I have come across no less than 18 Wedge-Tailed Eagles in my travels. They are classified as Golden Eagles just in case anyone needs to know. Prophetically, Golden Eagles are a thing. Scientifically, more eagles may of course mean that our statewide population of Tasmanian Devils has not yet recovered, because they feed from similar sources. Unfortunately, bad news for one endangered species, may have meant good news for another. *sigh* We don’t look after what we’ve been given as well as I personally would like. However, we all have different ideas of what that looks like too, and somehow as humans we haven’t worked out how to sit down and talk about how to do that without (literally or metaphorically) punching each other in the face.
This was not meant to be a discussion about the state of the environment though. I want to look at the pretty birds and learn how they fly!
That weekend when my sister and I went to the retreat and then went to the beach? Well we saw three Wedge-Tailed Eagles. This is Mum, Dad and Young’un usually, out doing some kind of learning. They were flying low. Not as low as I have experienced, but still pretty low, twice house height we estimated, low enough to see the definition of their feathers with your own eyes.
It was fascinating to watch them work with the air currents, to see them follow the rising heat from the house rooves and then off the hot rocks in turn take them higher and higher. It wasn’t a warm day, and I assume they were taking advantage of whatever they could get. The tree line (where I assume the nest was) was a couple of kilometres away. I am assuming they flew from there to the shoreline to use the houses and rocks because who wants to expend actual energy to get up that high…
At one point the young’un faltered and whistled, it had lost its balance, and one of the adults broke out of the upward spiral and flew over to double check that it got back into an updraft.
It really is worth the time to stop what you’re doing and watch these things.
Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden. Proverbs 30:18-19 (RSV)
Air is a funny thing. How can something that is invisible and formless be strong enough to move things, let alone hold something 2 kilometres above the ground? Updrafts are interesting things to me, partly because they’re not technically a breeze, so there isn’t even the squeezing force of barometric pressure behind it to create impetus. I can understand a wind and aerodynamics (to the best of my knowledge), but an updraft is essentially just hot air rising.
So those eagles were taking their up to 5.5kg bodies and using hot air to float themselves 2 kilometres into the sky.
Once they’re up that high, there are all sorts of air currents to make use of, without any of the inconvenience of powerlines, trucks, houses or people. They have a mostly clear run.
As fledglings, they have to learn how to use all these tools though. Not just updrafts, but where to find them, and all the different kinds of airflow.
They learn the way the wind moves, and then, allow the wind to do the work.
In Acts, the Holy Spirit is described as coming like a great wind and fire. God describes Himself often through the OT as breath, wind and voice – which is driven by breath.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Acts 2:1-2 (RSV)
We know that He is all around us all the time, just waiting for us to notice, waiting for us to ‘lock-in’ to relationship with Him.
As we learn in an ever increasing way how He works, and lean more and more onto Him, allowing Him to do what He does, we find ourselves taken to the heights.
God Bless You Very Much