The Winged Migration Email
March 10, 2008
They’re building a garish church behind a certain writer's house, with it’s steeple in the heavens, flattening the forest as they go. But foxes live in the forest, this fellow keeps track of them, and now they are displaced foxes. Not to mention the birds which he faithfully feeds. Will they keep coming around with the woods leveled? So this fellow’s not too happy with anything that smacks of religion.
When he read my post on Winged Migration, he wasn’t too sure if I wasn’t making fun of the birds. Never cross an animal lover. Now, in fact, I think Winged Migration is one of the most beautiful films ever made, but maybe that point didn't stand out in my post. Besides, with the steeple of that church blocking sun, moon, and stars….he's in a foul mood.
I would like to complement you on you unique choice of a name for a blog. You appear to have a good knowledge of many things, but then that appearance is lost in some of the words you write. I do not pretend to be a scientist, or one that is very religious and in reading your “Winged Migration and the Evolutionists” you make light of the Theory of Evolution when maybe you need to crack a book on the subject. Anyone who uses Gary Larsen as a keystone for their writing might want to lay off The Far Side for awhile. Larson, unique as his work/play is, has swayed the mind of many a person into thinking about animals as he portrays them.
(I have put your words in italics, just in case you do not recognize them for what they are.)
We never see a person; do birds not care about us as much as we ourselves do?
Mostly people are not worth seeing, or caring about either. Birds find that people have a tendency to kill them so wild birds do not hang around people very much. Ask a Passenger Pigeon or a Carolina Parakeet or an Ivory Billed Woodpecker or many other birds that are extinct due to man.
Like how did that tern ever discover that such food bonanzas existed 11,000 miles apart? Does anyone have the answer? Do evolutionists?
Do a little research and discover plate tectonics. Antarctica was once tropical. You should know that the movement of the plates per year has been calculated to be about the distance a fingernail grows per year. It does not take a God given ability to adjust to changes that small over a period of time. If the wife had the refrigerator moved to the garage don’t you think you might be able to find it when you got hungry. That is what the theory of evolution is all about; you have evidently not been keeping up, only those that can adapt to changes will survive. Put another way only the strong will survive.
In winged migration you said “Ugly Birds”. There are no ugly birds but there are ugly people however.
Here is a frigate plying the waters, the birds land on deck. They strut to and fro, on short break from their journey. One or two catch a quick nap on the heat grates.
Do you know what a Frigate is? A Frigate would not have heat grates on deck!
No one can determine if you are serious or just uneducated. You have the tendency to display either of those things at random times. In 1955 I was stationed on the Light Cruiser Manchester and one time when we left port a flock of mostly yellow colored birds, sparrow sized, followed the ship till they became exhausted. They started landing on the ship and were everyplace that they could find to land, I feel sure they all perished, they evidently felt this was a safe island but were wrong. Did God instruct them do this or was it instinct, I think it was instinct.
They did it by exposing eggs of some of the birds to the sounds of people and film cameras so that the birds would not be afraid of them later.
No one can determine if you are serious or just uneducated. Sorry about repeating that answer but it appeared necessary.
One Manx shearwater was taken from Wales to Boston, (by scientists?…..did they blindfold it?) 3200 miles away. It returned to Wales in 13 days.
Did you ever hear of Homing Pigeons? Most folks would not question the repeatability of what these birds can do. Did they evolve this skill or did some unseen omnipotent intelligence give them this power? That is the question. In my opinion evolution is responsible for the behavior of animals and birds. If an omnipotent intelligence was in charge of all the things that some attribute to him/her I do not think the number of radical exterminations of birds, people and animals would have been allowed, I have been taught that our God is benevolent. All the folks killed by “acts of God”, war and disease could have been prevented by one so powerful. The great unproven flood of some centuries ago was “God given” supposedly, to remove the unfaithful and corrupt from this earth. It would seem to me that God would have been smart enough to change man to be a little more like what he wanted him to be, it would appear that God only wants to control everything by hanging a hammer over them, what kind of God is that? Yet, religions almost universally say that God loves us, that does not seem to be so, God only wants to control us. And shame be upon you if you stray from his supposed teachings. The poor birds and animals do not even have the guidance we have with all our preachers and churches. They are only destined to be at the mercy of man, and their actions and habits that allow them to exist are a matter of instinct and evolution, I somehow doubt that God even gives them the first thought.
The picture you have is a nice family group, but that one Lama is not happy. Any farm boy knows when an animal holds it’s ears back it is not pleased.
Winged Migration Man
Now, notice that this fellow knows how to give counsel. He knows you don’t begin by saying “your writing sucks.” Instead you look for something which you can genuinely complement. Then you say "your writing sucks." In JW circles, they even serve “counsel sandwiches,” in which counsel is buffered on both ends by praise.
Opening: Brother, you’re presence is always so delightful. We love your thoughtful comments at the meetings and your concern for the elderly, the widows, and the orphans..
Counsel: You have breath that would fell a T-Rex. Wanna try brushing your teeth once in a while?
Close: repackage the opening remarks and run them through again.
So.....how will we respond to this fellow?
You have the ability to offer counsel. It is an art and I appreciate you’ve taken the time to offer it. You’ve put serious thought into your email. Again, I appreciate it. One cannot grow if one hears only from those who agree. And you manifestly have a love of animals. How can anyone not like that?
I like to write. It’s a hobby. Posting on a blog is a bit like an artist hanging his paintings. If I find some people read them….well, that's just icing on the cake, and more still if some take time to respond. I read a lot, think a lot, talk to a lot of people, and slap the results online. But I don’t imagine my posts are masterpieces, nor do I think they’re the final word on any subject. Some posts are serious, some are whimsical or flippant, and the lines of separation are not distinct. Sometimes people use the comment section to point out this or that blunder and I learn from them
I’ve never considered your explanation for the Arctic tern. It makes sense. To be fair, you must admit that I never said evolutionists had no answer…..rather, I asked if they did.
I don’t know anything about ships other than they float. Nor did I know those were heat grates. But the birds were landing on grates of some sort. What kind of grates were they, and what kind of ship?
The part about acclimating the eggs to film crews is accurate. I read it on a website explaining the filmmaker's techniques. It is in keeping with "imprinting," which we all know about.
And you're right, the lamas were grumpy that day. You may find it interesting that a little girl who was with us led the black one away temporarily. You should have heard the white one whimper!
Your final paragraph contains many good points. I've posted about some of themand put them in the various categories on the front page. On spiritual things, I defer to the opinions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their explanations on spiritual matters, IMO, is spot-on. Other posts on other subjects simply come from reading and pondering. I don’t claim they’re all brilliant, nor do I claim my writing is necessarily any good.
The reference to "ugly" birds was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I agree with you. There are no ugly birds. Ditto for "do birds not care about us..." Meant to be tongue-in-cheek. The truth is that I regard Winged Migration as one of the most beautiful films ever made.
I almost wish your email had been submitted as a comment. I would have gladly published and responded to it.
I did not really expect the kinds of answers I received from you, and that is to my liking. One can not really determine in many cases what another is trying to imply. I am guilty of that very thing and it was my impression that you were attempting to cast some poor light on the production of “Winged Migration”, the director, his methods and the subject in general. I was caught by surprise when in your response you thought it was a beautiful movie. I also thought it was a beautiful movie but that was mostly because I consider myself a bird person. The reason that I say I am a bird person is that I religiously feed the birds every day and when I am not home I have some of my family come to feed them. I have been doing this for over 25 years and it’s very important to me.
Before I go on with the intended subject let me explain a little more about my relationship with the birds. The area in which I live was, until about 15 years ago, farm land and numerous portions were heavily wooded areas. We have about three acres of land with most of it being heavily wooded and the woods are mixed, being both deciduous and coniferous. A number of years ago there was 49 acres directly behind our house which was also heavily wooded. There is also a creek that provides water for birds and animals that runs along side our property. There was also a large wooded area to the side of us that was at least 200 acres. As you might visualize this was a tremendous area for birds and animals. Over the years housing developments and other development has taken place that has reduced the habitat for the wild creatures which in turn reduced their numbers. I wanted to live in the country where natural things were abundant and now those things are changing, most folks would call that progress. I do not appreciate the development but I can exist with it and I will continue to encourage the birds to come to a place where they show their beauty and get a bite to eat.
There are a lot of unhealthy and hateful responses that come to anyone that blogs, and I would never attempt to engage in such a project. I have trouble enough just understanding the folks that I communicate with now and them understanding me, so I would not even attempt to be an author of a blog.
I do remember seeing the birds landing on the ship in the documentary, and I do not remember what kind of ship it was. I have watched the movie twice and I find it hard to believe that I do not remember what type of vessel was shown. I served many years in the US Navy. I will make it an objective to look at Winged Migration again and will let you know what kind of ship it was in the film.
I did read a little about the documentary and it is a fact that doing things to imprint the nearly hatched embryo is a thing that can be accomplished. And once the eggs have hatched they imprint very easily on the first things they hear, feel and see.
Llamas are very peculiar creatures and they are beautiful animals, but they can be quite ornery from my understanding of them. Being in the same family with camels it is easy to understand their attitude. But if these Llamas were pets they were probably fairly gentle creatures.
I meant to respond also to birds flying to great altitudes to get to their migration destination. And I think that they have learned to do the thing that is easiest or will at least allow them to make that journey which has become an instinct to them. Birds understand how to take advantage of wind currents and it is not difficult for me to see that certain birds can exert themselves to fly up a matter of miles and then catch the jet stream to glide for maybe a thousand miles.
As I said before I am not a scientist but I do like to read and try to understand the principles that scientists attempt to put forth. Unfortunately most folks of science once they understand, or think they understand some scientific theory, will put up tremendous barriers to prevent their protected beliefs from being tampered with. On the other hand religion has the same attitude, and if one is content to believe in the supernatural as being responsible for all the birds, animals, fish, microbes, and the weather also, that is fine. I will not criticize their beliefs very strongly even though I do not agree with them, but am unable to know for certain that what I have a tendency to want to believe is correct. Some folks as you have mentioned have no flexibility and therefore have to come on as very hateful when they do not happen to agree with your point of view.
Tom Irregardless and Me No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash
Well, I agree with everyone. Which makes quite a change.
I veer between the flippant and the serious, I wouldn't like a church built behind my house, i think woodland should be left well alone and even though I'm a scientist I don't pretend to understand bird migration at all. I'm not that kind of scientist and I'm more of a fish and reptiles man myself. Although I do put out bird feeders which get visited by a range of wild birds, including the first wren I've seen in many years.
Scientists can be seriously entrenched in their theories just as the religious can be unmovable in their beliefs. One of Dawkins' examples, to show how science 'readily accepts new and provable data' is how quickly the bat's sonar mechanism was accepted in the fifties.
It was in fact first described in the 1700's and that scientist was laughed at. As was the first one to describe apoptosis - where damaged body cells self-destruct rather than become cancerous. His career was ruined by dogmatic scientists.
Perhaps I'm grinding my axe here, since my own field isn't exactly looked on with favour by the mainstream, but yes, scientific dogma can be every bit as rigid as religious dogma.
So, in all those words, I have no argument. Hmmm.
I once lived near a field of llamas. Those things can spit a long way!
Which reminds me, what's all this about Elliot Spitzer?
Posted by: Romulus Crowe | March 11, 2008 at 07:52 PM
Nice thoughts. I, too, had not considered the argument via plate tectonics. I must wonder, however, were the birds in question around when the continents were close enough to explain this?
Posted by: Screech | March 12, 2008 at 11:53 AM
Wowee! You mean even over in England they're talking about ES? He's only the governor of one of the 50 states.
But he made his reputation as NYS attorney general. As such, he had prosecuting authority over Wall Street, and he managed to get fines and jail time for several high-profile businessmen....for corruption, collusion, acting contrary to public interest, etc. The "Sheriff of Wall Street," some called him.
So when he entered politics, the hope was he would do the same in that arena. I have an Eliot Spitzer category in my blog and have written of the hopes many put in him. NY is desperately in need of someone to put order into its chaos. Spitzer (when elected) was almost a messianic figure, and some hoped wistfully he might go on to national politics and clean up the messes there.
Since integrity was said to be his strong suit, it's a real kick in the teeth for him to have serious issues of personal integrity arise. It even puts his previous righteous battles in a new light: he kicks ass not so much because he loves what is right but because he is an alpha male, with all the vulnerabilities common to the species.
A good point. I never said I believed plate tectonics is THE answer. But it is AN answer. I do think it leaves a lot of loose ends.
Posted by: tom sheepandgoats | March 12, 2008 at 08:41 PM
Mr. Spitzer is all over the news here. He's even eclipsed Arnold Schwarzenegger (spelling?), the Governator, who gets a lot of UK news time. We're just waiting for him to turn up at a meeting dressed as Conan.
Mr. Spitzer's fame here is not so much because of what he did, but more to try to deflect attention from what our lot are doing with public funds. Which is much, much worse.
Posted by: Romulus Crowe | March 14, 2008 at 10:31 AM
Just to be clear, I don't personally believe that evolution is correct. I do wish to have a clear understanding of the current theory.
I saw something on TV last night about the origin of life. In the lab, people are able to take non-living matter and generate cell membranes and enzymes, but that's about it. When they showed a computer graphic of what goes on inside living cells, it amazed me how much more complex they are beyond what I was taught in high school. It made it appear that on an atomic level there are processes going on that resemble little creatures.
The point? The fact that they can create cell membranes out of inanimate matter doesn't impress me too much. In my mind, that's not much different than people wearing clothes. If someone could create a shirt or pair of pants, does that mean they are on the right track to making a person, much less understanding the processes involved in creating a living, human being?
Perhaps its a bad analogy, but the point is the same.
Posted by: Screech | March 14, 2008 at 01:30 PM
A pretty good analogy, methinks.
When I wrote my last reply, I had no idea how big the story was. $90K for prostitutes! I'm afraid the guy is toast. So far, however, it appears he did not use public funds to pay for his appetites, though you can be sure that it be investigated fully and they will likely nail him for incidental costs....traveling and such. It may not be enough to claim he was also attending to legitimate business.
Some charges may arise from his seeming violation of laws that were never intended to catch persons such as he but are laws nonetheless....with some very stiff penalies. Motivated by tracking terrorist funds, laws exist here in which any bank transaction in excess of $10K must be reported to the federal authorities. It is a federal crime to break up deposits into lesser ones so as to not trigger the alarms. It's said ES did just that, trying not to leave a paper trail.
And here's a point I'm sure you will treaure. Lieutenant Governor Peterson succeeds Spitzer. It turns out that he is, not only black, but also blind. PC media outlets are positively ecstatic over the news. A new catagory! "He's black and he's BLIND" they intone, so impressed, as if one quality somehow enhances the other.
Posted by: tom sheepandgoats | March 14, 2008 at 05:40 PM
Archaeopteryx is the oldest know bird and it existed about 150 million years ago. That was before the plates of the continents had separated to any large extent. Archaeopteryx was known as the first true bird, and it was probably the ancestor of modern birds. Paleontologists and ornithologists can not agree on whether this was a bird or lizard with feathers. or whether this creature could fly or just run. If this was a bird, it and its descendents, if you believe that evolution exists, learned to migrate to find food for themselves and a place to raise their young. The distances probably started out as not very far but increased as the eras passed, the birds evolved to meet whatever challenges confronted them.
Posted by: Ed Hughes | March 16, 2008 at 12:03 AM
One must be very careful when questioning the creationist theory. I was doing that very deed last evening and when I tried to send the message power was suddenly interrupted. Atlanta was struck a fairly severe blow about that same time, it was the first tornado to hit that town according to the news. I tried again this evening but we had tornados in the area once more. I then determined that it may have been nothing more than the “ides of March” so I waited until after midnight to try it again.
I must have dozed off because I just recently realized that you had transmitted “The Winged Migration E-Mail”, thanks for not making me look too bad, ugly or just mean. I am in a foul (no pun intended as a bird lover) mood still, the foxes have not returned and probably will not return due to the constant disturbance. I do believe the Gray Fox is a pagan species and has a low tolerance level, probably similar to mine. You may or may not be pleased to note that even with all the confusion many of the birds are still in the area but some species are not as abundant as they were a year ago. Nature generally provides a balance, could it be God’s work? I had winter birds in abundance, this year, that have not been very plentiful, or here at all, for the past few years. The American Goldfinch’s were here in abundance this winter, this bird only migrates as far south as is necessary to find seeds, and the winters in the north had evidently been fairly mild for a few winters prior to this year. The House Finch’s are also plentiful and have been since early last summer, these pretty little birds were brought to the eastern part of the United States from the south western states and Mexico. This was illegal importation and when the culprits were about to be caught up with they turned all the birds loose. These Finch’s did not know about migration, it was a thing they did not have to perform in their original territory. They have spread throughout the eastern states and do not seem to have developed a migration pattern that is consistent from year to year, I have been blessed with the presence of a medium sized flock of these Finch’s for about 10 months.
The church construction is still a problem to me, it does not block the sun, but the light pollution that it creates, from very high and bright lights in the church parking area, does diminish the viewing of the moon and stars at night. We used to provide a little knowledge to our Grandchildren by teaching them the common heavenly constellations, and viewing meteorites during certain times of the year from our back yard. We can no longer do that because of the light pollution. I guess I just have to accept that and it is probably God’s will, or it would not exist.
By the way I do believe the church is Catholic rather than garish. And to try to live up to the words that you have so beautifully laid out for me, I will attempt to be the benevolent individual that you have lead me to be, which means I must terminate these words with only kind and positive thoughts, and there is no charge for the minor Ornithology lesson as I did not expound any scientific jargon in this exercise.
Posted by: Ed Hughes | March 16, 2008 at 03:03 AM
"One must be very careful when questioning the creationist theory. I was doing that very deed last evening and when I tried to send the message power was suddenly interrupted."
I certainly hope you've learned your lesson.
This post wouldn't be complete without hearing from WMM in person. Thanks so much for the update. Not to mention the nature lesson.
Sorry about the church. I embellished it a little. I was hoping it would not turn out to be a Kingdom hall they were building. Though I'd like to advance the notion that for a Kingdom Hall build, even the animals pitch in and help with their little paws and wings, as if in a Disney production, you and I and everyone else would know it was a lie. A building's a building for them, and human activity is human activity, and you sometimes wish people would renovate existing buildings rather than erect new ones.
Posted by: tom sheepandgoats | March 16, 2008 at 09:41 AM
I appreciate your considerate answers, which I figure came from the heart, and some from the pen also, you display a good use of both.-- But while on the subject of churches I thought I would mention to you that a Kingdom Hall was the first church to be constructed in this general area other than the AME Churches and Southern Baptist churches that have existed for many years here on Johns Island, South Carolina. We are out here in the boondocks and real people serving churches are built in such places in the South because land is too expensive in towns and cities, I would guess. Though with the price of gasoline well over $3 a gallon I have to assume more churches will be built to keep the ever fruitful frugal flocks from having to go far. It has been my observation that churches breed churches, or so it would appear at any rate, so I must apply part of the blame to JW as you refer to them because they were the first to start knocking down Gods forests and displacing the foxes, deer, birds and other fauna and flora. It did not take long for the other Godly organizations to follow suite. As I said before I have great tolerance for the needs of others, and I just mark this off as progress, if one would like to refer to continual new expansion into remote areas as progress.
I find I must make a comment to Romulus Crowe, thank you for appreciating the Wrens, the Wrens that you may see will probably continue to come to where they feel at home. There are many types of Wrens the most common being the House Wren. Nearly all Wrens adjust to the activities of humans and prefer to nest in or near human structures. All species of Wren act fairly much alike, they are very active and sing loudly especially during the mating season. You may not see them but their song is usually made with the same notes three times in succession. We have the Carolina Wren here, and it is a little larger than many species of Wren. They are very territorial so you generally will not see more that 2 birds at any one time unless it is parents and fledglings. They are a perky little bird and beneficial also as they eat mostly insects and spiders. Even as small as the Carolina Wren is it will run other larger bird away as necessary to defend its nesting places and feeding area.
We did have numerous tornadoes in our general area the other night, and no one has approached me as being a possible suspect for their occurrence. Maybe I am safe this time and I will try to be more careful in the future, that is not a promise it is only a thought.
Y’all have a great day,
Posted by: Ed Hughes | March 18, 2008 at 04:44 AM