Ever heard of a parakeet auklet? Where they nest might surprise you.
Exodus 33:22 HCSB
“and when My glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.”
What’s a Parakeet Auklet, Anyway?
“Does anyone have a target bird for today’s adventure?” Captain John, our bird tour guide asked us.
“I’d really like to see a red-faced cormorant,” one of the passengers said.
“If we could see puffins, I’d count it a great day,” his wife chimed in.
Everyone looked at me. “I’ve never seen an auklet,” I said. “But I’d be happy to see just about any bird.” The word auklet sounds so cool.
“I can’t guarantee anything,” Captain John said, “but I know where most of those birds hang out and it’s the right season to see them. We’ll see puffins for sure, and most likely a parakeet auklet and some rhinoceros auklets.”
The boat motored slowly out of the Seward, AK harbor and headed into Resurrection Bay, where it picked up speed.
Parakeet auklets belong to the Alcidae family, which includes puffins, murres, and auks. Alcids have webbed feet and dive underwater for their food. They usually spend most of their lives far out at sea, only returning to land to raise their young.
Unlike their cousins, the murres, parakeet auklets don’t form huge flocks. Nor do they nest practically on top of each other. Instead, a parakeet auklet will find old burrows from other animals, narrow spaces between boulders, or a crevice in a rock to lay their single egg. Both parents take turns incubating the egg and caring for their offspring.
The parakeet auklet has several outstanding features. Its bright orange beak probably gives it its name because it looks like the curved bill you’d see on a parakeet. The black back and wings contrast with its white eye. It has a white line of feathers behind its eyes and a white underside. The webbed feet look bluish-grey.
Flying Far From the Crevice in the Rock
As we traveled up Aialik Bay, Captain John pulled the boat close to the steep cliffs and cut the motor. “Parakeet auklets can be hard to see, but you can usually hear them first.” He looked through his binoculars. “I see five or six right over there!” He pointed towards a large boulder at the base of the cliff.
It took me a few minutes to locate the parakeet auklets. Bigger than a sparrow but smaller than a robin, it took luck to locate five flying birds. I managed to snap a few photos of them before we moved on.
Such a tiny bird for such a giant ocean. The towering cliffs of the fjords didn’t look like a safe place to raise a chick, either. The drop into the ocean looked deadly. What happens when the chick starts flapping its wings? Do they ever fall into the ocean?
I am a tiny spec in a giant universe. A cancer diagnosis, depression, anxieties, perplexities, money issues, broken relationships, and uncertainty about the future loom like towering fjords. Yet the Creator of the universe invites me to find refuge in a crevice in the rocks and behind his mighty hand. My Father will keep me from falling, no matter the danger I face.
Father God, Let me hide in the crevice of the rock. You know how to keep me safe and protected, but I must choose to stay sheltered in your care.