25 October, 2012

Azuero Peninsula, Panama

Don McCall writes the following:

"Yesterday (Tuesday) Island Girl flew 227 km (141 mi) southeast through Panama, and roosted last night in the southeast corner of Panama's Azuero Peninsula, about 15-20 kilometers from both the Pacific Ocean (to the south) and the Gulf of Panama (to the east).   In the previous two years this has been her "jumping off" point for flying across the Gulf of Panama; in 2009, she travelled further east through Panama before flying across the Gulf."

I could not have put it any better.

I would add that if you look at her route on the tracking map page, you can see a perfect line heading SE to the peninsula all the way from the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This is such a classic route and one that she has followed before.

So every one of these migrations adds to her growing knowledge and experience of this western hemisphere route.

But how does she see it all? How does she experience it? What is in her brain? How do her cognitive abilities work? Does she have a memory and, if so, how does it appear to her? Does she have a concept of the future, as in making route decisions based on her past experience?

I think that she must recognize landmarks. But are they specific images, like us? She knows those towers in Limon. What about the Azuero Peninsula? Does she recognize vast landforms? Does she recall certain leading lines? When she leaves the peninsula in Panama and commits to flying SE out over the open Pacific Ocean, does she know she is going to reach the shoreline of Colombia? Or is it all just instinct driving her in that direction?

So many questions.

We are all witnessing one single migration right now. And what a privelege to be able to do so.

But the complexity and number of questions that we still have just reminds us that this single migration is the tip of an almost incomprehensibly huge iceberg. These arctic peregine migrations have been going on for thousands and thousands of years. Who knows for how long? Has it just been since the end of the last ice age? Or were they also doing this during the inter-glacial periods? Or even before the Pleistocene?

How many peregrines have flown this route over all of this time? How did it all start? When did the first migrant falcons finally reach South America? What drove them? What was there to reinforce this behavior?

We see Island Girl and what she is doing every day. But keep in mind that long and ancient history that preceeded and shaped her behavior. That history is immense and breathtaking and so overwhelmingly beautiful in its complexity. 

And now it is her time to carry all of that knowledge, ability and instinct in her DNA. To carry on her line across continents and the ages.

Is this what sacred means?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in Santiago de Veraguas, Panama. It's been raining for two days and the area of Tonosi in the Azuero peninsula was flooded yesterday. October is the rainiest month in Panama.

Kanit said...

I would consider these acts sacred, I love the thought process that got to that question.
Thanks for the insightful post.