SYMBOLISM OF THE EAGLE:
For centuries, these seemingly larger-than-life birds have fascinated and inspired us with brilliant leadership characteristics. When eagles come to mind, people commonly imagine some enormous hunter soaring above wide-open spaces on outsized wings. Indeed, eagles are among the world’s largest birds of prey. We venerate them as living symbols of power, freedom, and transcendence.
Man for many years have taken Eagles as a symbol of beauty, bravery, courage, honour, pride, determination and grace. What makes this bird so important and symbolic to humanity is its characteristics. Seven important characteristics of the eagle has been closely associated to leadership and is widely researched and the facts accepted globally.
1. EAGLES FLOCK TOGETHER
When they mix with other birds, they are there to find something to eat and then take off. – As the old saying goes, “Birds of like feathers flock together.” Eagles do not mix with other birds but only enjoy flying at their high altitude. It is this characteristic that makes eagles unique birds. An eagle will never surrender to the size or strength of its prey. It will always give a fight to win its prey or regain its territory. Go over and watch the video on how the Golden Eagle displays remarkable hunting strategy, preying on goats much larger than itself by throwing them off the cliff face. No matter what the size of that person or what weapon they maybe holding, you would attack them without thought or regard for yourself. It wouldn’t even dawn on you to be afraid because your instinct is to protect that which you love and cherish. Successful leaders are fearless. They face problems heard on.
2. EAGLES HAVE A VERY SHARP VISION TO SEE LONG DISTANCE PREY OR ENEMY
Eagles have strong vision, so they can identify their prey and focus on it until they get it. At the same time, an eagle can see its enemy from afar, such as snakes trying to sneak in to its nest to steal its egg or to kill its young. Though eagles build their nests on high rocks and places, snakes have a tendency and ability to climb to them. But the strong vision of eagles keeps the enemies away from its nest. If you ever happen to see an eagle sitting high above the tree or cliff of a stiff mountain, watch closely and see how attentive the bird is. The body sits still and the head will be tilted side to side to observe what is happening below, around and above it. Even if its flying close by, you can observe how keen its eyes are looking for its prey. Eagles have a keen vision. Their eyes are specially designed for long distance focus and clarity. They can spot another eagle soaring from 50 miles away. Does this characteristic ring a bell in your mind? We are sure it does. Look at great leaders of this world who have come and gone. There are many great leaders that came and went but one characteristic that is common in all is “Vision”. Vision is a successful leadership characteristic. Take for Abraham Lincoln for example. Abraham, Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, guided his country through the most devastating experience in its national history, the Civil War. He had a vision, to save the union and free the slaves. He is considered by many historians to have been the greatest American president. Everyone must have a vision that guides and leads his team towards the organization’s or societal goals. The vision must be big and focused. A big, focused vision will produce big results.
3. EAGLES DO NOT EAT DEAD THINGS
Eagles never consume dead things, but vultures do. Eagles can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet, but they are able to swiftly land on the ground. At 10, 000 feet, you will never find another bird. If you find another bird, it has to be an eagle according to Dr, Myles Munroe. An eagle doesn’t mingle around with the pigeons. It is Dr. Myles Munroe who said that. Pigeons scavenge on the ground and grumble and complain all day long. Eagles are not. They fly and make less noise waiting for opportunities to strike their next prey or glide with the current of the storm. Great leaders are problem solvers. They don’t complain like the pigeons do. They love to take challenges as the eagle does when the storm comes.
4. EAGLES LOVE THE STORM
Eagles are the only birds that love the storm. When all other birds try to flee from the storm and hide its fierceness, eagles fly into it and will use the wind of the storm to rise higher in a matter of seconds. They use the pressure of the storm to glide higher without having to use their own energy. They are able to do this because God has created them uniquely with an ability to lock their wings in a fixed position in the midst of the fierce storm winds. Challenges in the life of a leader are many. These are the storm we must face as leaders to rise to greater heights. Like an eagle, a leader can only rise to greater heights if he or she takes up the challenges head on without running away from it. Yet, another leadership characteristics.
5. EAGLES TEST BEFORE TRUSTING
The female eagle during courtship always takes a male eagle into the air after picking up a twig from the ground and dropping it from a certain height for the male to chase it. Once the male catches hold of it and brings back, the female flies into a higher altitude and drops it in the same way. This is repeated until the female gets an assurance that the male has mastered the art of seriously picking up the twigs in real love and affection. Once they get hooked up in trust, the father and the mother eagle mate for life. They also work together as parents. On this note, believe this or not. Eagles are known for their aggression. They are absolutely ferocious aren’t they? Anyone who doesn’t have a total knowledge of this great bird will say yes. What is more astonishing with this bird is their ability to nurture their young ones. Research has shown that no member of the bird family is more gentle and attentive to its young ones than the eagles. This is how it happens. When the mother eagle sees that time has come for it to teach the eaglets to fly, she gathers an eaglet onto her back, and spreading her wings, flies high. Suddenly she swoops out from under the eaglet and allows it to fall. As it falls, it gradually learns what its wings are for until the mother catches it once again. The process is repeated. If the young is slow to learn or cowardly, she returns it to the nest, and begins to tear it apart, until there is nothing left for the eaglet to cling to. Then she nudges him off the cliff. True leaders are not bosses. They grow with their people. They strive to make individuals in the organization or society grow to their full ability. They teach and guide just like the mother eagle does. They never stop giving challenges but never give-up empowering and directing.
6. EAGLES TRAIN THEIR CHILDREN TO MATURITY
Eagles always build their nests on high places where enemies cannot easily reach. God always by His sovereign power sets his weak and lowly in mind children’s in high places far above the reach of the enemy (Matthew 5:3-4; Job 5:11; Psalm 91:14). A male eagle picks up thorns and lays them on the cliff as an outer shell of protection, and then it brings twigs to form another layer over it for ruggedness and agility. Again it places a layer of thorns over it to prevent enemies penetrating it, and then places a layer of soft-grass just before the inner most layer. The finishing touches for the nest are completed using its feathers placed over the outermost layers of rugs.
7. EAGLES RETREAT TO REGENERATE WHEN NEEDED
When eagles get older and weak because of worn out feathers, which slow down flight speed and maneuvers, the eagles retire away in the rocks and will pluck all their old feathers until it is completely bare. It waits until a new set of feather grows and comes out of his body. It stays in the hiding place until all the new feathers comes back to make it fly dynamically and royally again without much effort or toil. This happens at about the age of 30. What happens is that when the eagles reach the age of 30, their physical body condition deteriorates fast making it difficult for them to survive. What is really interesting is that the eagle never gives up living, instead he eagle retreats to a mountaintop and over a five month period goes through a metamorphosis. It knocks off its own beak by banging it against a rock, plucks out its talons and then feathers. Each stage produces a regrowth of the removed body parts, allowing the eagle to live for another 30 – 40 years. There are times in your life as a leader that you must look back and take stock of your life. The good and the bad experiences you have been through as a leader. Are you keeping in trend with the current knowledge trend? Do you need to improve your certain areas in your life as a leader? Great leaders are the ones that always do “checks and balances” of their personal and professional lives and make an effort to learn new things every day.
These are highly effective habits of Eagles. May we all live royally as eagles and soar in our faith for the Glory of God in our end time generation and in the process, help add value to the Body of Christ and the society at large.