The sea eagle

Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine (in print) was “The Voyages Issue: Photographic dispatches from the extremities of the earth”, with one report from remote parts of Norway: “Majesty on the Wing: Enormous and indefatigable, sea eagles turn their daily hunt into a thrilling display of aerial dominance”. The introductory photo:

(#1) (photographs by Paolo Pellgrin, text by Helen Macdonald)

Notable to me because the sea eagle, or ern(e), is my onomastic totem animal, Arnold being etymologically the ‘eagle’ stem arn-/ern- + a variant of the ‘adult, strong’ stem alt-/ald-. I am eagle-strong (you may snicker at this; most people do). (In defense of my parents, Arnold is a common Swiss-German name; probably no one in the family had any idea of its etymology.)

Totem animals. From Wikipedia:

A sea eagle (also called erne or ern, mostly in reference to the white-tailed eagle) is any of the birds of prey in the genus Haliaeetus in the bird of prey family Accipitridae.

(The generic name is ultimately from Greek hali- ‘sea’ + aetos, aietos ‘eagle’; hali- turns up in English mostly in technical vocabulary referring to salt(s) (like halide).)

The third of my totem animals. The first was the penguin, which came to me by a series of accidents. So it’s just a symbol arbitrarily associated with me. The second — I now consider it my primary totem animal — was the woolly mammoth, to which I have an emotional attachment; for some explanation, see my 7/22/10 posting “Verbatim recall”.

More from the NYT. Main text for the story (other text is associated with each of the other photos):


(The story seems to be available only in an interactive format, with neither text nor photos in ordinary file formats, so I’ve had to take screen shots of everything I want to use here.)

More from yesterday. Yesterday was also Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. In my 9/30/17 posting, “The archangel Michael”, read about angels and archangels; eagles; the name Arnold in more detail; St. Michael as prime among the angels; wingèd men; Zeus and Ganymede; angel-man sex; fallen angels; flying superheroes; vampires and bats; and more. And of course Michaelmas daisies:


2 Responses to “The sea eagle”

  1. John Baker Says:

    Of course, the best-known sea eagle, at least in the United States, is the bald eagle. So, in a sense, Arnold could be seen as a very patriotic American name.

  2. Tim Evanson Says:

    Sea eagle at the Cleveland Zoo

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