So What Happens Now?

Someone recently asked me, “Ok, Pride is hunting on his own, so what happens now?”

 Well, since this is the first time that Jim and Cindy have successfully fledged an eaglet from their nest, many things could happen. What we do know is that it is going to be an adventure. And we also know what has happened in the past years. Jim and Cindy have disappeared for days or weeks at a time on little hunting trips. They usually return within a day or two of each other and hang around the home territory for a while before leaving on another short excursion. Last year during late September through late November, when they were in town, they both spent time fishing the waters of Huffman Lake on the eastside of Huffman Dam. As the leaves fell, visibility improved and so did the opportunity for capturing a decent image of a Bald Eagle in the wild. Each day just before dusk they would leave Huffman Lake and fly back to the well field, flying low over the dam as they made their way home. A patient photographer set up on the spillway side of the dam may be able to capture a few very nice images. To the east you may catch a good level shot of an approaching eagle and to the west, an eagle sailing off into the sunset.

In late November through January you may be able to witness the amazing courtship ritual of Jim and Cindy. They typically begin by spending more and more time together, and interacting with each other, as the weather turns colder and the days grow shorter. Often they will perch side-by-side in a tree. Sometimes one might bring the other a fish. Sometimes they will follow one another back and forth across the lakes. This activity intensifies into the two of them lazily circling above the area, gradually gaining altitude until they are barely visible in the sky. Inevitably you will lose track of them until you glimpse a tiny dark speck in front of a white cloud only to lose track of it again as it passes into the blue of the sky. You may catch sight of one of them streaking across the sky in a peregrinesque dive. Or you may suddenly see one of them low above the lake again and have absolutely no idea how you missed its descent. But if your lucky, if you are really, really lucky, you will witness the two eagles as they fly side by side, high in the sky, until one flips over onto its back and the two of them lock talons! They will “hold hands” with each other as they tumble through the sky, plummeting downward together with ever-increasing speed. Then, a few hundred feet above the ground, they will release and sail away together. It can give you goosebumps, or eaglebumps.

During December through February both Jim and Cindy will be carrying large sticks back to the nest, or nests. They typically will work on around three separate nests before they finally decide on a home for the season. Often, Jim will bring a stick to the aerie and drop it off. While he hunts for more timber, Cindy will weave the previously delivered stick into the nest. Those nests can grow year by year becoming more and more massive as time passes. An eagle aerie can be 8 to 12  feet across, just as deep, and weigh 2 tons or more! Some grow even larger!

The new factor this year is Pride. He (or she, we really don’t know for sure) most likely will hang around the area becoming less and less attached to its parents and more and more independent. He may drift off with other passing juvenile eagles  and never come back. He may drift away and then reappear a few days later. He may stay in the area until Jim drives him off as the new nesting season draws near.

Whatever happens now, it will be fun to watch. It will be educational. It will be something that past generations of Daytonians have missed out on seeing for far too long. The eagles have returned to Dayton and whatever happens now, the Eastwood Eagle Watchers will be watching. Please feel free to join us. Introduce yourself and we can watch the unfolding adventure together.

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Published in: on August 22, 2011 at 12:58 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. So Whatever Happens, The Camera Man will be there to catch it if he can!

  2. I am very excited to know that they winter here as well! I assumed they went to warmer areas for fishing. Thank you Eastwood Eagle Watchers for being our eyes into the world of this magnificent Eagle Family in Dayton, OH:)


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