What About Pride?

The never-ending need for nourishment continues to compel our Bald Eagles to fish the waters near the well field. Life in the wild is a wild life. Survival depends on feeding, shelter and staying healthy. The loss of any one of these three factors can lead to certain doom. As the cold and snow of winter is upon us, the challenges of survival have increased. Frozen lakes cannot yield fish, days and nights of frigid temperatures and frost and snow can lead to a loss of body heat and declining health. Frostbite, even in just on toe, could prove fatal as an eagles feet and talons are their only hunting tool. A nest, no matter how large, has no roof and is a poor shelter from the elements, so the only real shelter available for the eagles are the deeper recesses of nearby trees or perhaps a cozy roost under the aerie itself. Once the eggs are laid, one of the eagles will be in the nest constantly even if it means being covered by a wet blanket of snow.

Jim and Cindy have shown that they are ready for the challenges that winter brings. The Mad River rarely freezes and ducks, squirrels, raccoons and other prey abound. They fluff up their feathers and make full use of the insulating pockets of air to fight off the chill. They instinctively know how to survive but experience has also taught them a thing or two.

But what about Pride? Two days ago, while I was at Eastwood Lake, a large juvenile Bald Eagle crossed over Harshman Road and landed in a tree on the northeast corner of the lake. Was it Pride? Our young eagle will be one year old on April 4th. It could have been Pride. I tried to get a better view of the bird but the angle of the setting sun and the reflection of its orange rays on the lake water made a closer look impossible. I began thinking about what a struggle and time of testing the next few months will be for Pride. All the instincts that are needed for survival are there but this is a winter of harsh education for the young eagle. This is where the experience is gained. It has already survived 6 months longer than its brother, Spirit, and in that period it has learned so much. Now comes one of the hardest tests of all. My hope is that this spring we see a young eagle interacting with Jim and Cindy and have at least some assurance that Pride has passed the test with “flying” colors!

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Published in: on January 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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