Beginning to Roam

The hot, arid weather of the past few months has had an effect on everyone, including our local eagles. Even after several fairly heavy showers and thunderstorms last week and a slight decrease in temperature over the past few days, smaller ponds and lakes are noticeably lower than normal. Even the Mad River is looking a bit malnourished these days.

We visited the well field early Saturday morning to check on the welfare of our Bald Eagle family. The sun had just emerged above the eastern horizon and greeted us with  a spectacular palette of various shades of red. A welcomed coolness in the air, missing for far too long, added to the beauty of the new dawn. As we watched the ducks, heron and geese explore the otherwise glassy water, the rose-colored sky transitioned slowly into a sea of gold. It is that  time of day when you can find yourself standing awestruck by the sheer beauty and magic of nature.

A lone eaglet flew into view, attempted to land on a protected utility pole but apparently changed its mind and disappeared back over the treeline.

Other animals were all around us. Some were just starting their day while others were returning to places of seclusion and solitude for a quiet time of rest. A shy Whitetail doe cautiously passed by, freezing for a few moments to watch us before raising her flag and bounding away. In the shallows of the river a parade of Whitetail bucks drank, splashed and locked antlers in mock battle as several ducks waded nearby. A mother raccoon watched the action as she hunted for breakfast among the half-submerged stones and her three babies watched from the base of the river bank.

The juvenile eagles have been harder to find lately. They are beginning to roam, no longer constantly together and not always tagging along behind Dad. This indicates that they have likely learned to successfully fish on their own, although no one has yet seen them do so. Cindy has been AWOL for quite a while. It is common for her to wander off after the eaglets fledge the nest and leave most of the training to Jim.

But as we watched the area of Eagle Lake, one of several lakes within the well field, two adult eagles passed overhead and headed towards the waterfall created by the low dam a little farther upstream. There we found Jim sitting in one of his favorite lofty perches, silently looking out over his domain. The other eagle was nowhere to be found. We hoped and assumed that it was Cindy but we were unable to make a definite identification. It is always a bit of a relief when an adult returns to the area. There are so many threats to their health and safety that the longer the absence lasts the more we begin to grow concern.

We have also heard reports of a year-old juvenile regularly fishing the waters of the Great Miami River in the area. It may be Pride, the surviving 2011 juvenile. For now we are content with the progress of the juveniles and the outlook for all six the eagles of Eastwood.

Published in: on July 30, 2012 at 3:02 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Another wonderfully written post! I always enjoy reading these, and often times read them multiple times. I am very curious as to where these photos are taken from? Whenever I have the chance, I park my car in Eastwood Lake right along Harshman and face across Harshman to watch the skies for any activity. Is this a valid location? I try to put myself in the photos to figure out where they’re taken from, but I’m always unsure. Thanks again for these updates on these beautiful creatures!


  2. Thank you for your kind words. They are beautiful creatures indeed. The location that you mentioned in your comment provides the best opportunity for public viewing. The eagles can often be seen from Route 4 as they are now staying on the eastern end of the large lake east of Harshman, not far from Route 444. (Of course parking along the highway is not permitted.) They sometimes fish Huffman Lake, east of the dam so the top of the dam at times provides a great spot to watch for a passing eagle. The “right place at the right time” scenario comes into play anytime you are trying to watch or photograph wildlife, and sometimes the “right time” means spending a lot of time just patiently waiting. Some of our pictures are taken inside of the well field which is closed to the general public. Because of our partnership with The City of Dayton Water Department, The Boonshoft Museum, ODNR and others, we are occasionally granted access to monitor the eagles and to check on their wellfare. This is an extremely important task at times, like when DP&L crews or others are working in the area or after a major wind storm. Knowing that this access is a great privilege that is not available to others, we try to capture images of the eagles not only to document their progress but to share the experience with other eagle fans through our postings here and on the Boonshoft web site. Helping to educate others and sharing the experience through the articles and pictures was the main motivation behind the birth of this blog.

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