After Draco

Jim following Cindy.

Jim following Cindy.

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Together in the wintery mist.

Jim through the snow.

Jim through the snow.

Today is the first day of winter and as if on cue, the season arrived with a vengeance as the winter storm named Draco blew through Ohio. Over the past 36 hours we have had extremely windy conditions with frequent gusts of 50 MPH or more that at times made just standing erect a difficult exercise. The wind was accompanied by driving pellets of snowy ice crystals that stung the skin like hundreds of tiny, prickly needles. And then to top it all off, the temperature plummeted 30 degrees in just a few hours.

This was the first real test of our Bald Eagles’ new nest. It was straight-line winds from an early summer storm that buffeted the nesting tree, destroying last year’s nest and snapping off the three adjacent sycamore trees. We were concerned that the new nest may suffer a similar fate at the hands of Draco. Two days ago our adult male, Jim, disappeared. His mate, Cindy, spent hours perched on the limb behind the nest peering off in all directions apparently searching for him. This was a rather unusual behavior and somewhat troubling because the two are virtually inseparable this time of the year. Yesterday, Cindy too disappeared. Knowing that the forecast was calling for severe weather I hoped that she had just gone to ground or had found a sturdy, protective, low perch to provide her with suitable shelter as she rode out the storm.

This morning, as the rising sun made a feeble attempt to burn through the blustery, snow-laden winds, Roger visited Eastwood to evaluated the situation. Through the grey light he could see that the nest was intact, but unoccupied. As he searched the icy mist for any signs of the missing eagles he noticed movement in the air and then the vague form of what appeared to be four large, dark wings struggling against the wind. As he focused his camera he was elated to see Jim and Cindy slowly making their way back towards the well field. As they passed he capture the above images. The muted sunlight and suspended ice crystals made the hazy images almost surreal and eerie as they flew overhead but what an uplifting sight it was! Not only had Cindy found her missing mate but they had weathered the storm and were together again.

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Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 4:46 am  Comments (5)  

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What an amazing story. Thanks so much. So glad they are together and back.

  2. Wonderful to be in the know and thanks so much for this nice story on Cindy and Jim. Cold & blustery here too [Toronto] so understandably concerned he’d disappeared for 2 days. Grateful they’re back and together.

  3. WOW – What a relief!!! SO glad they are okay and back together!!

  4. It is good news indeed. Bald Eagles are amazing. They adapt to any weather in North America, from Alaska to Florida. This side of Lake Erie is far enough north for me! Every year I dislike winter just a little more because it takes me a bit longer to adjust to the cold and by the time I adjust it warms up again.

  5. You said it Kee Kee! They always seem to get back together but with traffic, power lines and other threats, I get worried sometimes. When one vanishes without the other it adds to my fears. BUT they are here, they are healthy and they are very much together!


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