The Wonders of Winter

Our girl, Cindy

Our girl, Cindy

Always together.

Always together.

Side by side.

Side by side.

Sunrise companions.

Sunrise companions.

As 2013 begins, winter has once again gripped the Dayton, Ohio area in its icy fingers, and as much as I despise the tingling digits and crystal-laden breaths, Bald Eagles seem to enjoy it. In fact, they embrace it with an unbridled enthusiasm.

But winter brings with it a number of challenges too. Our lakes are beginning to freeze over and the ice is steadily becoming a barrier between hunter and prey. As the ice thickens on the surface of the water, Jim and Cindy will  fish the open water just off the edge of the ice shelf. They will stand peering into the moving water and eventually pounce on an unlucky fish that slowly swims by. They will also be fishing the remaining unfrozen waters of the local rivers. These limited resources make eagle watching a bit more predictable. The growing ice is however forcing the pair into more populated areas. Each morning at sunrise, they are fishing the waters of The Great Miami River in downtown Dayton. This has been their pattern for four winters now. They wisely stay over the water or in the trees along the river and shy away from the commuters, interstate highways and office buildings.

The chilled air of January and February also brings with it the time to mate. With the winter solstice behind us and the days slowly lengthening, they know that the promise of spring is hidden somewhere in all of that cold. The inseparable Jim and Cindy can still be found perched side by side, following each other across the sky or working together enlarging the nest. As the river and lake ice thickens they may be seen mating on the frozen surface of the water.

One of their three 2012 eaglets is still in the area. Today as I was watching Cindy perched in a tree along the north shore of Huffman Lake, the juvenile flew by. Cindy saw the 9-month-old approaching well before I noticed it. The youngster passed 20 feet over her head as they called to each other. It then made two low circles over the lake before flying off in the direction of the well field. As the 2013 nesting season begins next month, Jim and Cindy will most likely chase the juvenile away.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is behind us and our human schedules have slowed to a less hectic pace. Meanwhile time marches ever onward and the wildlife of North America prepares itself for the coming of spring. Winter is a part of that natural circle of time. I hope that you can get out and enjoy this season of challenge and promise, this period of rest and restoration. If you are unable to venture out into the cold, may you at least find the time to sit with a warm beverage and gaze out of a window and partake of the wonders of winter.

Published in: on January 4, 2013 at 5:28 am  Comments (6)  

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Jim, I love reading these updates. You write so elegantly and its soothing, like a bedtime story. Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Love reading your post. Can’t wait to read the next one.

  3. These shots are UNBELIEVABLE!! Great job… again. Thanks SO much for sharing!!

  4. Thank you Tina. I am glad that you enjoy my postings. It is so easy to write with emotion when writing about these magnificent creatures. Each captured glimpse of an eagle in the wild is inspirational!

  5. Thank you for traveling along with us all. Never knowing what joy and challenges that the next day will bring for this pair of Bald Eagles adds to the excitement and drama of watching their story unfold. Their tenacity and fortitude is inspirational.

  6. I could not agree with you more! I know that you realize how difficult it is to capture even decent images of these two. The time and effort that Roger commits to Jim and Cindy really shows! I told him that he must have been giddy with excitement knowing that these images were captured in his camera.

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