Waiting and Watching

Cindy incubating from 1/2 mile away.

Cindy incubating from 1/2 mile away.

Sunset hunter.

Sunset hunter.

Mute Swans passing through.

Mute Swans passing through.

Red Tail hunting from the tower.

Red Tail hunting from the tower.

Waiting and watching. Watching and waiting. Trusting in the knowledge that our Bald Eagles have proven themselves to be dependable and capable when it comes to incubation duties, but wishing that there was just a little more to see.

The deep recesses of this year’s nest all but hides the adult inside from the eyes of our two online video cameras, but patient observers will occasionally see movement as the eggs are gently repositioned and as the adult carefully settles back down atop the precious clutch. And there is also the short-lived flurry of activity as the second adult arrives at the nest to take its turn incubating and as the sitting adult flies off to hunt. With insufficient sycamore above the nest to accommodate a camera aimed at its floor, this is our lot. A minute of excitement and then more waiting and watching.

But unseen by the fixed video lens, just out of frame, spring is secretly creeping back into the well field like a filtered sunbeam on an overcast, sullen day. The neighboring Red Tails, affectionately known as Ringo and Ruby, can often be seen hunting from the tops of nearby poles or an antenna tower or from the lower limbs of aged trees. The lake at Eastwood is the temporary home of hundreds of ducks of various kinds. (It strikes me as funny that the ducks seldom bother to land on the surface of Eagle Lake, just a stone’s throw from the aerie. It is much more protected from human disturbance and, until a few years ago, it was the prefered resting spot for water fowl migrating through the area. Perhaps it is just a tad too close to the center of the eagles’ domain.) Coots, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, Lesser Scaups, Gadwalls, Teals, Buffleheads and Shovelers glitter on the water’s surface mixing with the ever-present Mallards, Canada Geese and the transient Mute Swans. Even a passing Ross Goose and Snow Goose have made an appearance. The woodpeckers, Downey, Pileated, Red Bellied and the like, are drumming in the tops of the naked trees. A Great Horned Owl has been seen indignantly watching or comings and goings from a stand of broken, cavity-laden trees and occasionally is forced to endure the noisy heckling of a handful of argumentative crows. And it seems like each day brings a few more Great Blue Herons back to the well field rookeries. March will soon usher back the first few Osprey and many more songbirds. Spring is slowly, teasingly, returning to the area.

Along with the spring will come the owlets, ducklings, goslings, chicks, fawns, pups and kits of 2013. But I am waiting and watching for eaglets, those amazing hatchlings that grow from damp, downy, limp, exhausted, tiny escapees from eggshell-prisons to magnificently large, powerful, birds of prey in 2 short months. I look forward to counting the big-beaked fuzzy head peeking over the rim of the nest to catch their first glimpse of the world far below. Will there be one, two, three or even four? We will have to see them all at once to be sure that our count is accurate. And poor Jim and Cindy will be run ragged feeding their hungry brood and hunting for themselves as well.

It is hard for me to believe that just 5 years ago spring for me only meant flowers and buds and songbirds. What a blessing it is to witness this recovery first hand! How wonderful it is that after multiple decades of absence from Dayton, there are Bald Eagles nesting just 2 1/2 miles from my home! What a privilege to be able to spend the last gloomy days of winter waiting and watching, watching and waiting for this miracle to unfold before my eyes!

Published in: on February 28, 2013 at 2:08 am  Comments (10)  

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful commentary Jim. Appreciate you keeping us updated in such an inspiring way. Carlene Harley

  2. Thank you Carlene. I am glad that you enjoy the postings. The activity at the nest is slow right now and will slow down even more as Jim and Cindy begin to store up energy as the hatching draws near but it is still such an amazing process to me.

  3. A neighbor sent this posting my way and I must say it has really made
    my day. A great way to start my day reading your fine commentary!
    Jane Henry

  4. Welcome aboard Jane. Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad that you have found us. Just click the “Follow” button on the page and you will be notified of each future posting. May I encourage you to settle somewhere comfy and scan through our previous posts to learn more about these majestic Bald Eagles. Please feel free to share the post with others as the ride is about to get more exciting since the eggs should begin hatching in 21 days!

  5. How exciting and what wonderful pictures thank you for all you do. Sandy


  6. Another wonderful post eaglejim. I hurry home from work and turn on the eagle cam every night. Twice this week I have seen Jim or Cindy fly into the nest and then another head pops up and Jim or Cindy flies off to hunt food. I can’t tell the difference between them yet. I love how softly they land on the nest and move around. The picture of the Red Tail is beautiful, good job Jim Weller! You truely are very fortunate to live so close to all the wild life that co-exist together!! Thanks again,eaglejim. Polly.

  7. Thank you again for the nice comments Polly. I too am amazed at how gentle the can be around the eggs and how tender they appear with each other. I am blessed to be able to watch them daily.

  8. You are welcome Sandy. They are truly inspirational and so amazing to watch.

  9. I am grateful for being directed to this blog. Your words are filled with such beauty and are able to tickle each sense that photos do not do them justice. Thanks Jim.

  10. Thank you Stepanie. Your words are very encouraging. These beautiful creatures are so inspirational that both our words and our photos fall far short of being able to properly capture their beauty in the wild but we are honored to be able to share their story with so many.

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