The Unwelcome Mat

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Roger was able to capture the amazing series of images above on Sunday evening just as the snow was moving into the area. Although the images were captured from a distance of around 1/2 mile in hazy lighting, the story they tell is fascinating. The action shown transpired in mere seconds but illustrates so well what we have been saying about how, with the hatching of the new eaglets,  Jim and Cindy would remove the Welcome Mat that their previous eaglets had grown accustomed to seeing.

In the images you can see what appears to be one of the three 2012 juveniles land in the tree just above the nest as it had probably done many times before. This time Mom and Dad were not so accommodating. You can see Jim just to the left of the nest voicing his disapproval as the youngster lands and as Cindy defensively covers the nursery with her wings. Then Cindy is shown in the nest screaming a warning as well before she instantly launches from the new eaglets like a rocket and the startled youngster takes off. The chase is on! As Cindy pursues the juvenile well out of the area as Jim assumes brooding duties back at the nest.

These encounters are always extremely fast and very forceful. They never fail to get my adrenaline flowing and I can only imagine how the eagles feel! Each time that I witness one of these encounters I wonder what goes through the shocked mind of the young one. There were times as a child that my own Mom and Dad were quite upset with me but I usually knew why, and I always deserved their disapproval. This youngster was doing what it had done so many times before but this time things were different. Another piece of the wild side of wildlife.

When people ask me how Roger captures his great pictures I always credit three things; his God-given talent, his quality camera with that big lens and his commitment to be there when it counts. Thank you again Roger for being in the right place at the right time and for sharing your images with us all.

If you watch the online, live-video feed then you have noticed that one of the cameras appeared not to be working over the last few days. It was working, but its heater was not. Ice had formed over the lens, obstructing the view. The ice appears to be melting today and the heater will be repaired when the snow melts and the resulting mud hardens enough to support the weight of a bucket truck.

As the snowfall tapers off, the aerie is intact but snowy. We have received around 6 to 8 inches of snow and the old sycamore has once again proven itself to be a trustworthy guardian of the young life cradled in its upper boughs. Therefore the adventure continues.

Published in: on March 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As I read both of your recent posts it makes me aware of all the challenges that Jim and Cindy face with each season. The threat of snow and wind is such a scary thought. I can’t imagine since you live so close, how hard it must have been to go to sleep last night and pray the nest would survive. I saw the photos and had a question about the young eagle who was trespassing. Why didn’t Jim fly towards the juvenile and chase it away. It left the nest exposed for a few seconds. Thanks again to Roger for his awesome photos and to you for keeping us informed. Can’t wait for the next one. Polly.

  2. I had the same question Polly. Maybe it was her turn. Maybe she said, “I got this!” Maybe last year’s eaglets are more afraid of Mom than Dad. I suspect that Cindy knew that if she took off after the juvenile, Jim would go to the nest and she could have a few minutes of not hearing, “I’m hungry! Feed me! I’m gonna starve!” Whatever the reason, Jim was right there and ready to keep the eaglets warm and protected.

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