Wings Above The Well Field

Still feeding the juvies.

Still feeding the juvies.

Did someone order duck?

Did someone order duck?

Now that both of Jim and Cindy’s 2013 eaglets have fledged from the aerie, I find a smile on my lips and a hint of sadness in my eyes.

There have been seven eaglets that have taken wing from the rim of their nests in the last three years, and at the end of each nesting season I find myself celebrating the thrill of their success. All life is precious. But after being on the brink of extinction, each young Bald Eagle that survives that first flight carries with it the promise of another tomorrow for these majestic birds of prey. A tomorrow filled with hope and possibilities that had come so close to slipping through or fingers forever. If you have ever peered awestruck into the heavens and watched the mesmerizing sight of a Bald Eagle slowly and effortlessly circling higher and higher into the blue sky, then you have experienced the joy that would have vanished with them. If you have witnessed that sight then you will remember reflecting on the perfection of its design, the gracefulness of its flight and the excitement in your own heart as you were taking it all in. You will recall how the sunlight would illuminate that white head and tail making them appear like a brilliant, flash of lightning as the lazy circles grew ever higher. You will recall straining your eyes to find the tiny speck in the blue, losing sight of it for a moment, only to find it again as it seems to brush the bottom of a cottony cloud. You will also remember the pain in your neck, the smile on your face and the joy in your heart as the eagle high above you finally dissolved into the vapors of the atmosphere.

There, hidden in the very joy of that moment, is a hint of sadness from knowing that the experience has ended. This is the sadness reflected in my eyes as I view the empty nest. (It was one year ago this week that Jim and Cindy’s previous nest was blown from that treetop by violently raging winds.) It took weeks of construction for that new nest to slowly take on the grandeur of an eagle’s aerie. There is where Cindy laid her eggs in its soft carpet of grasses and evergreen twigs. There is where both eagles carefully and faithfully incubated the fragile eggs, through snow and wind and rain, for 35 days. There is where new life emerged amid the March chill and where frail chicks morphed into awkward eaglets and then slowly began to take on the majestic beauty of their caretakers. This was the nest that was so valiantly and courageously defended from all possible threats, even those posed by Jim and Cindy’s past eaglets. This nest was a hive of activity, of flapping and hovering, of calling out and dining in, of watching and learning. Now it is a silent and still mass of sticks in the top of a Sycamore tree.

In the past, Cindy has disappeared from the area after the eaglets have fledged leaving Jim the duties of feeding the hungry juveniles and teaching the novice flyers how to hunt and fish on their own. They will spend most of their time perched in the trees far from the public’s eyes, deep within their domain. This will be the first real test for the avian protection devices that our local power company has installed on many of the utility poles in the area to protect the eaglets from the unseen threat of electrocution.

That is where we are in this cycle. Soon the young ones will be graceful flyers and learned hunters. Then in August or September they may become only occasional visitors to the area. The process may have become predictable but I pray that I will always feel a thrill at the sight of eagle’s wings above the well field.

Published in: on June 27, 2013 at 3:38 am  Comments (14)  

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nice! Eloquently written!

  2. Jim,

    Are you writing a book on OUR eagles by any chance? If not, you should. Your writing skills are only matched by Roger’s photographic skills. What a team you’d make:) I’ll buy the first edition!!!

  3. Thank you Tom. I find the subject matter very inspiring and I hope that comes across in my posts.

  4. When I was a kid, my Dad would take us all to Lake Erie and camp out for a week or two, each summer. Wow is all I could say, the fishing, the nature, the Birds. We always took our old Greyhound bus that he redid and made it in to a traveling home… We always parked in the wilderness next to the lake; before it was habited by other people and now it is a tourist attraction, and I could go out every morning and watch a nest or two or three of Bald Eagles, across the lake, of course with Binoculars, but I was awe struck by these beautiful birds, and to this day I still am awe struck. It brings goose bumps to my skin and tears to my eyes when I get a chance to see Jim or Cindy. I travel down route 4 to go to see my daughter in New Carlisle, and I always look for them, sometimes I get very lucky and can see them really close up…. What a beautiful site, people do not realize what a magnificent creature God has made, they are majestic, beautiful birds. I pray they never leave us.

    Thank you for sharing Jim and Cindy with us, I love seeing that email pop up and knowing more good news has come my way about these awesome birds.

    Have a wonderful day..

    Mrs. Jan Gabbard

  5. We have discussed putting a book together KeeKee, but we doubt that it would be a very profitable endeavor. However, profit (or at least breaking even) may be an important and necessary factor but would not be our only motivation to consider before attempting to capture Jim and Cindy’s story on paper. We do invest many hours doing what we do and my wife (being an extremely practical woman) has often asked me (sometimes emphatically) if there was any way that that investment of time and effort could reap a financial reward.

  6. Thank you for your comment Jan! So many wonderful memories are indelibly etched on our hearts by family and friends while enjoying nature together, cherished memories that still bring a tear of joy to our eyes decades later. I fear that many miss that blessing today as they rush to and fro and spend hours in the virtual reality of TV and computer screens and miss the “real reality” just on the other side of their window pane. God intended that the beauty of the natural world that He had created would inspire, refresh and restore us as we reflect on His perfect design, incomprehensible imagination and unlimited love for us. The Bald Eagle reflects those attributes so beautifully.

  7. Can’t help but be a little melancholy at this time. It’s been a beautiful experience to watch these beautiful babies grow up. And I’m already looking forward to next year, hopefully to see the whole process start over again. Thanks for the memories Mr. Jim. You’re a beautiful writer and you made all this come alive for us that can’t see the actual events take place. God Bless You……

  8. Why thank you Opal. Don’t be too blue, there is more adventure ahead!

  9. I have surely enjoyed reading all your blogs this year. Have not been out to see the eagles this year as in the past but have driven by several times. Keep up the good work! By the way, I used to work with your sister-in-law, nice lady.

  10. I was prepared, I had my Puff tissues ready! I read all the other posts and feel the same as all the other eagle lovers. What you and all the others provide for us with words, pictures, and true passion, we thank you so much!!. This time in the eagles lives, it is happy and sad, but part of Gods plan. It’s like sending one of my children off to college and hope and pray I have taught them well to deal with all life throws at them! I know Jim and Cindy have done an excellent job and can’t wait for the next adventure that you share with us!! Thank you Jim! Polly.

  11. You’ve pretty much nailed it Polly!

  12. Your eagle description of sadness and smiles describes our Saturday visit to Eastwood. As we looked to the distant nest only to see it empty, only a lone coyote just across Harshman Rd watched us though the fence wandering what we were doing. Disappointed that our travels to see an eagle was in vain. As we traveling down the road I noticed a white beacon in the tree top at the east end of well field, there was Cindy. She stayed gazing down at the pond to the south then look back at direction of the nest. This back and forth continued only to be disrupted swooping redwing blackbird.
    As I sit here looking at my photos it I noticed that she sitting in the same tree and on the same branch of previous photos taken months ago. Then I remembered that when used to watch the eagles at Englewood they would always be feeding from the same tree. What another enjoyable visit to our eagle friends.

  13. I am so glad you enjoy the blog Donna. Thank you for tagging along with us. (We only let nice people marry into our family. They may not be to bright since they join voluntarily, but they are nice.)

  14. Glad you were able to see her Ron. They definitely do have their favorite trees. (That coyote family includes 5 pups right now.)

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