One Happy Family

When we released the recuperated eaglet this summer we were a bit concerned. Its injured wing had healed nicely and Cindy welcomed it home within a few minutes but as she and her eaglet disappeared behind the trees I wondered about how it would get along in the weeks and months to come. Only time would tell.

In the ensuing days, as we watched the skies above the well field and searched the nearby treetops looking for sightings of the young Bald Eagle, questions and doubts haunted the back of my mind, lurking in the shadows of my thoughts: How was the youngster injured in the first place? Was the once-damaged wing prone to further injury? Would its sibling accept it after its week-long absence? Would it be able to make up for the time it had lost during the crucial period of flying and hunting training under Jim’s expert instruction? Often we would see a juvenile sitting with Jim or Cindy and many times a juvie would be spotted flying with them over Eagle Lake, but it was always one juvenile. Just one. Since all first year juveniles look pretty much the same, how could we know if it was the same young eagle every time or if we were seeing two different birds? We so wanted to see both juveniles together so we would know with certainty that the injured bird had indeed survived. You can successfully put thoughts like these out of your mind for a while but you long to settle the question once and for all.

Jim and Cindy’s behavior is running about two weeks behind last year’s schedule, but then last year everything was running a little earlier than the previous years. Unanswered questions can feed lingering doubts and lingering doubts can lead to unwanted anxiety. Today as I sat in the comfort of my heated car at Huffman Lake watching the assortment of waterfowl through a thin layer of wet snowflakes melting on my windshield, I found myself reminiscing about the past few months. Suddenly the sky was full of agitated sea gulls. They exploded from the surface of the lake with a reckless abandon that could only mean one thing, an eagle was hunting in the area. A few seconds passed before I saw the dark, flat form of a juvenile Bald Eagle flying through the franticly parting gulls. As it approached the water’s surface it extended its feet and legs forward and flared its talons for the catch. With barely a splash it pulled a glistening fish from beneath the wet, glassy plane and headed directly to the seclusion and privacy of a leafy limb on a tree across the lake. I was impressed. As it began to dine the pace of the still-startled gulls quickened again and another dark form glided silently just above the water. A second juvenile eagle was streaking across the lake and heading right at the contented diner! The second young one swooped up into the tree where it was welcomed with a brief flurry of flapping wings and a bit of scolding chatter before the second juvenile moved on to another limb!

Two first-year Bald Eagles! But were they our two? I did not need to ponder that question for long because the gull alarm soon flashed again. Cindy came in high and perched herself squarely between the two and the second juvie set off to catch a fish of its own. Those lingering doubts vanished with the realization that both eaglets had survived and were prospering. As I sat there smiling Jim flew in and landed right next to Cindy. (A quick text to Roger and he too swooped in.) For another hour our shutters sang as we watched them perch, fish, eat and play as the restless gulls found little, if any, peace. Occasionally I exited the car to find a better angle for my camera but telephoto pictures taken by shivering hands are not very useful. So I retreated again to the relative warmth of the heated car.

My hands may have been cold but my heart was warm as I smiled out of the open window at one happy family.

The arrival of the second hungry Juvie wanting its sibling's catch.

The arrival of the second hungry Juvie wanting its sibling’s catch.

Beautiful baby.

Beautiful baby.

"Not my fish Kiddo!"

“Not my fish Kiddo!”

Cindy welcoming (?) Jim to her perch.

Cindy welcoming (?) Jim to her perch.

Great Blue Bystander.

Great Blue Bystander.

Happy trio.

Happy trio.

Jim

Jim

Sibling rivalry.

Sibling rivalry.

Parental guidance.

Parental guidance.

Lovebirds.

Lovebirds.

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Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 11:55 pm  Comments (19)  

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a glorious, happy story. I’m so glad the injured eaglet is doing well – glad that the entire family is doing well!

  2. Thank you for sharing your day with the Eagles. I love to read these posts and see the pictures. It makes my day!

  3. OMG How wonderful & exciting to hear this. Thank you so much for this very special post. I am so happy you & Roger were able to watch the family.

  4. It was a relief to see them all together, Carolyn. Jim and Cindy are staying close together so that bodes well for 2014! I always feel a little sad when they chase off the previous years eaglets during the new nesting season.

  5. Thank you for tagging along with us Kathy. I am sure that there is much more to come.

  6. I am glad that you enjoyed it Jannice! Seeing them all together made our days too.

  7. Thanks so much! The Eagles are what gets me and my husband thru the winter months.

  8. How exciting!!! As always, thanks for sharing! A picture (thanks to Roger, Jim and Ray) is worth a thousand words; especially if they are “EagleJim” words:) I look forward to more experiences with Jim, Cindy and siblings…

  9. All’s well that ends well. Now on to 2014!

  10. Great post Jim, thanks to you and Roger for a wonderful year of stories and breathtaking pictures.

  11. I am so excited to find this site. I love reading & seeing the pictures of (as I call them) my EAGLES. Wish I could be there with you when you get to see the exciting things they do. It’s to bad that you can’t contact all of us when you find them.. Keep up the great work & I will keep watching for it.

  12. Awesome pictures as usual!! I am so happy that you saw the Jim and Cindy eagle family together!!! As you get to see them often, it really means a lot to me when you describe their activities and family
    bonding!! So exciting and knowing that Jim and Cindy are together really makes me happy. Please keep sending the pictures and your posts! They are much appreciated Jim!!!!!! Thanks so much!!!! Polly.

  13. Thank you Joy! I’m glad that I can help.

  14. Thanks again KeeKee!

  15. Onward and upwards Lana!

  16. Thank you Gary.

  17. Thank you for joining us in this adventure Joyce!

  18. We plan on doing just that Polly. We love to share Jim and Cindy with everyone. Some days they hide, some days they tease us and other days they thrill us!

  19. I was so happy to read this [I’d followed the injured young one months back and then forgot] and just found this update. Lovely to see the photos. What a great team you guys make. ‘One Happy Family’ has to include you two as well. Thanks.


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