The Strangers Among Us

It happens every autumn. Well, actually, it happens all year long but it happens more in the fall of the year. Each fall wandering eagles roam through the area and trespass in Jim and Cindy’s domain. Eventually Jim will “encourage” them to mosey along and sometimes those encounters can become pretty confrontational.

Earlier this week a young adult Bald Eagle came passing through the Dayton area. It was a lone bird of about 4 or 5 years of age. This is the perfect age for an eagle to find a mate and search for a territory of their own. As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the areas that the eagles love to fish is the Deed’s Point area, where the Stillwater and Mad Rivers flow into the Great Miami River. (This is where the last eagle nest in Dayton was abandoned in 1938 so it has a long history of providing good hunting for hungry eagles.) It is just below the I-75 and Ohio Route 4 interchange. As I drove through that interchange on Tuesday I found a large adult eagle circling low in the sky, just beside the highway. After a quick exit and several quick turns I found this stranger perched in a tree on the western bank of the Great Miami. I also found Roger parked along the eastern bank, looking at his camera’s viewfinder and the amazing images that he had just captured. (The man is an eagle magnet.) Three of those images are posted below.

RGP663 RGP664 RGP665

I have not seen the stranger in the past two days so he may have wandered off, quite possibly with a little encouragement from Jim.


Late last month Roger captured several images of a first year juvenile at Huffman Lake. After looking closely at those images he noticed a malformation of the youngster’s lower beak. The picture below is very grainy because it has been severely cropped but it does show the juvie’s dilemma.
We do not believe that this is one of Jim and Cindy’s 2013 eaglets as none of our previous images show the protruding lower beak. I have talked to Betty Ross of The Glen Helen Raptor Center about this juvenile and the situation has been reported to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. There are two interrelated schools of thought regarding the cause of this deformity and they involve environmental and genetic issues. The youngster will have some extra challenges in life but seemed healthy and able to hunt and feed on its own. It has since moved on.


I wanted to share these images with you to illustrate how interesting things can become in the autumn and winter as the eagle population in Ohio continues to rebound. As I am fond of saying, “Life in the wild is wild.” but it is also extremely interesting. It is not always pretty but it is always fascinating, whether you are looking at old friends or the strangers among us.

Published in: on November 15, 2013 at 4:20 am  Comments (10)  

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That juvie reminds me of Buddy, from Norfolk nest. He had the avian pox and was removed from the nest when he was about a week old. He now is an ambassador Wildlife Center of Virginia. They have to file his beak the rest of his life, but anyway his beak does the same thing. Sure hope this little guy/gal has a full long life. Sorry for the rambling.

  2. We have a 1st year juvie here in Point Place, OH who has a clubbed foot. We’ve been trying to keep track of him and the last photo I was able to get of him flying low in the sky showed his under parts and I could see the deformed foot. He appears to be healthy also but I always worry and feel bad that not all eagles born will live to a good old age.

  3. Thanks,…getting excited. This is what gets my husband and I through the winter months.

  4. This young eagle with the beak issue is one of the most interesting of any young or older eagle I’ve ever seen. I guess he has figured out how to survive; thankfully. The amazing thing is to have the gift of reading about this and seeing this photo. Thanks. .

  5. Jim, I so enjoy your observations on the eagles. And I’m looking forward to all your posts to come ! Gives us all something to look forward to..Thanks again…….

  6. It occurs too often Jannice. Life has all kinds of challenges.

  7. I imagine that foot is a real problem Julie. It may be able to catch pray with one good foot but it probably has to eat on the ground as the foot clutching dinner would not be much help in holding onto a perch and an eagle on the ground is vulnerable to predators.

  8. I’m excited too Joy!

  9. Thank you for your comments Clondres. It is a real blessing to be able to watch our local eagles and learn from them.

  10. Thank you Opal. As I promised you, I will check on the aerie tomorrow morning after the wind and storms subside.

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