Birds of a Feather…

Stick together. And together we came.

Saturday was our Five River MetroParks/Eastwood Eagle Watchers 2nd annual meet the Bald Eagles event at Eastwood Lake MetroPark. Last year’s inaugural event was held on February 3rd, a frigid Superbowl Sunday when a few dozen brave souls joined us in the frozen tundra to shiver together and talk eagles. This year there was more time to plan, schedule and prepare. MetroPark’s Lauren Stayer Asquith had contacted me late last spring to see if we wanted to repeat the event in 2014. She suggested a later, and much warmer, date during the time that Jim and Cindy would be incubating their eggs. The March 8th date fit their schedule as well as Jim and Cindy’s and allowed them to advertise the event in their Pathways publication and on their webpage, plus it allowed them to ask people to preregister so we would have some idea of what to prepare for. They dubbed this year’s event Soaring Eagles and Quacking Ducks Along the Mad River. The plan was that The Eastwood Eagle Watchers would open the festivities and then Lauren would address the waterfowl on Eastwood and Huffman Lakes.

As the date approached two unanticipated factors came into play. The first was that the surface of Eastwood Lake was still 98% frozen from the stubborn winter weather. This left only a small section of open water to attract migrating and local waterfowl. The second factor was that recent rains and melting snow had caused the Mad River to flood into Huffman Lake and although the water had receded, the road that accesses the lake was covered with a slippery layer of mud and therefore had been closed to traffic.

The day before the event just under 50 people had preregistered.

I arrived on Saturday morning an hour before the 10:00 starting time and began setting things up. The 40-degree air and hazy skies carried a welcomed promise of spring. Around 45 minutes later the first few cars began to trickle in. Then the trickle became a stream and the stream became a river of cars. As 10:00 approached the roadway along the eastern end of the lake was lined with parked vehicles. I was thrilled!

Before the start of the activities Lauren counted 120 people with many still arriving! As she started the event she asked the assembled crowd how they had heard about the meeting and again I was thrilled when the majority raised their hands to signify that they had learned of the event through this blog. Thank You! (You see, I am a three-finger-typist. Though each post on our blog flows straight from my heart, through my fingertips and onto this keyboard, I often begin a post at 9 PM and find myself hitting the publish button at 2 AM. I am sooooo sloooow. [Of course there is some editing in there and a few cups of coffee, resulting in a few trips to the bathroom, and our silly Golden Retriever can never decide which side of the back door she prefers to be on.] But it is a labor of love. Sometimes in the stillness of the night and the glow of my laptop’s screen I wonder about if my musings are having an impact. Part of the mission of our group is to educate people about the Bald Eagle and to share Jim and Cindy’s beauty and story, so it was reassuring to know that this blog is meeting those goals.) But my biggest thrill came by seeing the faces of the children as they saw how big an eagle really is or as they tried to view the nest through one of the many scopes aimed in the direction of the well field. They are building memories and relationships with their parents, siblings and nature that will bless them for a lifetime. Here are a few pictures that Roger captured as the group arrived.

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As I began typing (an hour and a half ago [I told you I was slow.]) there were 351 followers of this blog! That means that 351 people have entered their email address into the little box on the right side of this page so they can receive an email notice every time I publish a new post. That too makes me smile because when Lauren introduced me she said that Dayton’s pair of nesting Bald Eagles were “the worst kept secret in town”. I have to agree. I talk to so many people who are surprised to hear about Jim and Cindy. Some look at me like I am pulling their leg. You would think that through Boonshoft, Five River MetroParks, The Eastwood Eagle Watchers and having a 7-foot nest in a tree (not to mention two or more birds with 7-foot wingspans flying along our rivers that parallel our highways) people would catch on.

Thank you all for sharing Jim and Cindy’s story with others. Thank you to all of you who were able to join us on Saturday. Hopefully I will get to meet more of you next year. If you were able to join us please let me know how we did by commenting below or contacting us at eastwoodeaglewatchers@gmail.com.

And a big thank you to Lauren, Roger and Martha for your participation in this event.

Eagle People are truly birds of a feather and I am truly blessed.

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Published in: on March 10, 2014 at 5:08 am  Comments (25)  

25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I couldn’t make it since I had to set up for an event that I was working that evening. As I drove by on Harshman around 10:30 and saw the long line of parked cars and all the people, my jaw dropped. What an awesome sight!

  2. It was a wonderful event I was unable to attend last year so I was pleased you all had a follow-up opportunity this year. Loved hearing some of the history on how this all started and the efforts being made to share this national treasure right here in our backyard. Many thanks to you and your blog. I do appreciate the humor that goes into some for your post and always look forward to Roger’s great pictures. Makes me want to get a bigger telephoto-lens. I appreciated your drawing of the eagles wingspan and seeing just how big they are. So often my sighting are so far away it is hard to scale their size in the sky. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  3. Thank you for all you do and add my address to your blog

  4. You mentioned that you had to work Shane. I was flabbergasted at the turnout too!

  5. Thanks for coming Tish. I drew that life-size eagle outline on a window shade 5 years ago and it has seen better days but kids always love to unroll it and never fail to ooh and aah when I have a child stand in front of it and “spread their wings”. It struck me yesterday that they never look at me funny when I have them stand in front of the outline and I say, “Now spread your wings.” Their arms immediately begin to rise. I am thinking about having a 7-foot banner made of a photo of the underside of a flying eagle so kids could pose for pictures in front of it. It is difficult to appreciate their size unless they are near something of a known size for comparison.

  6. Thanks for coming Monika and welcome aboard! I enjoyed meeting so many new people Saturday. I hope that I was able to sufficiently answer your questions.

  7. Thank you, Jim/Lauren/Roger/Martha!!! It was amazing, and I too could not believe the crowd; it was very exciting. We now have both Jim and Cindy (the original) soaring above us and their “spirit” will continue to inspire us to spread the word about Dayton’s Eagles. It’s a wonderful experience! Again, thanks Jim, for making this happen for us…

  8. How I wish I could be part of the group of Kindred Spirits that get to see Jim and Cindy! But even tho I’m 75 years old (today, in fact!), I take such pleasure from your posts and it keeps me connected to the larger view of nature that I so enjoy. Happy Spring!

  9. I am glad that you were able to make it KeeKee. People were really excited to see Jim and Cindy fly in and out of the nest and then the juvie soared over Eagle Lake at 11:06. Even the eagles were cooperative this year!

  10. Happy birthday Carolyn! I hope that there are a few thrills in the wings for you today. As you can see from those pictures, we had people from infants to those in their 70s in attendance. You are never too old or too young to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the beautiful world around us!

  11. Thank you for a wonderful presentation, Jim! It was difficult for me to hear you and the other speakers because of the Harshman Road traffic. Next year, I suggest gathering a short distance away from the road for the initial presentation, then walking over to the pole for a closer view.

  12. Thank again for all you done to make this meeting a success. The look on your face of a proud parent when the majority of people raised their hands when she mentioned the Blog was great.
    All your raptor rehearsing really paid off. When said the word hawk, the red tailed landed on the DP&L pole right on cue and also Jim and Cindy changing guard during your talk.
    I enjoyed the kids looking in the scopes. A step stool will now be included with my scope. The Eastwood Eagle Watchers and MetroParks did a wonderful job.
    Ron

  13. I was unable to attend because my husband had just had surgery and was in still in the hospital. He tried to get me to go anyway but I said, next time. I just wanted you to know how much I look forward to your blogs. We spotted them in a tree from route 4 a few months ago but haven’t been lucky enough to see them yet on our drives through the park. We are planning on a picnic lunch there tomorrow. Hopefully a longer stay will allow us to see them. Keep up the great work!

  14. It sounds like” fun was had by all”!! I was unable to attend again this year, my grand babies seem to have their plays on the same day that this event is scheduled. I would love to have been there but those grand kids come first. Maybe our paths will cross another time. Thanks for the pictures and so glad so many came out!!! Polly.

  15. What an awesome turnout! I’m so proud of you and Roger and all the help along the way you’ve received. It’s such a great thing for me, basically being housebound with my husband, to be able to watch these gorgeous birds we call Eagles. Again I say, thank you Jim!

  16. Great suggestion JoDee. I know my throat was sore the rest of the day. Maybe we will use a microphone and speakers next time. I am glad that you enjoyed the event and I apologize for the difficulty you experienced in hearing us.

  17. So Ron, you noticed that expression on my face. I was elated. The EEW group and this blog are largely my babies so maybe the proud parent reference was very appropriate. I really had no idea that I was reaching so many people and touching so many lives. So many folks mentioned that they look forward to our postings and found them both moving and educational. I hear from several blog followers regularly and they encourage me, but it was both honoring and humbling to hear such sweet praises for my musings. I truly am blessed to be able to finally see eagles right here in Dayton! As for our feathered friends, I had no idea what was transpiring behind me. Every now and then I would see people raise their binoculars in unison so I knew something had appeared across the road, so I had to turn and look too. The step stool is a necessity if children or “vertically challenged” adults want to sneak a peek, especially while viewing the aerie from Eastwood Lake because the scope has to be way up there to peer over that guardrail. I am glad that you had a good time. Thanks for coming.

  18. I hope your husband is doing well Cindee. Thank you for your kind comments and I am glad that you find our blog enjoyable. I will be at Eastwood Lake myself tomorrow. If you see me creeping along in my grey Honda Accord, say hi. I would love to meet you and your husband. Tomorrow should be a beautiful spring-like day!
    Jim

  19. I understand Polly. My grandsons are among the few things that trump my eagle watching. My “path” meanders around Eastwood a lot so if yours ever leads that way, they are bound to cross!

  20. I am glad we can brighten your day Opal. I will not pretend to understand all of the challenges that you face every day, but I know One who understands completely and I lift you before Him when He brings you to mind. Thank you for keeping me posted on so many things. Thank you for your constant encouragement. It means a lot to me.

  21. Hello everyone, I just want to thank Jim for all his hard work and dedication, and for his wonderful presentation on Saturday. The program was a huge success and a great partnership, bringing Jim and Cindy the attention and respect they deserve, and Jim, Roger, and Martha have made this possible! I wish I could have said goodbye after the program, but please know that I really appreciate your collaboration and support, and hope to see you out at Eastwood soon!
    And, thank you to all those who came out on Saturday! It was inspiring seeing so many people at our program, interested in our local waterbirds! Thank you and I hope to see you out in the parks soon!

  22. You’re so welcome Jim. These updates mean a lot to Dan and I both. He loves to see all the pictures and the videos of the Eagles. They’ve been a Godsend for me…….so keep up the good work! I’ll be watching and reading all your posts friend……..

  23. Hi Jim! Had a great time on Saturday! I have only been following the Eastwood Eagle Watcher’s blog for a short time. When I heard about the Bald Eagles in this area I was ecstatic! My sister and I enjoy bird watching as it is and could not wait to see their nest. I went looking for them at Eastwood and as God would have it I bumped into Roger and Marsha. Thank goodness I am not afraid to talk or flag people down and ask questions, LOL… Thank you Roger & Marsha for showing me around and giving me information. I love the live feed and all of the background information on Eagles and the lives of Jim & Cindy, and the absolutely stunning pictures! Again, thank you and Roger from this Eagle watcher for life!

    April

  24. Thank you for the kind comments Lauren. We too appreciate what a wonderfully natural asset the many Five River MetroParks facilities are. The maintenance personnel are friendly and the naturalists are, well, naturals. I know that Roger and I have also become well known to many of the FRMP police officers (in good ways) that keep the wide open spaces safe. I know that there were Canada Geese, Common Goldeneyes, Lesser Scaups, Red Heads, Canvasbacks, Mallards and a pair of Red-necked Grebes on the lake today, now that the ice is receding. Please keep us in mind for future events.

  25. I’m glad that you had a good time April. Roger and his wife are special people. That eagle on the spare tire cover of his Jeep makes him easy to spot and he is always open to helping folks out. Birding is a great way to stay close to others and enjoy the great outdoors as well!


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