An Open Window

Here we are yet again, sitting and watching as the window of opportunity stands open. The eaglets are ready to fly but not quite willing to do so, yet. All 7,000 feathers are in place, their skeletal frames are sturdy and healthy, their muscles are strong and capable, but it takes a bit of courage to take that first step when that step is 60 feet above the ground.

The eldest of the trio is 77 days old today so the youngest is around 73 days old. The fledging-window is between 70 and 92 days of age so they are all three able to fly. I do not want to rush them but I tend to grow a bit impatient as I sit at that window and watch. This point was driven home again this morning as I met with a group of Raptor Campers from The Glen Helen Raptor Center and viewed the aerie from Eastwood Lake. All three eaglets sat at various posts on the rim of the massive nest and looked totally bored with their finite world of sticks and dry grass. First one and then another would spread out their wings and flap vigorously enough to lift themselves one, two or three feet into the air and then drop back down to the safety of the nest. Jim and Cindy were nowhere to be seen but I am sure they were perched watchfully in a nearby tree possibly eating a fish and enticing the youngsters to “go for it”. This is both an exciting and dangerous time. Many eaglets do not survive that first step. It is reassuring to know that The Glen Helen Raptor Center’s personnel are watching with us and are less than an hour away if they are needed.

As I watched I was reminded of the simple little poem that I penned on June 16, 2011 as I impatiently watched and waited as Jim and Cindy’s first eaglets, Pride and Spirit, were about to fledge. I share it with you each year as we watch and wait together.


Two Little Eaglets


Two little eaglets

way up in the tree.

Two little eaglets,

looking down at me.

You sit there in your aerie

staring at the sky,

and every time you flap your wings

my heart lets out a sigh.

Silly little eaglets

hovering o’er the nest,

Don’t you know that you can fly?

Your wings will stand the test.

Do you care that I’m waiting here

to see you soaring high?

I’m tethered to the earth below,

but you, you own the sky!

If I were an eaglet

and could do what you can do,

without a moment’s hesitation

I would launch into the blue.

(But wait! One’s perched upon the edge!

It leans into the breeze!

It spreads its wings! Then hops back down.)

You’re such a little tease.

I know that you are old enough,

your wings are sure and strong.

Dancing high across the sky

is where Eagles belong.

You’re made for inspiration.

You can make the mute heart sing,

rejoicing in your majesty

borne on outstretched wing!

“Why don’t you fly?” I ask out loud,

“When will you learn to soar?

I know that you are ready.

What are you waiting for?”

Then deep within my spirit,

the eaglets speak somehow.

They say, “We’ll take that leap of faith

when we hear God whisper, ‘Now!’ “

Smiles, frowns, gasps, tears… You just never know what expressions might come to your face as you sit beside an open window.

Jim and Cindy's Spirit in 2011.

Jim and Cindy’s Spirit in 2011.

Published in: on June 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm  Comments (6)  

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Are the eaglets banded like the falcons in Dayton? Once they fledge, will we see them back on the nest at all?


  2. Jim, how do you keep doing this? Your words are magic. They make my heart soar and lift my spirits. May I share your poem on the AEF website? Or on our FB page (of course, with credits) —

  3. They are not banded Wanda. Since Bald Eagles have been removed from the Endangered/Threatened species categories banding and tracking programs are more rare and usually involve specific nests with a focus more on movement than survival. The eaglets will most likely return to the nest for a week or two and may be fed there by Jim or Cindy but the frequency of those visits will rapidly diminish. By mid-July the eagle-cams will be deactivated and nest will be abandoned until reconstruction picks up in the fall in preparation for the 2015 Nesting Season.

  4. I would be thrilled Carolyn. I am sure that eagle watchers everywhere can identify with the angst, hope, anticipation and pure joy of the waiting process. Thank you.

  5. That poem always makes me sad and happy!!!!! I guess I don’t want the eaglets to leave the nest because of all the dangers around them. But it is their honor and destiny to be an eagle so they must take that leap of faith. And we must have faith that they will be okay and mom and dad will be close by too! Thanks Jim as always you are the best. Polly.

  6. They will do their best Polly. As always, thank you for your kind comments.

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