A Smile on a Sunny Day

It seemed like it would never end. The long, grey, gloomy, wet days crawled slowly by like a long freight train crossing a roadway. “Will it ever end?” I asked myself as yet another thunderstorm warning was issued. With nearly every break in the weather I would make my way to the place where eagles roam the skies but as I arrived so did the clouds and then the rain. We always seem to have a bout of severe weather, just after the eaglets have fledged each year.

The first couple of weeks after leaving the nests the novice flyers stay secluded in the trees of the well field being tenderly cared for by Mom and Dad. Seldom will they fly above the green, leafy canopy during that time. Our best chance of catching a glimpse of one of the young ones is when one of them decides to return to the nest and wait for food. But by now, the nest is just a place where eaglets once lived.

Finally the forecast changed and the skies cleared!

And the eagles came!

Tuesday, was the day of transition as the downpours became more intermittent and the clouds began to thin. The freight train was finally clearing the crossing.  As Roger waited and watched he saw an adult Bald Eagle headed towards him and the waters of Eastwood Lake, and it was being shadowed by a juvenile! He snapped this image of the approaching adult.

Passing By

Passing By

Then he snapped this image of one of Jim and Cindy’s three 2014 eaglets looking mighty pretty as it passed by.

Big, Beautiful Baby

Big, Beautiful Baby

As the youngster circled above the lake, the adult did an interesting thing. Do you remember how your primary teachers tried to make learning fun by turning it into a game? That was pretty sneaky of them, but it was a pretty successful ploy. Well the adult eagle found the front half of a fish floating on the water but rather than snatching it with its talons, as it skimmed the surface of the lake it flipped it up into the air behind its tail feathers. Not once, but three times! All while the juvenile circled overhead. It seemed to be daring the youngster to pick it up. (Eaglets in the aerie know that Mom and Dad fly in with food but they have no idea where it came from. Most animals, say an owl for instance, will see their food scampering or slithering across the ground but a Bald Eagle’s main dish is hidden beneath a wet blanket in a world quite different from their own. They have to learn where to find the prey as well as how to capture it by watching Mom and Dad hunt.) Although the youngster did not take the bait, Roger did take this picture.

A Sneaky Lesson

A Sneaky Lesson

Today the sun was out in full force! Four of us gathered to see what the early morning rays might bring. They brought Jim! He flew in and landed in the tall, dead tree at the northeast corner of the lake where he sat for a few minutes searching the waters below him. I captured this image just before he left the perch, plucked a large fish out of the water and flew back to the well field.

Early Morning Hunter

Early Morning Hunter

Within half an hour he returned to the same tree. He looked pretty regal sitting there scanning his domain, like a king on his throne!

His Royal Highness

His Royal Highness

But what is a king without a queen? Right behind him came Cindy! If Jim looked regal Cindy looked absolutely stunning in the sunlight!

Her Royal Highness

Her Royal Highness

And together they were breathtaking!

Love Birds

Love Birds

As I stood a mere 100 feet from where they were perched I realized again how thrilled I am that Bald Eagles have returned to Dayton. The babies are growing up and Jim and Cindy were able to leave them unattended for a time, but not for long. After some brief royal chatter between the two of them, Cindy was off and winging her way back to the well field.

And then, just for icing on the cake, as I was leaving Eastwood around 7:30 this evening I saw two juveniles playing in the air above the trees of the well field. As I watched from a distance, they were joined by a third! I saw them swoop at each other a bit as I attempted to drive closer but they dropped into the trees and disappeared.

Watching our eagle family always brings a smile, especially on a sunny day.

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Published in: on July 10, 2014 at 6:06 am  Comments (8)  

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Loved the sneaky lesson with the fish! Also love seeing the full-size photos when I click on the smaller ones in the email. Just another great read – as always! 🙂

  2. How awesome Jim ! What a great read this morning after the sad news from Decorah about one of their babies being electrocuted a few days ago! So happy our eagles are doing so well! Jim and Cindy look absolutely regal!😍😍 And the photo of the Juvie was perfection! You and Roger have done it again! Another awesome pairing of pictures and blog about “our awesome eagles”. Job well done! Love you guys……😍😍

  3. Thanks again Carolyn. If the adult had just plucked it out of the water once then I would have figured that it just hadn’t met its standards, but tossing it up in the air three times and then leaving it makes me think that it had other motivations.

  4. I know that our eagles are bucking the odds Opal. We know all 10 of their eaglets have successfully fledged and only know of the one that did not make it. I am hoping that our past protective measures and ongoing rescue efforts are assisting them in thwarting the odds.

  5. I close my eyes and feel like I am right there. Oh what a fantastic update.

  6. I am glad that I was able to bring you along Jannice.

  7. Thank you so much for your wonderful updates on our eagles in our area. Diane

  8. You are welcome Diane. Thank you for following their story.


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