Absorbed By Their Story

The last chapter of July, 2014 has come to a close. As the last paragraph was written, I found myself in a melancholy mood and I knew not why. As I pondered my situation in the stillness of the midnight hours, I gradually realized that my heart was in the mourning for a young life that I had barely known.

It is funny, I thought, how expectations and anticipation can capture your emotions. As I was counting down the 35 days of incubation while waiting for the first eaglet to hatch, I was unknowingly being drawn into (and becoming a part of) their story. As I watched and waited for the trio to fledge I became even more engulfed in the happenings at the aerie. Without noticing, the observer was being absorbed into the drama. Perhaps you have had similar experiences. Isn’t it strange how attached one can become to a wild creature? Isn’t it silly how nature can consume us? Isn’t it wonderful when it does?

When tragedy struck two weeks ago and one of the eaglets was lost, I was away on vacation. The story had sorrowfully advanced and although I was aware of the changes, I was separated from the events. In an odd way, I needed to mourn. I needed to deal with those deep emotions and move on. What I really longed for was a chance to see the two surviving eaglets prospering.

So as I opened up the cover of August, 2014, I found myself standing yet again in the summer grasses of Eastwood, a prisoner of gravity, intently peering skyward, waiting and watching. Turkey Vultures meandered through the sky and a lone Osprey made hungry circles above the lake. From deep in the distant recesses of the well field, a dark figure slowly emerged from the trees. It was silhouetted against the eastern clouds as it rose and the level profile of the massive wings indicated that it was a Bald Eagle. The overall darkness of the bird further confirmed that it was a juvenile. Then, just as it began to gain altitude, a second, identical figure emerged from the trees. These were our eaglets! Slowly they circled, consistently gaining altitude. Even at a distance of nearly a mile and several hundred feet high in the air, the young raptors were magnificent. My mood began to lighten as I carefully followed them across the clouds. After 10 minutes the soaring duo began to drift westward towards me. As eagles so often do, they had become mere specks high in the sky. Each juvenile’s individual orbit eventually began to intersect its sibling’s and before long they were soaring together. Then the inevitable happened. Like two children on a playground, they began challenging each other by repeatedly calling, swooping, diving, flipping and grasping for each other’s talons.





They were pretty high up there and quite a distance away, but it was thrilling to witness! As I watched them drift ever closer to Eastwood, Roger, with his characteristic good timing and uncanny good luck, was half a mile south of the park and had managed to find a position directly under the pair.




Although they never actually made it over to Eastwood Lake, their aerial antics continued for just under an hour. The juveniles were simply honing skills that they will need for hunting, courting, soaring and just surviving, but at the same time they were being a blessing to me.

As I type these words, I am comforted to know that the gloom has lifted. I trust that the book of August may be a very good book indeed. And somewhere deep inside of me I am acutely aware that again today I became even more deeply absorbed by their story.


Published in: on August 2, 2014 at 1:54 am  Comments (28)  

28 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very nice Jim, Thank you once again 🙂

  2. SOOOO Awesome!!!!!! We almost went that direction to take pictures today. SO wish I had!!

  3. I am so very happy you got to see the 2 again to help you threw this. I mourned for our sweet Eaglet, but at the same time I mourned for all of you that are there day in and days out. Your words again have brought me much comfort.

  4. Oh Jim , I had hoped that the three would defy all the statistics and fly off into adulthood. I understand what you mean about being attached. My class and I too became engrossed in the story of the Eagle family. Nothing in life is certain and nature can be cruel. I am so glad it is summer and I do not have to share this sad news with my little ones. I don’t think I could handle their tears nor they mine.
    Thank you so much for sharing their story with us and I can only hope the two remaining juveniles make it to adulthood to someday have their own families. We went last weekend and stayed for about an hour but for the first time did not see any of the eagles. Hopefully the next time we make it over we can see the wonderful display of siblings that you shared. Now it is not enough for me just to see an eagle in the wild, I want to see them at play .

    Kathy Ballmann

  5. Beautiful Jim ………..I was thinking the same as I looked at yours and Rogers pics tonight. I still grieve over the lost eagle but am fully aware of how fortunate we are, that these two are doing so well! We’ve been blessed. God is good…….

  6. Thank you, this is beautiful…..Love all of our Eagles

  7. Thank you Jim for all your post this season. It has been the season to remember and a joy to read all your letters and view all your photos.

  8. Your written words are the same as your description of these magnificent birds – they draw you in! Love to read your words on these eagles! Thanks!

  9. Very moving. Thank you.

  10. Thanks Rog. Couldn’t do it without you.

  11. Glad that you enjoyed the pics Lisa but sorry you missed the show. Like I told you in the email, patience is the key. Eventually they will show up and knock your socks off!

  12. I am glad that you found comfort in our posting Jannice. I truly needed to see them frolicking together.

  13. Thank you Kathy. I am still impressed by how educated and polite your youngsters were. I hope that many are reading our blog and still following Jim and Cindy’s adventure with their own parents even though the cameras are deactivated for the year. (I will be meeting with our Boonshoft partners soon to address the future coverage.) God has embedded lessons in nature that cannot be taught in classrooms or through media. There, even the sorrowful contains beauty and loss reveals His love.

  14. Thank you Opal. Life is an adventure. It is a thrill ride full of twists and turns that rockets us into the unknown, often leaving a knot in our stomachs or a lump in our throats. But we can have complete faith in the wisdom and ability of The Designer and Operator during our brief excursion.

  15. Thank you Carol. I am thrilled to share the thrills with everyone.

  16. Thank you for tagging along Diana. It is our joy to share them with you!

  17. Thank you for your kind comment Bonnie. The story tells itself. I just have the privilege to write it down.

  18. I am so glad that you were moved Jennie. My goal is to share the story in a manner that captures at least a small part of the emotion and inspiration that I experience every day.

  19. Oh, Jim – it is so painful when a young life is lost. I am sorry about the eaglet gone way too soon. Your blogs never fail to “fill me up” and be ever thankful for the gifts we have in nature. Wishes go out to these 2 young eaglets you talked about in this blog. May they grow strong, live long, and have families of their own.

  20. I really appreciate the kind words and the moral support as well as all of the great work of everyone at American Eagle Foundation. Together we can make a difference and share the blessings of majestic feathered wings with everyone!

  21. Another well written, heart felt expression of what the Dayton Bald Eagles mean to us. I also mourned the death of the eaglet, almost as much as the loss of a pet. Such an inspiration to see your photo’s of the other two siblings and how blessed we are to have them in our area.

  22. Thank you Kathy. We are blessed indeed!

  23. Thank you for bringing your words to us as you do so well. I felt badly for the loss and knowing you were away at the time just made it seem all the worse. Now your words have helped with the sadness that lingered. I look forward to ‘August’. (Carol L. here at 11:23 pm EDT & for a year or so,when I comment, the time ‘sent’ shows as some early morning ….don’t want to mess around with the blog but just saying…a puzzle. So shall see now what time pops up.)

  24. Thank you again Carol. I am glad you found comfort in my words. We humans (well, some of us anyway) are caring, compassionate souls and we hurt when a young life is consumed by reality. It is soothing to know that others share our loss and understand our grief. (I am aware that the clock here on our blog is about 4 hours fast. Always has been. I don’t know why. Doesn’t seem to be a time zone thing or any other setting. I guess we are just a little ahead of our time.)

  25. I have so enjoyed all of your posts and of course the photos too. The season was so enjoyable with you sharing and describing your visits to our Eagles. So much to learn, enjoy, search for the wonder and it appears in so many ways. Thank you so much for your posts. They are very inspiring.

  26. Hello, EagleJim -I have so appreciated your ongoing account of our Dayton eaglets, now sadly down to two. I also mourn the loss of the third eaglet with you and all your readers. This experience has inspired me to join the American Eagle Foundation or a similar organization..


  27. Thank you Pat. The eagles are natural inspiration.

  28. Good for you Susan! AEF does an amazing (and sadly necessary) job of rescuing and rehabilitating eagles when possible. If you are ever in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a visit to their Dollywood facility is a must.

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