Every Year It Happens

Every year it happens! Every year I say it’s not going to happen, but then it happens just the same.

I am the father of two daughters who are now grown and in their 30s. I can remember those times during their teenage years when they were developing some independence that took them beyond my control. We did all the things that loving parents always do. We set down guidelines. We set up consequences for not following those guidelines. We enforced those rules. And, of course, we prayed… a lot. But even with all of the parameters in place, we still worried. These were the days before cell phones and instant communication, but our girls knew that if they were going to be late for some unforeseen reason they were to find a phone and call home to inform us of the delay. Every time that they left the house I would promise myself that I would not worry, but before long I would be glancing more and more frequently at the clock or looking out the window whenever I heard a car slowing down. I can remember the feeling of relief each time that they opened the door at the end of an outing.

And so it is with Jim and Cindy.

Every year it happens. Every year when the eaglets have proven themselves to be self-sufficient, Jim and Cindy go on a sabbatical of sorts. We have no idea where they go, or even if they both go in the same direction, but you can count on them disappearing in late summer and not coming home until some time in September. And every year I lie to myself and tell myself that I’m not going to worry. Then every year I do, especially this year. All throughout September on my daily checks of the area, I fully expected to see them in some tree top or spot them fishing from one of their lakes. As the month wore on without seeing them, my anxiety grew. I did receive sporadic reports of a lone adult eagle or even perhaps two eagles perched in a well field tree, but with all of the roaming eagles passing through the area this year I could not be sure that the birds being spotted were our eagles.

Then, several days ago, Jim returned. He was spotted repeatedly in his favorite perch overlooking Eagle Lake. Jim typically returns a few days before Cindy so with his arrival, I was sure that Cindy would not be far behind. But day after day, I could only find a solitary eagle looking so very lonely as he searched the skies.

I know that statistically there are so many things that could go tragically wrong. The numbers prove that life for an eagle is often cut short by unforeseen circumstances. Automobiles, power lines, windstorms, wind turbines… the list of potential dangers is quite large and always seems to grow larger. With that statistical knowledge tucked away in the recesses of my memory I looked forward with great anticipation for the return of both birds.

Finally, on Wednesday, October 1st, I found two adult eagles perched in Jim’s favorite tree! Then yesterday I was able to snap the following picture of Jim and Cindy looking very healthy and very cozy in that same tree. What a relief!


This is the beginning of courting season. For the next few months Jim and Cindy will be inseparable. They will perch together, hunt together, soar together and dance across the sky together! During the next few months they will reinforce the already strong bonds that exist within pair-bonded adult Bald Eagles. Soon they will begin renovations on the aerie in preparation of February’s eggs. Finally I can relax and enjoy eagle watching again until next summer’s sabbatical.

Next year I will not worry! (But don’t bet on it!) Maybe I should get them a cell phone.

Published in: on October 4, 2014 at 4:57 am  Comments (22)  

22 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh you had me worried for a bit. Great update and so glad you have your Eagles back to watch. Now all we need are a lot of those gorgeous pictures and great stories.
    I can’t wait to see your posts again.

  2. Oh thank goodness! Beautiful photo!

  3. Well Jim! It sure is good to know that they’re back! And I hope they get started on those cameras and get them in tip top shape! It amazes me how attached we get to animals. Dogs, cats, eagles! Lol. They entertain us with their antics, educate us with their everyday rituals of life! And give us something to look forward to every fall! Winters are long and sometimes our only bright spots are two beautiful eagles named Jim and Cindy. Our local babies! So I’m with you Jim! So happy to know they’re safely home, again!

  4. I have been following your blog for quite some time and really enjoy your stories.
    I don’t live far away, close to Spinning & Burkhardt. I have to get over there and see if I can locate them, maybe I can be lucky enough to get a shot with my Canon SX 50. I just started dabbling in photography when I retired because of illness in 2005 and really like photography.

    Maybe I will see you there. I drive a red Dodge Dakota P/U and my name is Glen Isham, a former Mad River Twp. Police Officer before it became a city.

  5. Well you did it again Mr. Jim ~ just tears….. so glad she’s home I too can breath a sigh of relieve, of course after I dry my eye’s 😥 ….. thank you for the report, and please, please share on Eagle Peeps….

  6. Jim, this is exactly what happened to those of us who are very involved with the NE Florida nest. Last year, Romeo and Juliet appeared back at the nest area on the same day. This year, Romeo came back 2 weeks before his Juliet appeared. We were so worried, and, like you, imagined all sorts of scenarios that did not have a happy ending. Then, there she was! With her Romeo, hanging out on a favorite tree. They are nestorizing now, bonding, and their season has begun again. We are streaming them live here: http://www.eagles.org/Cams/FloridaNest.html and we hope you and some of your readers will come and visit this nest. We wish Jim and Cindy all good things – plenty of fish, good health, and a successful season of raising eaglets! Very best to you and your eagles!

  7. I am thrilled they are back! Now a question, have the teens been seen in the area? I could swear that I saw one above Precious Blood at Denlinger and Salem yesterday. Then today, I thought I saw one above Wilmington and Dorothy Lane. Both had dark heads but they had the “fingers” on the wings and were larger than hawks.

  8. I love reading your stories. Thank you. Marylee

  9. I’m ready to see some eagle action too Jannice!

  10. Thanks again clondres.

  11. We have another meeting of the eaglecam group this Tuesday Opal.

  12. I will keep my eyes open for your truck Glen.

  13. They are very moving to watch Darlene.

  14. We look like nervous parents Carolyn. The AEF eagle cam looks great.

  15. There will be more and more juvies passing through here this fall Diane. They could be anywhere.

  16. You are welcome Marylee. I love that you love them.

  17. Jim, I live near Rochester NY and have enjoyed reading your posts for the last several years. My children live in Dayton Ohio thus my interest in the area. My husband Chris and myself be visiting our children again next week and I am wondering if perhaps you might be willing to meet us and help us find the eagles. Sincerely, Mary

  18. It would be my pleasure to meet with you and your husband Mary. I will show you how to locate the nest and where to best see Jim and Cindy if they cooperate. Just email me the details at our eastwoodeaglewatchers@gmail.com address.

  19. A nice story, Jim. I have seen the nest from Harshman Rd, but only when there are no leaves on the trees. I have not spotted the eagles though.

  20. Great pics! I saw a bald eagle today at the soccer field/park on Rip Rap Rap Rd. Absolutely gorgeous, but he flew off before I could get a pic, but it was neat to see…he sat in the tree for quite some time, like he was contemplating if there was anything in the water below worth eating 🙂

  21. Keep looking Chris. They are there somewhere.

  22. Jim and Cindy often visit the river near Little York and Rip Rap Naomi. Maybe they like to watch the trains go by.

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