A Very Clean Short Story

It is easy to forget that an eaglet usually spends about 80 days after hatching sitting in a spacious but roofless nest in the top of a very tall tree. Imagine spending 11 weeks drenched by rain, covered by snow, buffeted by winds or baking in the hot sun and all without a real drink of water or a much-needed bath. Is it any wonder that freshly fledged eaglets love the water so? This is the story of one such eaglet that I will call Edgar. Edgar is actually a 2015 Brookville, Indiana eaglet that our chief photographer, Roger Garber, photographed this past weekend. Using Roger’s images as a guide, I wrote this short story filled with eagle facts for you to share with your own “eaglets”.

A Bath for Edgar

It had been a very hot day and young Edgar had been playing a lot! Now, everyone knows that young boys that play a lot on very hot days can get very, very dirty. That is true for any young boy, even if that young boy is an American Bald Eagle, like Edgar!

Everyone also knows that dirty boys need to take a bath and that is just what Edgar wanted to do! So Edgar landed by the big lake and gracefully jumped up onto a great big stick by the water.

RGP830 He carefully looked around to make sure that he was all alone and that there were no hungry animals nearby. He checked the trees and the skies above

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and he checked the water below.

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As he looked into the water he was surprised to see a bird that looked just like his brother staring up at him. But when he touched the water with his sharp claw (called a talon) the water moved and the bird disappeared! Then he slowly searched the bushes. His eyesight is a lot better than yours and mine and everything looked safe to him. But then he noticed a man with a big camera sitting very still by the water’s edge quite some distance away.

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“Hey!” Edgar called out, “I’m gonna take a bath over here.” The man with the camera quietly turned away as if he had no idea that the young eagle was talking to him. Confident that he had gained a little privacy Edgar spread out his beautiful, long wings that measured more than 6 feet from tip to tip and half-jumped/half-flew into the cool water making quite a splash.

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Now, a young eagle weighs about 10 pounds and stands about 30 inches tall so that splash was really a GREAT BIG splash and Edgar was really happy about his fancy dive. The water felt so refreshing that Edgar didn’t even notice that the man with the camera had heard all the noise and was watching him with a big smile on his face.

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Every one of Edgar’s more than 7,000 feathers were really dirty so he splished and splashed and splashed and splished over and over again! He closed his eyes and ducked his head under the water. “Boy that feels good!” he thought as he dunked his head under for a third time. He shook his head back and forth and water went flying everywhere.
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The young eagle was enjoying his bath so much that he did not even hear the CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK of the man’s camera. The man was so enjoying taking pictures of Edgar that he was not in the least bit worried about the noise from the camera.

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But when Edgar’s head bobbed up for the fourth time his sharp hearing picked up the clatter of the camera in spite of the water trapped between the feathers on the side of his head. As he looked in the direction of the noise he found the man looking right back at him!

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Now Edgar was pretty upset! “Hey! I thought I told you that I wanted some privacy over here!” he complained as he flapped the water off of those big wings. But the man just heard a lot of shrill, “Kikikikikikikikiki.” and kept taking pictures.

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This just made Edgar angrier! Why, he was madder than a wet…er…eagle! The soggy youngster folded up his wings, lowered his head and began marching out of the water. This man had interrupted his bath and had ignored his warnings and now he was going to hear about it!

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“CLICK, CLICK, CLICK.” chattered the camera as the man continued to snap pictures. The man was so busy taking pictures that he simply didn’t notice the angry eagle’s approach. Getting closer and closer, Edgar marched on determined to give the man a piece of his mind. He may have to wait until he is 4 or 5 years old before he would have beautiful, white head and tail feathers like his mother and father but he felt that was already a big, brave eagle on the inside!
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American Bald Eagles really like their solitude and do best when people stay a respectful distance away and this young eagle wanted to make the man understand that his bath time is his bath time! Finally the man lowered his camera enough to see that the young eagle was not very happy. He still could not understand Edgar’s scolding calls but he certainly did understand Edgar’s body language!

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“I’m sorry if I disturbed you little eagle.” apologized the man as he tucked his camera under his arm and turned to walk away. Edgar stopped. “I showed him!” he thought as the man got into his car. “Hmmph!”

As Edgar spun around to return to the water to finish his bath he glanced up into a nearby tree to find his older brother and sister cheering his bravery.

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They were proud of their little brother and Edgar was pretty proud of himself too!

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Published in: on July 14, 2015 at 3:05 pm  Comments (26)  

26 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. GREAT story and photos! Thank you

  2. Great story — and WONDERFUL photos!!

  3. I absolutely loved this! Nice job, both of you.

  4. Thank you!!! Can’t wait for the next story! 🙂

  5. This was a wonderful story! You should have this published! Is it ok to print this in book form for my grandchildren? I would make sure you got credit for the story! Thanks again for this great story!

  6. I am glad you enjoyed the story Ann. It is fun trying to decide what they are really thinking at times.

  7. The wonderful pictures really tell the story Jennie. I saw them as a good teaching opportunity to touch the hearts of future eagle fans. Thank you for your comment.

  8. Thank you Beth. We are a team. Now if we could just get our Dayton eagles to cooperate a little more we would have something!

  9. Thanks again Robin. I am sure there is a story in the eagles weathering our constant thunderstorms over the last few weeks. It amazes me how resourceful they are.

  10. My wife keeps telling me that I need to publish my stories Theresa. She thinks I am opposed to making money. Feel free to share the story with your grandchildren. Thank you for your kind words.

  11. loved the great narrative story
    and Rogers pictures , as always, AWESOME!

  12. I was playing golf at Kittyhawk last night and saw several very large birds flying around the big lakes between the golf course and Troy Pike. They definitely weren’t buzzards and were way too big to be hawks. I’m thinking they were our baby eaglets.

  13. I love this story and the pictures with it. I am going to share it with my grandchildren!

  14. Jim
    I think you are on to something here. I envision a little 30 minute ‘show’ you take to kids in the second or third grade. You can do this.
    Mike

  15. Jim,
    What a great story. Roger’s accompanying pictures help to tell the story beautifully and are very heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with us.

    Sandy Stricklin
    Omaha, NE

  16. Thank you Dona. If his images were any better there would be talon scrapes on our computer screens.

  17. They do follow the Great Miami River between Troy Street (202) and the Kittyhawk Golf Course Shane. The older juveniles are always wandering and often in small groups. The first year juvies will join the parade as time passes and they grow more independent.

  18. Thank you PM. I hope they love the story and learn a few eagle facts along the way.

  19. Funny you should mention that Mike. I have a 20 minute PowerPoint presentation that I do for elementary students in area schools. The kids are always attentive and ask some very interesting questions during the closing Q&A session.

  20. Thank you Sandy. We love to share the stories we encounter on this adventure.

  21. Nice story to go with good pictures. Good lesson for children and also grown children. Thank you.

  22. Absolutely fantastic writing, I could see how children of all ages, along with the adults would love your story. Also, the pictures were outstanding and gave me the feeling of being right there with the eagle bathing,. What a wonderful book this would make., There is only one thing I would like to call to your attention, I understand that eagles do not hear well, if at all. You might want to check it out. ….Thank you for sharing, it made my day.

  23. I absolutely love your stories. I could just keep reading on and on. Thank you.

  24. I am so glad that you enjoyed the story Glennis. We are never too old (or too young) to learn new things.

  25. Thank you for your kind comment Donna. You bring up an interesting point about an eagle’s ability to hear. I debated with myself as to which adjective to use in the story. “Keen” and “acute” seemed too strong of a word. I have seen our eagles react rather instantly to their mate’s alarm call, even from some distance away, and there have been several occasions when I have coughed or made some noise that has drawn Jim or Cindy’s attention. I tend to agree with those who believe that eagles possess adequate hearing although most likely much less acute than some other birds of prey. Owls have amazing hearing and can even detect a scampering mouse under a layer of snow. But unlike the nocturnal owl, a diurnal eagle has the advantage of sunlight to aid it in its hunting. An eagle’s eyesight is spectacular and possibly 4 times as acute as a human’s eyesight. As in most creatures, the stronger senses are relied on more heavily than the others (as in a dog’s sense of smell) and the lesser senses are not as obvious. Hearing is also not as necessary for the eagle’s success. Owls usually hunt from a perch where they use their hearing and large, well-positioned eyes to find prey in the darkness. Eagles, especially Bald Eagles which are fish eagles, almost always hunt from the air. In flight the movement of air around their heads and bodies would make hearing any prey on the ground difficult and fish swimming underwater cannot be heard at all. I have read that eagles also appear to chatter to the eaglet in the egg prior to its hatching apparently bonding with the eaglet before it escapes from the shell, and eagles are very big on bonding. For those reasons and others I believe that an eagles hearing is adequate for their needs, but perhaps others may also see “sharp” as too strong of a term in the story. I really appreciate your comment and I am glad that you enjoyed Edgar’s story.

  26. Thank you Marylee! I have to watch that I don’t ramble on about our eagles or you would be reading on and on. Their story is worth sharing.


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