An Old Canine Friend

This winter has been pretty much like a old dog. Most of the time it just lied there. It didn’t have much pep and sometimes you had to step over it to get somewhere. At other times it could not quite make up its mind where it wanted to be, but for the most part it was mild-mannered and sleepy. And also like an old dog, once in a while it could bite.

Mild winters seem to delay Jim and Cindy’s routine a bit. Their first successful nesting season started on February 15, 2011 and almost every year since then the first egg has arrived on that date. The latest date for the awaited arrival of a first egg was on a February 17th, also after a warm winter. They are pretty consistent in most of their actions which adds a bit of predictability to eagle watching.

So on this Valentine’s Day I was happy to see them carrying soft material to the nest to carpet the nursery. During the completion of their nestorations they had added enough materials to the nest walls that they now virtually disappear if they sit in the bowl. We knew that this deeper recess would make incubation behavior in the nest more difficult to see so we spent a little extra time that week watching for other telltale signs. The 15th came and went with still more fidgeting with sticks. Both eagles were seen near the river or perched together on the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th… Two eagles out of the nest means no eggs in the nest. I began to think that maybe they knew it was a leap-year and they were assuring themselves that the additional day would not cause the eaglet to pip too early in the spring.

On Monday I found both eagles dancing high in the sky, their large, lazy circles intersecting at times when Jim would take the opportunity to lower his legs and swoop playfully at Cindy! I was hoping that he would flip and reach out for her feet but he seemed content to just teasingly pass near her. Sometimes they would fly side by side or just above each other as they danced ever higher in the heavens. (I love to watch The Dance. You can almost hear the music’s sweet notes.) After fifteen minutes the two tiny specks drifted slowly to the north and dissolved into the misty blue haze.


Monday night things changed.

As the sun was setting Roger captured this amazing image of Jim fishing the waters of Eastwood Lake!


Twilight Delight


Much to the chagrin of the local gulls who were trying to settle down for the evening, Jim was looking for a late day snack. But this following image shows the change of which I was speaking! This is Jim leaving the lake with his catch and carrying it directly to the Treetop Palace!


Takin’ it home to Momma.


Eagle’s nests have little allure for their builders after the eaglets have fledged, that is until new eggs arrive. The fact that Jim took food back to the nest in the twilight’s glow hopefully meant that Cindy was in the nest with the first egg of 2016!


Early Tuesday morning I returned to our Eastwood Lake observation point, 1/2 mile from the nest, and found Jim sitting in a familiar guard position high above the nest, another good sign.


Jim on guard.

Before long I could see Cindy stand up in the bowl  and stir around a bit before settling back down with just the top of her white head visible in the sunlight. Eventually Jim flew down to a lower perch, out of sight from my position at  the lake. An hour or so later Jim reappeared at the nest. Cindy again arose and the two of them stood on opposite sides of the nest before Cindy flew off and Jim disappeared into the bowl. Later that afternoon there was a similar exchange as Jim flew in and Cindy immediately departed, making a few low circles over Eagle Lake before she returned to the nest.


Cindy stretching her wings.


All of this activity makes me think that Jim and Cindy’s first egg of 2016 arrived some time on Monday, February 22. That means that the first eaglet of 2016 should hatch out around March 28th! Allowing time for the exhausted hatchling to recover from the ordeal of escaping the egg and for its sibling(s) to do the same, the annual feeding frenzy should be gaining steam by the first week of April!

Here is a better picture of the 2016 Treetop Palace with the royal couple inspecting the nestoration. Quite an impressive abode if I do say so myself!


2016 Treetop Palace


One last observation on old dogs. Over the years you develop a mutual relationship with them. Just the simple act of you taking a seat can trigger a reaction that is as comforting as it is welcomed as the dog saunters over to place its head on your knee for a friendly scratch behind the ears. That scratch is soothing for each of you. As this winter fades away, it does so with a hope in the treetops that has become as comforting to my heart as the contented presence of an old canine friend.

Published in: on February 25, 2016 at 2:36 am  Comments (19)  

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Just loved reading this. Eggsciting times ahead!

  2. I just love your stories, and have already enjoyed the photos. This will be tonight’s bedtime reading as I have spent an hour reading about how to activate or program a new phone! Exhausting & for now it’s just charging! We have to be in touch with the outside world,but I do envy the peace & serenity of the world of Jim and Cindy. Thank you in advance for a peaceful inside look at their incredible world.~ Carol L.

  3. Thank you Jim, I have waiting to here the good news. Diane

  4. What a wonderful way to start my day…i love your skill at writing and eagle hunting!

  5. I literally look for your posts and I’m so glad I saw this today! I haven’t been out as much this winter and I miss our eagles so much! I was walking along the river last weekend and saw an adult eagle (?Jim?) sitting in a tree near the bend of the river. I got a few shots off before he flew away.

  6. I live in Huber Heights and I’m a devoted follower of the Eastwood Eagles. I’ve never seen either one of them in person, although every time I’m driving past Eastwood Park I look around for the sight of one of them. All I’ve seen is the website. I’ve copied the painting of Jim on a color printer and have it pinned to the wall in my office. On Saturday (Feb. 20) I was driving south on Old Troy Pike right in front of Weisenborn Middle School and thought I saw one of our eagles (don’t know how tell the difference) flying above. I got closer and was able to discern the white wingtips. I was so happy to finally see one of our eagles, I almost ran off the road. It certainly made my day! Keep up the good work. I’m thrilled that there’s a first egg in the nest for this season. I’ll be watching.

    Barbara Piatt

  7. Thanks for all your posts and pictures to keep us informed about our Eagles. I live nearby and pass the nest several times a day. Love hearing about them!

  8. Very very very very excited for the progression of the 2016 nesting season!

  9. So happy to hear from you with news of our Jim and Cindy!!!!!! I so miss the eagle cam but we have the next best thing….Jim cam !!!!! Thanks for the update and pictures!!!! Polly.

  10. Thanks AEF. “Eggciting” is an appropriate word.

  11. Technology can be so frustrating Carol! A trip into the wild can be restorative and much needed. I’m glad we could help.

  12. Thanks Diane. Good news is worth waiting for (and now we can wait for bobbleheads)!

  13. Thank you Judy. Jim and Cindy do all the really hard work.

  14. Thank you Wendy. They will be staying near the well field now so I am glad you were able to run across Jim. Seeing them in the wild is so much better than our images can show!

  15. Thank you Barbara. Occasionally one can be spotted in the large tree in the field behind the community garden next to the Grandma Cs building on Troy. They pass over that area on their way to the river near Rip Rap and Little York Roads. Unfortunately the bird you spotted was more likely a Black Vulture if it had white wingtips. Black Vultures are becoming more common in Ohio and they have a whitish patch near the underside of each wingtip. Our adult Bald Eagles have bright white heads and tails but the rest of their feathers are very dark. We are seeing more eagles each year as their numbers increase so the odds of encountering one in the wild are increasing as well.

  16. Thanks for your comment Donna. Someone told me the other day that one flew over her car as she was driving past. That could lead to distractive driving…and drivers doing their happy dance behind the wheel.

  17. Thank you April. We will keep you posted!

  18. Thanks Polly! “Jim cam” will stay up and running as long as The Lord allows.

  19. Lets hope The Lord allows you to stay up and running for many many years!!!! Jim and Cindy and the rest of us need you!!!! …..Polly.

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