It’s Boiling Now

My mother was an amazing woman in so many ways. Dad never made a lot of money but she always found a way to stretch what little we had to insure that my five siblings and myself had what we needed to get by. But Mother abounded in love. She had an endless supply for everyone from her own children to the hobo man knocking on the back door. (For you younger readers, “hobo” is a now nonpolitically correct term for a homeless person. It is an abbreviation of the words “homeward bound” and referred to men who were down on their luck, substance abusers, unemployed, adventurers…or for some other reason wandering from town to town, often travelling by boxcar on their way to wherever and whatever “home” was to them.) Mom never turned a hungry person away without some bit of food. My mother was rich in compassion and we children feasted on her bounty.

What does all this have to do with eagles?

Well, another thing that Mother was rich in was adages. She had a tried and tested saying for every situation and she flung them freely when the need arose. One of her favorite adages was, “A watched pot never boils.” Whenever I was anxiously awaiting something or someone she would throw those words in my direction to draw me away from the window. It was her way of telling me to relax and the allow time to pass.

The memory of her words repeatedly ripped through the air of Eastwood as I have sat and watched our eaglets over the last two weeks. Around 10 weeks of age eaglets are fully feathered and as large as their adult parents. They technically may have the capability to fly but they lack the coordination, muscle tone, experience and confidence to leave the nest successfully. I have read that the window for fledging the nest is around age 70 to 92 days. Our oldest eaglets typically fledge around 84 to 86 days after hatching with their  younger siblings following suit a few days later (near their 84th to 86th day.) That first flight is the major hurdle in a young eagle’s life and I always grow impatient as I wait for the time to pass. So there I sat at the park watching the pot refuse to boil.

I knew things were progressing in that direction though. Jim and Cindy were now seldom seen in the nest. A careful search of the well field might reveal one or both of them atop a nearby tree. Food delivery to the youngsters had grown more random and less frequent as Mom and Dad seemed to encourage hunger to be a motivator for flight. Jim had begun to visit his favorite off-season perch again and Cindy (looking a bit dirty and tattered from her mothering duties) was seen passing over Eastwood with a pesky Eastern Kingbird escort.

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The youngsters were also showing signs of restlessness. Often they would play in the air above the Treetop Palace strengthening their muscles and skills in short vertical flights to nowhere. Like children forced to share a bedroom, the massive nest had grown too small for their compatibility and they were using their newfound branching abilities to get away from one another.

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Each morning I counted the days since they had hatched. One by one those days passed by and the water in the pot grew hotter. I tried to heed Mother’s words but, now that I think of it, I wasn’t too good at it back then either. Monday was day 84. Tuesday was day 85. Today was day 86 and when I arrived at Eastwood this morning I saw this!

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A lone eaglet in the nest! Was the other one hiding in the branches? Not that I could see. Then I saw Mom or Dad deliver a fish to the nest and fly off, twice! In years past I have noticed that after one eaglet fledges from the aerie Jim or Cindy will take food to the nest as if to keep the remaining eaglets occupied while they watch over the novice flyer. And they will watch over it, bringing food to wherever it perches and encouraging it to fly again. Sometimes a recently fledged eaglet will end up on the ground and have difficulty getting airborne again. This situation can prove deadly for the young eagle as it is vulnerable to predators and parasites. An intervening human approaching the grounded youngster will be severely chastised by the protective adults. Sometimes the youngster will find a suitable perch and remain there for a day or so before trying to fly again, eventually making its way back to the nest. I will let you know how successful this year’s fledging process has been as it progresses and I can verify the results.

For now I have to decide if the “pot” is half empty or half full but that is a whole other adage. Slowly the days have passed and I smile as I realize that somehow our Dayton eagles have stayed true to that fledging window again. I have no idea if other nests are so consistent or not but Jim and Cindy simply amaze me. And Mom, if you’re watching this proverbial pot, it’s boiling now!

RGP885

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Published in: on June 23, 2016 at 2:10 am  Comments (12)  

12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh, how I’ve enjoyed this blog tonight Jim! And the information about the hobo’s. It brought back memories of Dan’s grandmother! She was in her 80’s when Dan and I got married. Now mind you, that was a few years ago! 🙄🙄🙄 But I remember her talking about the hobo’s coming uptown from the railroad tracks, knocking on the screen doors and asking for a little bite to eat. I was astounded at the time! I’d never heard of such a thing….but Mrs. Grimes, that’s what I always called her, assured me that it was a common thing back in the day. The 30’s and 40’s I guess. The housewives would fix them a sandwich and a drink and they would be on their way…..good hearts for the down and out. We could use a little more of that in these times we live in.
    Thanks for the update on our resident Eagles! I have to say, it’s really disappointing that we don’t have the Eagle cams anymore. But so glad that you and Roger keep us updated with their comings and goings. I sure hope the storms aren’t too hard on them or their nest tonight! I guess we’ll know tomorrow, how they’ve fared tonight! Blessings to you and our Eagles! Till next time…….😉😏😊

  2. Thanks for checking in Opal. It is funny how certain everyday experiences fade away over the years. I imagine that the hobo lifestyle (and it was a lifestyle for many for various reasons) was mostly a result of The Great Depression as men traveled from town to town seeking an income. The mid to late 1800’s railroad boom laid tracks across the nation and following the train tracks always led them to the next town via shady routes away from traffic and noise. Without resources the empty boxcars were seen as convenient transportation for tired, sleepy wanderers with worn out shoes. I can vaguely remember hobo camps near railroad tracks, on river banks or under bridges. Many must have been WWI vets with war-induced mental issues and during my childhood WWII vets as well. Some were men of all ages just wanting to see the country. Quite a few were seedy characters with gambling or alcohol issues. We were forbidden to go near the camps. Hobos developed a rather elaborate system of terms, sign language and markings that indicated where food might be found or places that should be avoided. I am grateful for my own veteran parents and the stability of our home.

  3. Thank you. Your writing was a most incredible and pleasant start to my day. I too thought of my own mother’s adages, and often the same as your mom’s. I recently told my visiting grandchildren – “a watched pot doesn’t boil.” They loved it – and the expressions on faces were priceless. I look forward to your ongoing photos and finding out how the eaglets are and Jim and Cindy.

  4. Thanks for sharing. Always enjoy seeing and hearing what they are up to.

  5. Thanks

    Sent from my iPhone

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  6. Thanks for the update Jim !!!!!! Your story about the “hobos” was interesting. My mom told my brothers and I stories about my grandma doing the same thing even though they didn’t have much food, there was always enough to share with others less fortunate. Glad our eagles are thriving and becoming more independent. Hope you and your family are having a great summer!!! Thanks for all you and the others do!!!!!……….Polly.

  7. Thank You Jim for your posts. As always it was a JOY to read!!!

  8. Thanks Carol. Mothers are full of wisdom, grace and love. (That goes for grandmothers too!)

  9. Thank you Tracy. I wish they were “up to” something a little more public though.

  10. You are welcome Frances.

  11. Thanks for checking in Polly. As I grow old(er) I realize even more how loving my mother really was. I am growing tired of the politically correct world of today where everyone is put into some hyphenated group demanding one thing or another and where politicians polarize people by convincing them that every other group has an unfair advantage and that only they can set things right again. I miss the days when news was news and not opinions, where reporters didn’t feel compelled to tell us to dress warmly because it is cold out and the government didn’t micromanage our diets. Simpler days flood my memories where people loved and cared for people and equality meant a starting point in life and not an outcome.

  12. Thank you Diane. Mom was a pretty smart woman with hugs that could keep me warm for hours.


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