Joy Is On The Horizon

“It is hard to keep a good man down.”

I have heard that expression many times in my life and I have known many men who have proven its truthfulness. Now I can say that I have seen that truth exhibited in the life of a Bald Eagle as well.

This Bald Eagle.


This is Jim as Roger found him visiting one of his favorite riverside perches yesterday. It has been quite a week for him since his tragic loss of his mate, Cindy. He has done a lot of perching and searching of the skies this week but that is nothing new. Eagles are always perching and searching the skies. They are willing and able to defend their territories from any and all threats. But knowing that eagles pair-bond for life and having seen the mutual strength and dedication of those bonds manifested in actions many times over the last eight years, I have to wonder if he searches of the skies with a slightly different focus this week.

But eagles are wild creatures driven by instincts and pair-bonding is a part of that instinctive motivation that serves their survival well. And in the wild it is always all about survival. Jim is a survivor in the truest sense of the word. Survivors do what is necessary to continue on, to succeed and to flourish!

We humans can easily get tangled up in our emotions. Loss and pain can become snares that trap us for years, decades and lifetimes. But those emotional and mental traps in the wild would spell certain doom. Although we project our feelings onto wild creatures, if those wild creatures were as deeply bound by emotions as we humans can be they would face a threat of a far greater nature.

But eagles were meant to soar.

Enter Joy.

“Joy” is what we are calling the unattached young adult female Bald Eagle that has been following Jim around for the last few days!


She has been staying quietly near Jim, and roosting near the nest. She even has been seen in the nest with Jim adding and rearranging sticks. Now we cannot say if Joy is a possible new mate, an offspring from a past nesting season or both (which happens sometimes). Really, we can’t even say with absolute certainty that Joy is a female as her larger size suggests. But we can say that Joy is being tolerated by Jim who at least sees her as a companion. They are often found in each other’s company as the following image shows.


But we can proclaim with complete certainty that Joy is on the horizon!

(I have never added a personal postscript to a blog posting before but this time I must. This week has been a bit challenging for me at times [Remember those “emotional challenges” I spoke of above?] and the outpouring of lovingly supportive comments from you, our blog family, has been overwhelming and comforting. Thank you all. Secondly, many of you have suggested over the years that I might consider writing a book or two. After Cindy’s terrible accident I thought that writing a book may be a way to generate some funds for some type of memorial to Cindy to mark her historic return to Dayton after a 7 decade Bald Eagle absence. I have written a short children’s book for young readers (possibly the first of a series) to share a part her story along with some embedded eagle facts with the hope of encouraging children to become more involved in wildlife, nature and the outdoors, as well as to build future support for Bald Eagles conservation. I have never attempted such an endeavor before and I have little idea how to proceed. Before I invest my limited personal funds self-publishing or seeking a publisher I was wondering if there was a “market” for such a book. I am guessing it would sell for $15.00 or so with a portion of the proceeds going toward the memorial [which also has to be worked out still]. Please drop me a comment below with your thoughts. Thank you again and keep looking up! Jim)

Published in: on December 8, 2016 at 10:49 am  Comments (69)  

69 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Glad to see Jim move on! Great news!

  2. To first answer your question, yes, I would pay $15 for that book.

    But I would like to thank you for all of your passionate writings and fantastic pictures. Due to your efforts, my wife and I over a period of 4 years spent countless hours eagle watching, which became a passion for us. Sadly, my wife passed away, and those wonderful hours spent together ended. But my story has a happy ending as well. A friend from high school that I hadn’t seen in 44 years contacted me to offer condolences, and we started talking regularly. Long story short, we were married this September. Her name? It’s Joy.

    I am moving from the area soon, landing in Sacramento, where i hope I can start a new string of years with my new wife watching eagles. But I will continue to follow your wonderful blog, and will always have a special connection to Dayton’s eagles.

    Thank you so much,

    Mike Fanning

  3. Without a doubt, there is a market for your book, Jim. I personally would purchase several copies from here in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada. I remain a proud Daytonian as I was born and raised in the Gem city. After making my purchase, I would donate them to school libraries where my children and grandchildren attended. I look forward to your book. Thank you for all you do and sharing photos and stories of our majestic national symbol.

  4. Go for it, Jim!! I’ve always been a supporter of your writings. If you establish a site for upfront orders to help support your effort, I’m in!! Jim and Cindy should be placed in history as the original nesting pair for the Eastwood Eagle Watcher’s. A very hopeful story with the ‘next generation’ of eagles in the Dayton area. Much thanks to you, Roger, Martha and all of the other members of the EEW!

  5. I find the book a worthy endeavor. I would buy a copy for my young grandson (I only have one young grandchild) and I would buy a copy for our neighborhood elementary school’s library. Your book’s premise, as you are thinking about it, is wonderful. As is the cause to which some of the revenue might be dedicated. So I vote yes, please continue down this road! I enjoy learning about Eagles through your Blog and am sincerely glad you addressed the issue, in this one, of humans’ projecting feelings on Eagles – and informed us about true Eagle instincts. It is easy for humans to say, “Awww” and “Poor Jim” but in reality, he’s simply moving on. Another day in the life! Thank you!

  6. What a beautiful comment Mike. I am glad that we could help you find a passion to share with your late wife that created memories that will bring smiles for years to come. I can see the similarities in your story and Jim’s. If he needs someone to talk to who has “been there” I will have him fly your way! We all need to find Joy after heartache. My best to you and your new bride. May your hearts soar untethered in Sacramento. I hear that they have some pretty big birds in California too.

  7. How wonderful the ‘circle of life’ is!! Beautiful story… Best wishes!

  8. I would love to read your book and what a tribute to Jim and Cindy and how their lives touch human hearts.

  9. Thanks for the post! I would definitely be interested if you had a book especially one for kids. But even one more in depth. Have you ever done a calendar of photos from Jim and Cindy? I would be interested in that too. I just stubbled across the site and will be visiting more. Thanks!

  10. Just started following this site after finding out about loosing an eagle in that horrible way. So pleased we possibly have a new mate. Now I need to look on google to see where Dayton is as I live in Great Britain.

  11. Jim, again, your words fill my heart – and this time with hope that Joy brings comfort and peace to Treetop Palace. Of COURSE I would buy your book!!!

  12. Jim, I was so sorry to hear of Cindy’s passing on your blog. It was nice to see far reaching coverage locally and comments on the Southwest Florida Eagle chatroom concerning her death. I would certainly be interested in your publishing endeavor, so sign me up.

  13. Great story, Jim! Yes, I would definitely pay $15 for your book and I think you’re an excellent writer so I know it would be a great read. I want my grandchildren to learn as much as they can about bald eagles, especially since I didn’t know anything about them before 2011. It’s so heartwarming that Joy is on the horizon as I felt my heart aching for Jim, but as you said, we tend to humanize them with our feelings. I believe Jim knew rather quickly that Cindy was not coming back and his God given instinct to mate and produce more eagles allowed him to accept this new potential mate.

  14. Yes! You should do it. I would pay/prepay even, for a copy of your book. You are a talented writer that has truly captivated me. Your passion and dedication is so apparent that you’ve inspired the kids and I to watch for those magnificent eagles each time we go to the lake. We moved to Dayton the same time they did, coincidently. I insist that many people must read your posts and every comment is always the same, “excellent writing.” Go for it! Cindy deserves this! You deserve this!

  15. Hope springs eternal! Fingers crossed for Jim! (A book sounds wonderful!)

  16. Hi Jim,
    Was so saddened by Cindy’s tragic death. I think a book would be a nice
    Thing to do in honor of her. And 15.00
    Is a fair price.

    Perhaps, Joy has come in the morning

  17. I LOVE Bald Eagles. I think they are the most beautiful and majestic creatures in the sky. I would love to come out and watch them, even help you out with them if you need some one. I didn’t even know about your group or even that there were eagles there until I saw the post about Cindi on facebook. I would love some information about their whereabouts and what all you do. I’ve been told about a breeding pair up here around the West Milton, Pleasant Hill area. I would love to see them. Just not sure about the way to go about locating them and the proper way to view and follow them. Maybe I could learn from you folks.


  18. Sure, I’d buy a book. I am a newbie to the Bald Eagle watch, having spent last winter and spring following the DC pair, and only recently saw Jim’s sad story. Thank you for your work and sharing with us.

  19. I would love ❤️ to see a book about it. My son who passed away had a great love of Eagles.

    Sent from my iPad


  20. Jim, you already know I’ll be first in line to purchase your book. It’s a beautiful idea and a beautiful memorial to your special Queen Cindy. I think many can feel the “joy” knowing Eagle Jim has a companion. Thank you for sharing the good news and mostly for sharing your heart for these special eagles. Christmas blessings to you! Gretchen

  21. Thank you, Jim, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Your wonderful email will certainly rate high on any Christmas gift I receive this season!!!!! Hello to Joy!!!

    Dave Musselman and daughter Becky.

  22. So, so sorry for our loss. It hurt almost as much as losing my old dog last summer. I would definitely be a taker on one of your books should you decide to do so. Looking forward to updates on Jim. Your dedication to the eagles and eagle lovers is to be commended.
    Linn Coon

  23. Hi Mr. Weller, my name is Bryce. I don’t know if you remember me, but me, my brother Beckett, and my grandmother Suzi came to Eastwood and tried looking for Jim and Cindy. I had the best time, and I still look in the picture book you gave me all the time. I love the pictures of the 2012 season with Jim and Cindy. I am very sorry for the loss of Cindy. No eagle can replace her. I have done my share of mourning, but after reading this article, I’m so happy. I’m getting a beautiful camera for christmas this year and was so looking forward to taking pictures of Jim and Cindy , but after I heard the news I thought I wouldn’t be able to do that. But I think I still might have a chance, I’m so happy to be hearing the news about Joy. My grandmother and I will be visiting Eastwood as much as we can. I hope I will be able to see you and talk to you again. Maybe I’ll see you at the park? Thank you again, Bryce

  24. I found you on FB following the death of Cindy and subscribed to your blog. I would love to buy a book that you write! Thanks for sharing your eagles with all of us and me here in Texas.

  25. I have been following Jim and Cindy’s story right behind you! I would buy and love a book about them!!! I love reading your Stories!!!! So please follow up with this idea!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Hi, I was curious as to what happened to Cindy, I must have miss your post as I had to get another new iPhone, I’m glad Joy is now in the picture , Thanks for all you do and beautiful pics of the eagles, Merry Christmas to you and yours … Charles in Fairfield, Ohio

  27. You have brought me much happiness today ~ thank you for sharing Joy and the new pictures.

  28. Thanks Jim for that wonderful update.

  29. i love the idea of a book for Cindy. She needs her story told. I have followed the stories over the years and just have not had the tie to go and watch Jim. Happy to see that maybe a new mate is in the picture. And I love the name!


  30. A children’s book is a great idea, and 15 dollars is a fair price. I only recently was introduced to your writing. Sadly, it was when Cindy died. One of the chatters on the Decorah North eagle cam posted the link. Despite the sad subject, the writing was beautifully descriptive. I worked with children for several years before retiring, and I know many would love a book about eagles. I hope you will write it.

  31. I think that would be a wonderful idea!! I only learned of this site after seeing a posting on Facebook from a friend. I was saddened to see and hear of Cindy’s death. Eagles are beautiful and majestic creatures!! I wish I could see some here in Texas where I live. I have family in Iowa and I have seen them there. I was so mesmerized by them that I pulled over to just watch them in the field. When I found your blog I went and read about Cindy and Jim and fell in love with them. Such a tragic thing for Cindy and for Jim. I’m glad to see that another has come around and maybe Jim will he happy again. I think her name is very appropriate for her…..Joy….after sadness! My interest has been peaked again about these beautiful birds. I would love to see you write a book!!! And yes I would gladly pay $15 for a book! Thank you for sharing their story!!

  32. Even as Cindy’s passing leaves us saddened, Jim himself will lift our spirits. Life goes on! Thank you!

    As for the book, I think it is a marvelous idea. Perhaps Five Rivers could carry it in their gift shops? I would be happy to do reading with raptors programs to get the word out too!

    GH Raptor Center

  33. All, eagle watchers pray for joy at this wonderful nest!

  34. Jim , I would love to see you write a book and would gladly pay $20 for it , as it is for a great cause that you are doing and for your time and effort spent on this great blog

    Thank you so much

    Donald Bell

  35. I would buy your book to read to my future grandchildren!! When I become a grandmother I intend to instill adventure and respect for nature in my grandbabies so that the legacy of living nature continues long after I’m gone.

  36. I think this is a wonderful idea. I would defintely pay $15 for such a book and would have to buy 5-10 copies for great nieces and nephews and other children I know. It would be a great classroom addition as well. Local school children(and any school educating students on eagle history in the US or eagle habits)would benefit from such a book. Perhaps you could contact a publisher of classroom books to test the feasibility of such a project. A book about Jim and Cindy and perhaps Joy with pictures you and Roger have taken would be awesome.
    Thanks for your continued coverage of our Dayton eagles.

  37. I think it would be a great idea. Ayden and I would love it as I think many would.

  38. Oh I hope “Joy” is our Christmas present!!!!! So many emotions for you right now and yes, yes, yes I would buy your book!!!! My grand babies call me bird lady because they know how much i love them and so they will have no choice when I read your book to them!!!! Jim you have a gift with your writing and you need to tell Cindy’s story. Cindy would love it!!! Thanks for sharing. Polly.

  39. Thank you Bryce. You really do remind me so much of myself when I was middle school age. You are right, Cindy was one of a kind but at times like these it is always better to be thankful for the blessings we knew than to focus on the loss. You are an the perfect illustration as to why I write this blog. There are young gentlemen like yourself that are hungry to learn more about Bald Eagles and birds of prey in general. When I was growing up there were books and the occasional TV special about eagles but that was about it. Much like you my desire to know more drove me to research. You have so many more resources at your disposal than I had as a boy. But nothing surpasses being able to watch a wild eagle at play, on the hunt, caring for eggs and eaglets, courting a mate or just soaring in the sky! I remember how either Jim or Cindy flew over you, your grandmother, your brother and myself that day at Eastwood Lake and you were thrilled as you tried to capture a picture with your old camera. That NEVER happened when I was a kid because they were just not around. I am so grateful that you are able to see them in real life. Keep that enthusiasm alive. Keep your new camera ready and keep looking up!

  40. Jim, I have read many things you have written and you write quite well. I think featuring some of the wonderful pictures you have taken over the years, general facts about bald eagles and stories from the lives of Jim and Cindy would make a great book about eagles for any audience. I have no ideas about publishing or what has already been published about Bald Eagles, but I think you could make a very nice unique book. I can see both a children’s version and a glossy “coffee-table” version. Some of the things you have on your blog could be easily used. Another thought is a devotional centered around eagles. This kind of book would make a great gift as well as be a fitting tribute to Cindy the bald eagle.

  41. I would to love to buy one of those books for my granddaughter.

  42. Joy is a beautiful name for a female Bald Eagle. I hope it works out between Joy and Jim, and romance starts between them. It makes me feel better knowing that Jim is not completely alone, and that Cindy is watching over him and Joy.

  43. It would be my pleasure to help by purchasing your book and hopefully getting my grandson more interested in nature.

  44. I will buy anything that you write. I love your style – I feel you are a friend and I am experiencing these things with you. (& am sure lots of others feel that way too).

  45. As a former teacher I think the children’s book is a fantastic idea. I look for this type of book for my four year old granddaughter and collected them when I was teaching. Getting children interested in and involved with Nature is so important for them and for the preservation of our environment. I hope you do publish your book.

  46. Thank you for this Joyful update, Jim. I would love to buy your book at $15 or so and would probably buy another one or two as gifts. Also, is your children’s book for sale now, and if so, where? Thank you.

  47. Hello sir,

    I recently subscribed to your blog as I read of lovely lady Cindy’s passing on the Romeo and Juliet facebook page, whom I enthusiastically follow, along with another majestic FL eagle couple Harriet and M15. I also have the honor of observing for three years now another fascinating eagle couple perched on a cell tower, where they have their nest, across the street from my home in FL.

    But this year somehow one of the eagles all of a sudden “disappeared”. I was able to photograph them together one last time three + weeks ago but all of a sudden in the local news was a horrific story of two eagles fighting, entangled in the sky who then fell towards a street sewer, one eagle flew away, the other fell inside and was eventually rescued, only to pass away from injuries, a few days later under the care of specialists.

    Well this fight was just a few miles from where I live and my heart, as it aches, tells me it was my own beloved neighbor eagle because their tower home was repaired several months ago and most of their nest fell to the ground and new lighting was added at the very top, so I’m guessing the eagles started scouting for a new place to build.

    Of coarse I’m just guessing but Cindy and the injured eagle passed away within the same week and it just hit me, hard.
    I teared up as I saw your pictures with such a regal lady in your arms, lifeless. How sorry am I, as I miss my own. My lone remaining eagle is seen less and less nowadays…

    I will continue to follow your heartfelt blog and yes, I would purchase your book, several in fact, as I have many nephews and nieces.

    Merry Christmas!

  48. Great idea! Just do it!

  49. All my experiences have proven, when we step outside our comfort zone, the accomplishments are greatest of all. God speed!

  50. I would buy for all my grands. We have an eagle moment every time they come over and of course the live streaming on eagle nests
    Our CAR society is named “Eagles of Liberty”.
    This may not be proper to ask but did DNR let you preserve your female Cindy?

  51. I would buy such a book! Even if just a picture book of Jim and Cindy of their life in pictures would be an amazing tribute to such a magnificent bird! If you decide against the book, please organize some time of a donation set up to fund the memorial. I would contribute to that as well! How about the calendar, will a calendar be created for this upcoming year? A special thanks to you and Roger for such great memories of our Cindy over the years!

  52. Wow. Sadness followed by possible Joy for Jim. Though I only heard about Cindy on another eagle website, I cried when she passed. I had my first eagle cam experience on the Hanover cam approximately two years ago and now watch several across the country, and I am always looking in the sky to spot a live eagle. Ironically, I lost my 19 year old cat, also named Joy in mid November. It brings me Joy to know that Jim may have found a new mate. Thanks for the touching update.

  53. eaglejim, thank you for the encouraging update. I wanted to write you on your previous blog, but I was caught up in my own human emotions, feeling like I had lost a friend and I just didn’t know what to say. Jim, I can only imagine how you must have felt at the news. It was shocking and devastating. Anyway, Jim, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    To answer your question about the book, yes I would be interested. I have no small children in my life, but eagles are my life. I don’t think $15.00/$20.00 is to much to ask for your book. I have been watching approximately 6 nests since 2012 and Jim and Cindy is one that I follow. So much of what I’ve learned about Bald Eagles come from you and your blogs. I can’t thank you enough for all you do for us and the eagles. I pray for Joy or who ever Jim may choose as his mate, Jim, may you have a blessed Christmas and a Healthy, Happy 2017.

    Sandy Stricklin
    Omaha, NE

  54. I told my daughter I saw a bald eagle today and she just laughed at me. She thought I saw a hawk or that I was just being a goofy mom. Haha to her surprise! There are bald eagles in Dayton! I wasn’t sure if they were here or not until today! I saw the eagle flying over the river by Stewart street on my way to UD to pickup my daughter! What an amazing site, wish I wasn’t driving and could have taken a picture, we drove back to the site but it was gone.thanks for helping me confirm what I saw with your site! I’d love to have a children’s Eagle book for my little boys!

  55. Jim I for one am whole heartily in support of your book or books! I even would love for Roger to do some calendars. .. Thank you both for your commitment to these wonderful creatures God has given us.

    April Davis

  56. I will buy a book just let me know when it’s done thanks Bobby

  57. Oh Joy! This just made my day! So happy with this news. Thank you for posting! A very appropriate name by the way!

  58. Thank you Jim for the update. I would buy your book for sure

  59. Hi, Jim,
    I learned about you and your group with the post about Cindy’s passing, due to it showing up in the eagle groups I follow on FB. There are several bald eagle nest cams I watch (peregrine falcons and ospreys as well) though I have little opportunity to see eagles near me (Hudson Valley, and there are some, but tough to find). I was moved to tears by that post and this one as well – grief and joy (indeed). I’ve observed the losses of eagle mates and too many nestlings. It’s raw nature. But they move on because they have to. Thank you for your beautiful, insightful and heartfelt writings. Far more moving than most.

    I also see bald eagles and peregrines have been delisted in WA state, and it saddens me, but it’s also a sign of their healthy recovery and greater numbers. There are few things I love more than our wonderful raptors. So grateful for the windows we’ve been given into this previously mysterious and underappreciated part of nature.

    I will be happily following Jim’s new adventures and possible new union with the young and lovely Joy 🙂

  60. Jim, I forgot to add, I would definitely pay $15 or more for your book!! I’ve gotten my 8-yr-old granddaughter into bald eagles and it would be wonderful to share with her.

  61. Thank you for sharing the good news. If you do write a book, perhaps, Glen Helen, Wegerzyn, Aullwood and Cox Arboretum would agree to sell the book and maybe even host book signings.

  62. Love the name Joy! If she’s accepted, it’s perfect and she’s a stunner!

  63. A stunner indeed Joleen. Jim looks a bit smitten.

  64. I agree with Peg Conroy! I would buy one for each of the nieces and nephew’s families as a keepsake and I have a big family!!!

  65. I was thrilled to see that we have watchers even in Great Britain! When you google Dayton you will find that we have been and will continue to be a city of inventions! From the Wright Brothers and flight to cash registers at the National Cash Register (NCR) to the Barn Gang with Charles F. Kettering and their creation of the starter for automobiles, Dayton has been a wonderful place. Come visit some day and know why the eagles mean so much to a city trying to survive and thrive!


  66. Jim. How on earth did I miss your update? I only now, Dec. 31, began to see some emails in response to your Dec.8 story. As always, fantastic reading. I think $15.00 is very appropriate. I paid $22.00 plus tax for a beautiful children’s book illustrated by the Foot and Mouth Artists which I have long supported. I, too, live in Canada like one of the Blog followers; Stouffville, Ontario and do not order online at all, so I hope it will be well publicized and available in the Toronto area. I am thrilled at the name ‘Joy’ and I wonder what the news will be in your next tale to us. Very enjoyable photos! Happy NewYear to your and yours! Carol

  67. I would certainly buy the book. I love your writings.!

  68. So true Diane. I always include the step ladder in that list of Daytonians’ inventions. Flying machines, step ladders, eagles…Daytonians just keep looking up!

  69. Thanks again for commenting Carol. Things get busy at times and the comments tend to lag a bit. I have the first children’s book written and I am working through the process of doing something with it.

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