This Road to Tomorrow

I know a few things about eagles. They have always fascinated me. From the time that I was old enough to read I was drawn to books that related their life and struggles, their challenges and conquests. I hungered to learn more about their instincts and anatomy, their habits and their character. But books can only take you so far down the road of knowledge.

Since there were no eagles in Dayton, I went to them. Captive eagles in zoos added to my appreciation of these majestic, winged wonders. I can still recall my first glimpse of a wild eagle during a trip to The Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Later, road trips to the southern shore of Lake Erie allowed me to witness their nesting activity and interaction with each other. I went to where the eagles were to learn more about them and learn more of them. Learning upon learning, fact upon fact, knowledge upon knowledge, each another paver on the road to discovery.

But it wasn’t until the eagles came to me that I truly began to learn from them.

Over the years, Jim and Cindy became a part of my life as I came to know them as individuals. Observing them daily from a respectable distance they taught me about their power, their resiliency, their devotion and their tenderness toward one another.

Those were the roads of my past, the roads of knowledge and discovery. But the funny thing about knowledge and discovery is that they soon make you realize how much you do not know, how much you have yet to discover.

Although I may know a few things about eagles, I may never truly understand them for that is a different road entirely.

When we lost Cindy in November, Jim did the predictable thing and searched for her and when his searches proved to be in vain he returned to his favorite perch and waited. Before long we noticed the young female we came to call Joy perching nearby, waiting and watching Jim. When he flew, she flew. She made her presence known but was never pushy or intrusive, she was just there. Eventually Jim seemed to sense the unavoidable reality of the severing of the life-bond that he had painstakingly developed with Cindy over their years together. That was when the tables turned and he began to follow Joy. Together they began to build a new bond through perching near each other, soaring together and working side by side on The Treetop Palace.

But then, unexpectedly, young Joy disappeared.

Around the beginning of the new year we found Jim in the company of a more mature female. We saw their bonds beginning to grow. They too are now soaring together, perching together and daily working on the nest together. Had Joy simply left? Had she been vanquished by this fully mature female? These are just a few more items on the long list of things that I do not know. Perhaps the answers lie a little farther down the road. But Jim apparently has found yet another queen. Allow me to introduce you to Queen What’s-Her-Name of The Treetop Palace.

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She is a beautiful monarch! We can tell that she is at least 5 years old, maybe more. We have no idea if she too had lost her previous mate or if this is her first pair-bond. We have no idea where she came from. All we really know is that she is here and she has Jim’s approval and that is what really matters. We also know that for the last 8 years (2 unsuccessful years followed by 6 successful years) mid-February was egg laying time and history has taught us that this mild winter may move things ahead a bit. Yesterday Jim was seen in a nearby cornfield gathering remnants of last year’s corn husks and leaves to carpet the floor of the palace nursery. Then today there was some mating going on!

Meanwhile things at Eastwood Lake have been jumping…or more accurately, soaring! It is fairly easy to notice a perching eagle in a nearby, leafless tree but even when the trees are on the far side of the lake and you are looking through scattered snow flurries, it is really hard not to notice 9 eagles perched together!

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And that’s not all! The Eastwood MetroPark complex is dissected by The Mad River dividing it into 2 sections, Eastwood Lake on the north and Eastwood Park on the south. Up until this past month the eagle activity has always centered around Eastwood Lake but now these wandering juveniles are also perching in the trees of Eastwood Park! This means that there are often eagles perched directly above picnic tables, hiking trails, fishing ponds and parking lots! That means that with a decent camera and lens you may capture an image like this from a distance of less than 100 feet!

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It also means that your encounters with these youngsters may bring chuckles and some unexpected behavioral observations. Here is one such encounter from last week that I simply must share. I had observed one young male that seemed to be quite a ladies’ man. Several times I had notice two females that were in the habit of chasing one another from the tall tree that this particular male was fond of perching atop. (They reminded me of two high school girls squabbling over the “boy of their dreams” who was completely oblivious of their fondness for him.) One day as he sat quietly minding his own business with one of the females perched about 10 feet below his position, the second female came flying across the lake heading for their tree. As what I assumed to be some unkind words were screamed, the oncoming bird swooped at the perched female flushing her from the tree. The young male looked on with little concern about all of the commotion below him and contently watched as the second female chased her rival across the lake. He continued to watch as the second female broke off her pursuit, circled above the water, caught a fish and headed back towards his tree. (Now I do not know if what happened next was intentional or coincidental. I will let you be the judge.) When the female carrying the fish reached the tree she appeared to be landing on a limb slightly below the young male but she either missed the limb or never meant to land there at all. Instead she jerked abruptly upward causing the young male to duck as she almost hit him in the face with the fish before dropping it from her talons and allowing it to fall to the ground. Then, without a second glance, she headed on to the other side of the park! I could almost see the “Hey! What did I do?” expression on the clueless young male’s face.

The many roads to learning are adventurous ones. You can never tell what may lie around the next bend. Like Queen What’s-Her-Name…(That reminds me, “What’s-Her-Name” is not a very regal name for royalty. Joy may be gone but joy is still abounding at the palace and hope fills the air! We need a name for our new queen so I am turning to you, our faithful readers, for recommendations as to what her name should be. Please comment below if you have a suggestion so we can give our royal lady a proper name.) Now, as I was saying, the road to learning is an adventure. You can never tell what may lie around the next bend. Like our new queen’s arrival and Joy’s sudden departure, things can change quite rapidly. We cannot write the story, we can only report it but as we travel this road we travel it together. We cannot know if this is the road to tears or the road to smiles but we can travel on in hope knowing that each step takes us a bit further on this road to tomorrow.

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Published in: on January 29, 2017 at 10:47 am  Comments (7)  

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was on my way home and seen 4 in a tree by the highway I had to stop and get my first picture of them they make my heart beat 90 miles I love to see them

  2. Sir, I need to let you know that I have been following your writings, it’s pure masterpieces of your love of Jim and Cindy and after. I cried when queen Cindy past and felt such sadness for Jim, but watching 43 live eagle nests from all over the USA I have seen sadness and utter joy and I am a eagle lover, have learned so much and continue to learn and see new experiences every day. Maybe the new queen should be named sunshine, it’s because Eagles in the sun light glow pure white and are majestic and beautiful and it appears that sunshine has replaced sadness. Hope Jim is healing and pray for new beginnings of a new mate and many eaglets yet to come. Thank you for sharing your journey, I just love the way you write, you put me right there with the Eagles and I so respect and appreciate your words, God bless you and ALL Eagles and Gods masterpieces of every kind.
    Thank you again and God bless you, never stop writing, please.

  3. I too love the eagles and drive by a lot to catch a glimpse.I did see them both Friday in a tree next to route 4 .I was thrilled.I was in Franklin last weekend going along Route 73 by river I seen another pair of eagles in the trees.Do you have any idea of how many we do have around the Dayton area?

  4. Be careful out there Jennifer! They do have a way of catching your attention and your heart too.

  5. Keep looking up Pamela. They are always out there somewhere.

  6. Almost every large body of water in Ohio has or is seeing eagles Bonnie. Every year there will be more.

  7. Thank you Jeannine, your words are too kind. God blesses me everyday with opportunities to sing His praises. If my words have made you smile it is simply a reflection of the joy I find in His creativity. You have witnessed the glow of eagle feathers flashing in sunbeams like beacons drawing our attention away from everyday cares and forcing our eyes towards heaven. You know of the inspiration that permeates such an encounter. Sharing that experience flows naturally from the heart of those who have witnessed such beauty.


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