A Broken Record

Like the consistent ticking of the grandfather’s clock that stands like a wooden sentry just across the room from where I sit, life at The Treetop Palace moves on in a never ending cycle. It is as predictable as it is unexpected.

“Predictable and unexpected” may seem like an oxymoron but in this case the terms are more complimentary than conflicting. From study and years of observations we know the cycle well. It is easy to predict what will happen next but we never know quite when the next event will take place. That is why we watch and wait. When the predictable does happen it is like encountering an old friend. One’s mind is flooded with the memories of past events within that cycle. Old questions answered long ago return seeking answers that are yet to be revealed this time around. I am sure that in a lot of ways my postings may seem like a broken record as each year the same story unfolds. If you have followed our musings over the years you already know what lies ahead to some extent. If you are devotees of a local nest in your hometown you surely see the similarities in our happenings here in Dayton and the adventures you embrace there. It can be a bit of a challenge to share the same story time and time again without sounding like the repetitive scratchy notes of a broken record. (It just occurred to me that some readers may not have any idea what I am talking about. A “record” is what we older folks used to call the recorded discs now known as “vinyl”. Once scratched, the phonographic needle would bounce back, replay a few notes, hit the scratch again, bounce back again… and therefore play the same segment of music over and over. Those were the good old days.) But new readers are always finding our blog and we have over 880 followers now so for many of you this may be your first time joining us on the cycle. Welcome aboard and hang on tight!

This year I do note a difference as the memories are a bit bittersweet since the loss of Cindy in November but I realize that life in the wild is wild and it must go on. Jim and Hope are now the stars of the story and I look forward to the privilege of watching their story as it unfolds!

So where are we in the cycle?

Right where we should be. The January nest building frenzy has slowed to a casual pastime. Jim and Hope are chasing each other across the sky in a carefree romp of devotion and enthrallment as their bond grows. (I will share more about them next time.)

But one of those inevitable events has just taken place over the last week and that is where I would like to turn our focus for the remainder of this post. The arrival of the juvenile and sub-adult eagles this past December was predictable for they come every winter now, but what was unexpected was the number of youngsters. Two years ago there were around three, last year maybe four or so, although there may have been as many as six one day. This year we were seeing as many as nine on a regular basis and I believe that there may have been as many as a dozen on the most populated day! They were usually found dotting the trees on the westernmost, and most remote, end of the Eastwood Lake. And since eagle watchers are usually terrible at keeping secrets, there was no shortage of photographers with big lenses to document the activity. The steady increase in the numbers of young, unattached eagles on the lake shows how the population continues to rebound from their recent brush with extinction. The decades of declining numbers are just another memory but those memories serve as a warning and a lesson about the frailty of wildlife struggling for survival with all of the manmade challenges that confront them.

But the inevitable, recent event of which I spoke was Jim’s reclamation of his territory from the youngsters to make the area safe for the yet to arrive 2017 eggs and eaglets. Most of last week, if Jim wasn’t chasing Hope, he was chasing youngsters. He flushed them from trees along the lake, he flushed them from trees in the well field and he even flushed them from trees in the park portion of Eastwood. Like a Roto-Rooter repair man, Jim has this flushing thing down! Once he had them airborne he escorted them away from the area. I am sure some of the youngsters were his own and perhaps his 2016 eaglets were part of the group as well. I assume that they must have wondered why Dad’s attitude suddenly changed towards them but that is life in the wild. While they were here they were so fun to watch. Often they would chase each other above the lake or steal food from one another. Sometimes they would steal a fish from an unhappy gull. (Often the gull would chase after the eagle but I have to wonder what in the world they would have done if they had actually ever caught up with one!) I am hoping that as the cycle continues we will have even more youngsters to enjoy next December, but for now, here are a few of the hundreds of images captured of this year’s group.












They were awkwardly clumsy at times, occasionally missing perches, dropping fish, slipping on the ice… Icy landings were not always graceful and the younger juveniles looked a little perplexed as they watched the fish swimming somehow out of reach just under the ice on which they were standing. We had seen most of it before, but not in these numbers. The cycle this year rotated in some unexpected directions but we recognized the soundtrack that accompanied the action. The songs were familiar although the harmonies were new, but it made me realize that nature is filled with beautiful music, even when it comes from a broken record.

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 8:21 pm  Comments (38)  

38 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful story and even more beautiful pictures. I hope we soon see Jim and Hope getting their nest ready for their 2017 season. We have a lot to look forward to.

  2. Thank you!!! What amazing pictures!!! The way it all works out…. I am so happy that Jim now has hope…. Please keep us posted when you can…. Thank You!!!

  3. Great story, I loved it.

  4. Nice story, and amazing photos!!

  5. Photos are beautiful! Thank you!

  6. So enjoy the blog, thank you yet again for a wonderful story, my eyes tear up yet and probably will forever for Cindy, it makes my heart hurt, but I smile when I hear the stories of the new love, she does bring up hope, and these pictures are stunning, as always, both you and Roger know what your doing 🙂 Thank you so much…

  7. thank you for the wonderful photos, comments, and observations. Made my morning!

  8. Awesome! Thank you.

  9. Thank you for your kind words Adrian. Jim and Hope are all ready to start their 2017 family. We are anticipating great things!

  10. You are welcome. Keeping everyone posted is what we do so as soon as we know anything new we will let you know.

  11. We are glad that you enjoyed the post Marty. It was quite a sight to see so many young eagles right here in Dayton.

  12. Thank you Veronica! Sometimes they seem to pose for the camera (but not very often). Digital photography makes it possible to take hundreds of shots in a day of which you may find a dozen or so that you really like. We are glad that you enjoyed the posting!

  13. Thanks Dawn! Your comment means a lot and the exclamation points made me smile because they hint that a bit of the excitement found its way to you too!

  14. Thank you Darlene. I did not intend to make you tear up but sometimes warm hearts bubble over like that. Cindy was one of a kind. Roger is the one who knows what he is doing, I just get lucky every now and then. Your comment started my day with a smile. Thanks for that too.

  15. I am a newbie on your posts but I have to say, I love them!! It’s fantastic to read that so many youngsters showed up or came back to the area, even though it was just for a short time. Thank you for your beautiful posts and amazing pictures. They help a person working indoors all day feel like we’re there watching from a birds-eye view.

  16. I am glad that we were able to get your morning off to a good start Nancy. Every now and then sunlight, weather and the eagles come together at the same time. Usually at least one of those three ingredients are missing. I met a lot of really nice folks out there and made some new friends in the process. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  17. Yes they are Suzie! Thanks for the thank you.

  18. Awesome photo’s Thanks for sharing!

  19. Thank you for your ‘broken record’ story. The photos were incredible.

  20. One of the things I got a kick out with Cindy I was constantly playing this little game of “guessing who’s who” with Roger, he once gave me a clue and I hold it dear to my heart…. “Darlene, Cindy always has her mouth open” I am going to miss looking for her in the pictures :’ But it will be fun to discover a new attribute with Hope… 🙂

  21. Thank you James. We hope that by sharing others may enjoy the adventure even if they cannot make it to Eastwood and hopefully they might learn something new along the way.

  22. Thanks again Carol. I will keep telling the same story over and over again until somebody gives me a quick nudge. My needle may not be as sharp as it once was but I am still in the groove.

  23. Roger says it like he sees it Darlene. Marcia is a patient woman. I could comment on the female being the one that always has her mouth open but the couch is not a very comfortable place to sleep. I hope Hope is kicking you soon.

  24. Thank you for enlightening us “newbies”. I so look forward to your pictures and posts. 💞

  25. Thank you for your continuing coverage of the Dayton eagles. Your descriptions and pictures are world class.

  26. I love to hear about the adventures of our growing eagle population. All of us in the Dayton area, how many would be willing to work to get a camera such as those we see in Pittsburgh, Florida, Georgia, D.C. to name only a few? With over 800 now subscribed, we could join together to make this happen. One voice doesn’t work well but a crowd, we can make our own music to share with even more children and adults.

    We have strong media resources that could join together. I am sure that Metro Parks would be able to help with publicity or with organizing. They have done such a terrific job over the years.

    Just my wondering for the day…….

    Diane the Dayton Eagle lover!!

  27. Loved the photos. Thank you….

  28. Love your posts! I saw the juveniles about three weeks ago. Are you saying now that Jim has run them off and they have been displaced and flew to parts unknown or are they just elsewhere in the park at a “safe” distance?

  29. Love so many are there!! It’s wonderful to see. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos.

  30. You are welcome Terri. We like newbies. One of our goals is to share the story with those who have not heard the adventure for it is a story that should be shared, for a million reasons it should be shared. Please feel free to share our blog address with your friends.

  31. Thank you Bob. We are glad you are enjoying the coverage!

  32. Thanks again for commenting Diane. We had cameras on the nest streaming live video online for a few years but it became extremely more expensive and the project was dropped. We partnered with The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and others and used ground based cameras so the coverage was not nearly as amazing as the AEF cams and some eagle-cams. The well field where the nest tree stands is a drinking water recharge facility with strict restrictions on infrastructure changes and access to protect our drinking water supply making camera installation and maintenance difficult. Additionally, law the cameras must be at least 45 degrees from directly above the nest and Jim and Hope’s tree makes meeting that requirement difficult.

  33. Thanks Carole. It is encouraging to know we are still touching hearts.

  34. I am glad that you were able to enjoy the juvies during their visit Susan. Jim knows that their is no “safe” distance for other predators within his territory when there are eggs or eaglets in the nest. Purely by instinct he is triggered to clear all threats from the area and when he is taking his turn incubating the eggs or brooding the eaglets Hope will defend the area as well. Both youngsters and adults will pass nearby at times but they will be confronted and expelled. Almost all of he juveniles have left the area but being unattached they will roam freely throughout Ohio and neighboring states following rivers, streams and other nomadic eagles, occasionally being rebuffed by other nesting pairs.

  35. You are welcome Joleen. It is exciting!

  36. Thank you Julie. Some say that newbies are easily excited but the good news is that the excitement continues for years for our eagles are breathing bearers of excitement and inspiration. Every graceful flap showers those below with smiles, every effortless glide uplifts weary hearts.

  37. I am new to this blog and I must say you have a way with words. Have you written a book? The pictures are also beautiful.

  38. Welcome aboard Wanda. Thanks for joining us. I am glad you enjoy the blog postings. I have written some stories for my grandchildren and I am working on a children’s book.

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