Milestones

Because large stones are heavy and therefor extremely hard to move, they have always been used to indicate distances and boundaries. Property boundaries were commonly marked by large stones placed at the corners of a parcel of land as a permanent indication of where one owner’s property ended and a neighbor’s property began. Travelers along roadways were able to judge the length of their journey as they passed large stones placed along the roadside at various intervals to indicate distance. These markers became known as “milestones”.

Markers are necessary to gauge our progress along a road or on our journey through life. Although milestones have now been replaced by reflective signage we often refer to important events in our lives as milestones and it is a good practice to pause and reflect on those events that have marked our journeys thus far, and to be thankful for our progress.

Milestones can mark great accomplishments like a marriage, a birth, a new diploma, a new job, a new home or a retirement. Milestones can also seem small and quite usual at the time like learning the alphabet, learning to write, learning to drive or a first date that turns into a lifetime bond. One of the earliest milestones in our lives is learning to walk… or fly!

Jim and Hope’s eaglets have passed that milestone with flying colors! Literally!

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This milestone means that The Treetop Palace has seen 15 eaglets successfully take their first flights in the last 7 nesting seasons! Considering that during the previous 72 years there had been no eaglets fledged from aeries in Dayton, Ohio (mostly because there were no nesting eagles in the entire Montgomery County area) that is quite a milestone indeed!

The first flight is always a bit of a challenge, but the first landing is even more critical. Hollow bones, 6-foot wingspans and a lack of experience can be a dangerous combination. Jim and Hope make it look pretty easy since they have had years of practice, but their youngsters have conquered that challenge. True to the pattern of past years, Jim and Hope led the novice flyers deeper into the protective confines of the well field where the youngsters have been perfecting their skills. Another challenge they seem to have mastered is getting airborne from the ground. Flying from the ground requires more muscle strength than dropping into the air from a higher perch and some grounded eaglets struggle to accomplish this feat. Our two eaglets seem to be doing just fine at that milestone too. But even when they are resting together along the lake they are still impressive sights!

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They really seem to enjoy each other’s company and now that they are more mobile and are working on mastering their hunting skills, we should be seeing them more frequently around the Eastwood area. I have also seen a second-year juvenile in the area that is quite possibly our 2016 eaglet. The fact that Jim has not chased the one-year-old away indicates his satisfaction with the new fledglings’ progress and no longer views the older bird as a threat. This also bodes well for this fall and winter’s juvenile eagle convention on Eastwood Lake!

An added bonus for the approaching cooler weather is the expected completion of the new Harshman Road bridge spanning The Mad River. The 2-year project, now in the final phase, has added a walkway/bicycle path which finally allows for safe passage for pedestrians between the two sections of the Eastwood MetroPark complex, yet another milestone.

This nesting season is now complete. It began with a lot of unknowns as Jim had taken a new mate after Cindy’s tragic, accidental death. Life in the wild is wild, but as I look back over the last 6 months I find myself smiling. It is good to take the time to pause and to be grateful for our blessings as we look back over life’s milestones.

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Published in: on July 19, 2017 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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