What’s in a Number ?

Numbers are important things. That is a lesson I learned many times as I was growing up. If Dad said to be home at 5PM, he meant 5PM, not 5:30 or even 5:05! (It took me several uncomfortable experiences to learn that one.) Our house had a number on the front wall so it could be located. Our phone had a number so we could be contacted. (I still recall various phone numbers from childhood but cannot for the life of me remember current phone numbers. Luckily, my cell phone has a memory like an elephant.) Schedules have numbers. Budgets have numbers. Grades have numbers. Sport uniforms and race cars have numbers. Birthdates have numbers. (My birthdate tells me that next month I will turn 65 and so, over the last few weeks, I have developed a great friendship with people from the local Social Security office! Now there is a place that overflows with numbers! If they have any left over they pass them on to the IRS.) Numbers are everywhere. In fact, numberless places are few in number.

Numbers can be fun. Many puzzles use numbers and numbers can be puzzling things as well. When I was in the first grade the taught me that 2+2=4, but the very next day they claimed that 3+1=4! (Come on now! How much stress can a 6-year-old kid handle!) Apparently today, 2+2 can equal 27, a turtle, or anything else that makes you feel good about yourself. (I wish those rules had applied when Dad wanted me home by 5.) I like number puzzles like “52 Cs in a D.” (52 cards in a deck.) Or “12 Ms in a Y”. (12 months in a year.) Those sequential puzzles where you have to find the missing number are fun too, like “15, 21, 24, 30, 33, 39, __” (Do you know the next number? I will reveal the answer below Orv’s image at the end of this post.)

Here is another puzzle: 18 or 19 or 20 or 21. As I write this post our Carillon eaglets are 68, 70 and 72 days old. (More numbers!) By now they are as big as Mom or Dad depending on gender. Females are larger than males and therefore if the females have about a 7-foot wingspan and the males have about a 6-foot wingspan, those numbers above represent the total wingspans of the trio! 18 feet of wing if they are all males, 19 feet if two are males, 20 if only one is male and 21 if they are all female! That is a lot of wing in that nest as they exercise in preparation for their first flights!

Orv and Willa have done an excellent job getting the trio to this point. For the next two weeks or more Pilot, Aviator and Navigator will hop/fly from one side of the nest to the other as they strengthen muscle and coordination in preparation for fledging from the nest in mid-June. That first step over the rim is a huge step for them and one of the biggest challenges of their lives. Statistically, 50% of juvenile eagles do not survive to see their first birthday and it is that first flight that claims most of those birds. This is one of the few areas where urban eagles might have an advantage over their more rural cousins. Many urban nests have human followers that can intervene if a wing is broken or the fledgling sustains some other injury. Urban birds are more likely to be rescued and taken to a rehab center. Some eaglets fledge from the nest to the ground and simply do not have the strength to get themselves airborne again and a grounded eagle is an eagle in peril. Humans should only get involved as a last resort as the youngsters must learn to figure out how to correct their mistakes to survive. Just hopping onto a rock or a bench might give the novice the air it needs to fly to a safer perch.

Like any parent, Orv and Willa are always coming or going in an effort to meet the needs of their youngsters.

In sunshine…

or in a driving downpour good parents do what must be done.

Mom and Dad are just occasionally dropping off food now as the trio’s massive growth periods are behind them. And like in most families, the kids don’t always like what they are served.

Orv and Willa are leaving the nest unattended more and more so the eaglets are getting less reliant on the parents’ constant presence. At their current size they are less likely to be attacked and quite frankly, they need the space. The kids are getting pretty bored up there and pass the days watching people move about the park, preening their feathers or exercising, but mostly watching for Mom or Dad to show up with food! Their practice sessions are getting more dramatic and each eaglet seems to be an Olympic judge when a sibling tries their wings. “I give that one a seven! Not bad!” (There are those numbers again.)

And also as with most families, kids left alone without parental supervision can get into squabbles.

We are content to watch them learn some basic skills. We do not want them to leave the nest before they are fully ready to do so with great success. Dad is content to watch it all too. Just today he perched in a neighboring tree after delivering a snack and flew off only after he knew all was well.

(Are you ready for that answer for the sequence puzzle above? It is 51. (Just add the digits of each number to that number to form the next number in the sequence [15+1+5=21, 21+2+1=24, 24+2+4=30…])

This early, summer-like weather is a great time to visit the park and watch the eaglets exercise, especially on windy days! The thermometer was at nearly 90 degrees today but summer doesn’t officially begin until the 20th, but what’s in a number?

Published in: on June 5, 2021 at 11:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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