“I am proud to present the bald eagle aerial battle. Perhaps the most challenging photograph I have taken to date. Bald eagles are battling over salmon in mid air at high speed. The holder tries to fly as fast as they can to save the fish, the aggressor has to fly faster snatching the fish from behind and then dive below the holder.”
It’s a cozy rainy day. The earth takes nourishment as the moisture cools and replenishes the earth, and brings water directly to the plants and wildlife. The air smells rich and full. The sound of the rain is even more soothing than the roaring surf, more like a gentle brook.
In a conversation with Jim (my husband) a few weeks ago, I remarked about the fact that the eagles that I follow on videocam (Decorah eagles) seem to just take rain in stride. Even in the worst storms, with the nest 80 feet up in a tree rocking to and fro like the lullaby we all know (until we humans are sure the bows will break), they seem to just hunker down and ride it out. I pondered whether animals might actually view rainy days as days of peace. With everyone snuggled down, even the predators, for the most part, seem to take the day off. Our bird feeders are being visited by only a few souls, and only during the lulls. Wouldn’t it be nice to relax in the nest and be able to drop your guard for a just a little while and just “be”?
It’s a cozy rainy day, not an ugly one. Get cozy in your nest, whether that’s at home or at work, or get out your umbrella and go for a walk, or just go out and dance in the rain.
I’ve got a window open next to my desk, and I’m about to settle in and work on today’s Curiosities posts to the sound of the rain.
Freedom and Jeff
“Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places. She’s my baby.
“When Freedom came in she could not stand and both wings were broken. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet’s office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.
“This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn’t stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn’t stand in a week. You know you don’t want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn’t want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn’t
bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.
“We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.
“In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair – the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.
“Fast forward to November 2000. The day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.
“So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn’t said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don’t know how long . That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.
“On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body. I have so many stories like that.
“I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom.”
Source: email from a personal friend (Thank you, Dave!)
Note: According to Snopes, this is a true story.
The breeze picks up causing the eaglets to exercise their wings; flapping & hopping around the nest top. D12 is 41 days, D13 is 40 days, D14 is 37 days old. 2.5 ft. from beak to tail, wingspan 5 ft., weight 8-10 lbs (90% of terminal weight). Eaglets are learning to self-feed.
Janet’s Note: Watching this eagle couple all year last year, I never saw them this alarmed. Wow! As the video caption says, “Way to go, Dad!” He flew right down from his branch office (branch perch above the nest) and joined Mom to vocalize their displeasure.