One young family at work . . .
You’re missing one of the most unusual and fascinating ‘programs’ on the Internet if you haven’t yet found The Eagle’s Story, from Berry College, Georgia.
It’s one continuous viewing of the lives of a male and female Eagle who first came to the campus two years ago, and caught everyone’s attention, as they built a nest in a tall pine tree. When they came again last year, the college hoped the Eagles were calling the campus ‘home’, and so when the birds left for the year, they installed an infra-red camera and waited with bated breath, crossed fingers and wonder of wonders, their Eagles returned.
By the time I ‘found’ them, an egg had hatched, the chick about a week old and immediately found myself clicking http://www.berry.edu/eaglecam/ many times daily, to see what was going on in the Eagle’s nest.
It is not an ‘action’ program, but one of surprisingly constant change. Bringing in new grass, two eggs appearing, and then it was keeping them warm, exchanging hours of eating, sleeping, going and coming, bathroom duties, boredom, fighting off an intruder, to the hatching of one egg and then the utter devotion of the parents. The male the provider, the female the nurturer.
There’s no chance of boredom, those Eagles draw you back, along with thousands of others, for a Click to keep track of what ‘your’ birds are doing.
The male brings fresh fish, mice or such and the female, who, nine-tenths of the time, is absolutely nest-bound, proceeds on an orgy of eating, and then tiny bit by tiny bit, she feeds her chick. And as the days pass, I see her offering larger bites to the chick, and today I see the eaglet reaching out to take its own bites. You can almost ‘see’ it grow.
The pair are devoted parents. A rain and wind storm came and for hours she (?) made her body into a shelter for that chick. It was far more than just a breeze, and her body feathers became tossed and wet, but the chick did not feel the brunt of the storm, and when the gale was over the child was well examined, fed, and only then did the female take care of her own bedraggled self. I was enthralled.
I must ask any reader to excuse my errors in this tale, for I’m no ornaethologist and so no doubt am far off-base as to if the male or the female does this, or does that, for I can’t tell them apart. But between the two of them, they manage wonderfully, and as I said, just stay with the Eagles. They are worth my blunders.
Another thing, however, is that I swear the birds communicate. I saw the male return one day with a fish and mouse, put them down and then, he and his mate, no more than two inches apart, looked into each other’s eyes for, almost two or three minutes without a blink, or movement. But there was communication of some sort, and so strong it was almost palpable right through the camera. It gave me goose bumps.
Another time I caught the mother and babe doing the same thing. Unblinkingly peering at each other. No movement, and again one knows that some thought or energy is going back and forth. You ‘know’ that one aware being is communicating with another aware being, and that they are far from stupid.
The male comes and goes, and once (?) a day, the female leaves him in charge of the nest. For an hour or so, she flies afar, perhaps to stretch, breath deep, visit a stream or lake for water and a bath. Who knows? But other than this, the female lives her entire time in that small nest.
So far the only time I’ve seen the chick alone was when the pair fought off a young male (?) Eagle who attacked the nest. Took about an hour to do so, and no aid was given by the watching college people, because to get a true film of the Eagle’s lives the birds must cope with whatever comes, as if in the wild.
Berry College says that, if the infra-red light or camera should stop working, they still will make no repairs. Even if some horrible event should occur, the Eagles, although watched, photographed, hoped and prayed over every moment by the entire Student Body, are to be left on their own.
Eagles mate for life and so have at least 25 years or longer with each other. The male is the main provider, and no matter what the chick needs in the early weeks, is, except for foraging for the food, under the female’s care. Hers to feed, cover from the cold, rain, wind, protect at night. Together they provide all that’s needed.
As an uninformed viewer, I know I’ll see their ‘jobs’ and responsibilities change as the Eaglet grows and becomes ready for other teachings, so I, along with the rest of the world, will watch and learn. Get on line and even if you only click in a couple of time a day, it’ll be worth it.
Berry College gets our applause for their fascinating work that is capturing the eyes of the world. Huzzahs, over and over.