Thursday, January 13, 2022

Tumbling Bald Eagles

 The events that prompted this post happened in a moment so no pictures exist.  For the first time a post will be of necessity limited to words.  I was a child of the 50's growing up eight miles south of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake.  Each fall huge groups of geese flew overhead as they migrated.  The distance from the lake, where they spent the night, to my home in Newfield allowed them to form perfect V shaped groups.  Their altitude prevented me from hearing their sounds but the sight of their formations made a lasting impression.  Bald Eagles were never seen by me then.  Their return from the brink of extinction placed them at the top of my must see list.

Recently we frequently see both mature  and immature Bald Eagles.  Our home is very close to the Unadilla River and we believe that at least one nesting pair frequents our area.  One winter during a massive but peaceful snow storm, I was using my lawn tractor to plow snow.  The snow flakes were huge falling through windless silent air.  A mature Bald Eagle flew just above my pine trees toward me and for a brief moment we were together alone.

It was nearly a decade ago when a three hour drive along the Delaware River took us to a public park where we could see an active Bald Eagle nest.  We spent most of several days driving to where we could watch these magnificent birds raise their young.  A student described the location of a nest near us but I was never able to find it.  I am constantly scanning the ridges bordering the Unadilla River looking for a nest tree.  To date nothing has been found.

Yesterday Becky and I were crossing the river near the Tall Pines recreation area when tumbling  eagles separated extremely close to our car, the ground and the surface of the river.  We are absolutely certain that we witnessed the end of a long fall with the two birds joined by their talons.  This activity is part of their mating ritual and we were fortunate to see the last moments of it.  The movie Continental Divide contains extensive video of Bald Eagles flying in the Rocky Mountains.  Included in that film is video of a pair of almost joined eagles.  What we actually saw here has to be a once in a lifetime experience.

1 comment:

Judy said...

That is awesome!!!