The Daily Grace
The Daily Grace

Eagle Surprise: Part 4

May 9, 2012 | nature & awe | 2 comments

Recap. Shall we?

Part I, 2009: Eagle nest in our back yard.

Part II: Strange Eagle activity. Eagle eggs? Babies. X2! They eat. They grow. Big. Fast. They want to fly. They are so high. We fret.

Part III: They fly! And then they are gone, and we are left here. Empty nesters on Bickley’s Pond.

Part IV: Spring 2012

Three years pass. Those babies have moved on and wherever they are, must be nearly ready to start families of their own (at age four, the experts say). The parents are here, infrequently fishing these waters because they, too, have moved on to a new nest deeper in the woods. No wonder. The lanky pine that holds their old home place has declined significantly: its nest-shading mantel is gone; most of the remaining branches are broken or missing.

Still we keep an eye on that nest as if expecting them to return to it any minute. They do appear from time to time and it sets our hearts to racing. First the shadow, then the whoop whoop whoop of giant wings through air, then that unmistakable crown of white feathers.

A glorious sight it is.

But these are only quick glimpses, pass-through flights of one eagle or the other.

Spring arrives, 2012. Our hearts race again at a quick flurry of nest-repair activity in our tree. But they don’t take up residence and are gone again, no chance for a new brood within our sight, we know.

A few weeks pass.

And I’m standing at the kitchen window, looking out at the new green in our trees, our lawn, our little garden, when I look across the pond to see both Eagles sitting side by side, on the very edge of a branch.

There they are, I said, together. There can’t be eggs if they are both away from the nest. It’s been three years, I think. That’s really too bad. 

But at least my Eagles are here, waiting patiently for me to come on out to the water’s edge, to get reacquainted. Snap, snap, snap goes my camera. And then I see a shape in a tree just beyond my focus.

Is that? Could it be? How on earth?

It is. A big, dark baby eagle, clearly out on an early voyage from that deep woods nest.

And then I hear another sound, just there, to the right. A little farther back. The dark mass of another baby.

I run for the house, and Tim. He gets in the canoe and heads in their direction, wanting a closer view.

The baby eagles notice but don’t budge, too afraid of flight at this early age. And then a parent flies toward the abandoned nest—our nest—with a fresh fish catch. And lickety split they are there, Mama and her two babies, feeding time. Giddy, giddy, giddy I am.


Could there still be more to this fantastic story?

Oh yes, and this time I won’t leave you hanging:

You got it. Before long we discover there is Baby Number Three!

It has been a very fun couple of weeks, with our back yard as the playground of three baby eagles. Up to something all the time, they are. In fact, they fussed so much over a fresh catch dropped in that nest by their mother (or father?) the entire nest fell apart and to the ground!

But THAT is another story, for another day.


  1. Pam in Columbia,SC

    THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I have been watching the eagles at the Norfolk
    Botannical Garden, who are not having babies this year. Dad lost Mom last year. This year he has courted 4 different females, all about 5 years old and not
    ready for eggs and eaglets. This was a pleasure to watch!

    • Cathy

      I have read that eagles mate for life, but that a male will move on if the female dies. It makes my heart happy to look out and see this couple still together, still dealing with demanding babies and remodeling the nest and all the challenges of everyday life.

      Thank you for you comment! Keep me in the loop on the Norfolk eagles! Maybe next year 🙂

Cathy Rigg Headshot

Hi. I’m Cathy.

This is a blog about writing, creative living, and grace in the everyday. It’s my hope this little spot on the internet will be for you a place of quiet and reflection, a source for inspiration, and a reminder there’s beauty all around—we simply need to keep our hearts open to see it. Thank you for being here with me.

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