The American Bald Eagle has been called beautiful, powerful, sacred, a thief, scavenger, and (in the words of Ben Franklin), “…a bird of bad moral character.” But what I’m most impressed by, as I get to know this raptor, is its fearlessness and undaunted perseverance.
Bald Eagles that survive bone-shattering auto accidents, poisoning, unethical hunters, starvation, attacking eagles, even having half their beak blown off trying to protect their young from a “cherry bomb” lobbed into the nest—those survivors simply move on. They find a new mate if they’ve lost one, they build a new nest if theirs has crashed to the ground, and they have another brood of eaglets in spite of the tragic death of previous offspring. And without anthropomorphizing too much, they truly are fearless—it’s integral to them; they fear nothing and no one. So between having no fear, and not becoming discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment, I’d say their character is to be admired.
One of the two eaglets from the 2nd clutch in Southwest Florida this year. They look so much alike now it would take Mom to tell them apart (and she’d be guessing). This one is bathed in cool blue shadows– one of the worries about a possible 2nd clutch was how hot it would be as they were growing up. Temperature today reached 93 degrees (F). But they are both doing great, and in the process of fledging now, with the younger, E16, taking its time getting its pilot’s license. You can always trust the eagles to know when the time is right.
Bald eaglet, Jules, one of our increasing young bald eagle population. Jules, by nature, fears nothing and no one. Nevertheless, this next nine months will continue to be a time of perilousness, as an eaglet’s 1st year always is. Jules and sibling Romy recently fledged, and they will be missed as they will soon embark on their Journey North.
Watching a bald eagle taking a splash bath is pure entertainment. They wade in about “waist high”, look to the left, look to the right, then face forward and slam their stern face into the water and splash around. Then up they come to shake it off, and slam their face back down. I don’t know how they can do this without ever cracking a smile. My recent painting, “Wilderness Day Spa,” is 12″ x 9″, acrylic on hardboard. From a video by Sasse Photo used with permission.