The bald eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird, up to 13 feet deep, 8.2 feet wide, and 1.1 tons in weight. And nests are used year after year, with about 2 feet of added branches and “fluff” each season.
Liberty is shown here delivering soft pine straw to her nest just before sundown. It won’t be long, once eagles begin restoring their nests, before eggs are laid. In this case, eaglets Ch’áak’ and Anáaski (Tlingit for “Eagle” and “Alaska”) arrived soon after the nest was restored, comfortable, safe, and near water for fresh fish.
“Pre-Fledge Flight Check” is a new painting of one of my favorite eaglets, Simba. He fledged on July 23rd, after weeks of wing flapping and hopping madly around the nest in order to to build his flying muscles. He’s about to fledge here, hence the “pre-flight check”.
A young eagle learning about flying—he couldn’t fly when I drew this, but he was learning a few wing skills, and strengthening his muscles for the big day. High winds helped him learn to balance by using his wings. He came into the world with a sibling who perished due to a late snow and freezing temperatures, though the mother did her best to keep them warm. This one continued on alone, growing and learning day by day. He won’t be mature for another four years, but first things first—he needs to survive the high mortality rate of an eagle’s first year. He fledged this past week, but returns to the nest for food and sleeps there with a parent.
“Eagles and Eaglets” After watching this unusual family of eagles raise three newborns to fledglings this spring, in spite of the loss and hardships they’ve endured over the years, I decided to commit an act of art in their honor. Here they all are, three parents and three eaglets.
“So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams, 1949)” 5x7in. Acrylic on MDF.
A cold, early, shadowless spring day in the Rockies, nothing much going on outside except for this lonesome robin. Probably scouting nesting areas. Reminded me at once of the old Hank Williams classic song, “So Lonesome I Could Cry,” in which he asks, “Did you ever see a robin weep?” I learned about Hank Williams as a kid from my mother. He was her favorite– she even helped get him an early gig in her little town when she was a teen. Mother’s Day was not far off, but Mom has been gone for a couple of years now. I painted this in her memory. The poor robin had ten more weeks of intermittent freezing weather, with our last snowstorm on May 18-19.