While driving along the country river road this morning, a large bald eagle rose up next to me. She took my breath away and my first reaction was to slow down for a better look. She looked over at me, level with the window and proceeded to fly along next to the car. I actually had to speed up to keep up with her and she flew along next to me for over 100 yards before flying up through a space in the trees. I was overjoyed to have had such a good look at a wild bald eagle.
It's not unusual these days to see a bald eagle in the Kickapoo Valley of southwestern Wisconsin but it's rare to get such a close look at one. To see an eagle 30 years ago would have been a rare event but in recent years these magnificent birds of prey have made a comeback. Wherever there is a lake or river with a good supply of large fish you may get lucky and see a bald eagle. The eagle's favorite food it fresh fish and they have no trouble swooping down and with needle sharp talons to snatch up a fish that swam too near the surface.
Being in the right place at the right time enabled me to see one of nature's most powerful birds. There are those who would say it was just luck but I think it was more than that. For me, seeing the eagle was a sign that all was fine. To see an eagle always gives me a rush and a sense of inner strength from somewhere deep inside.
For the native people who once lived on this beautiful land, the eagle was a direct connection with the great spirit. To find an eagle feather was a sign of grace & healing to those who used the feathers enough. The feather, when passed over the body of a sick person by a shaman or medicine man would pass the energy of courage and strength of heart to the one whom was ill.
Whenever I see an eagle I am reminded of the courage I need to follow my spiritual path which will lead me to freedom and better understanding. To let my challenges and dreams soar on great wings of faith.
The great white-headed eagle with white tail feathers in adult plumage can be mistaken for no other bird. Often the juvenile eagles with their brown plumage from head to tail, may be confused with a vulture when seen from a distance. That's when a pair of binoculars comes in handy.
As in all birds of prey, the female is the larger of the pair of eagles that will mate for life. She may weigh 15 pounds and have a wingspan of seven feet.
The nest of the eagles is made of large sticks and constructed high in one of the tallest trees. The pair of eagles returns to the same nest year after year and each time they add to the already huge nest. One large nest measured 20 feet deep and 9 feet wide.
Two eggs are laid and are incubated for 35 days before the small downy young appear. Both parents will bring food to the nest and assist in feeding their young.
The eaglets will begin to grow feathers after four weeks and won't fledge for several more weeks. When they leave the nest they are actually larger than the adults, all fat and little muscle. Their first couple of weeks they are able only to make short flights and spend much of their times in low branches or on the ground. The parent eagles will bring them food until the babies are strong enough to fly & catch all their own meals.
If the young eagles make it through the first year they stand a good chance of reaching maturity at four years old. This is when white feathers on their head and tail replace the juvenile brown plumage.
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
--Alfred Lord Tennyson
All art ©2013 Organic Valley