Monday, April 26, 2010

The Internationally Fierce for the Scientifically Inclined

I have recently become captivated by the very symbol of America: the bald eagles of Hornby Islands.
First, some of my friends, whose identities I have sworn to protect, are/were completely obsessed with the Molly the Owl webcam. Don’t get me wrong: the owlets are cute in a hairless cat sort of way, the infrared camera is cool, and gifts of dead rodents are always fun.  But this is a pair of bald eagles, people!  Bald Eagles and their two eggs in a nest at the top of a Douglas fir tree on the windy edge of an island in Canada—not in a box in someone’s yard.

From what I can tell, the parent eagles switch off egg-sitting duties every half hour or so. If one seems to leave the eggs unattended, you can be sure the other is right there, somewhere behind the camera.  Despite the fact that they look absolutely FIERCE, in the best possible way, it is so adorable to watch them gently maneuver the eggs with their beaks and rock their bodies until they find just the right position to rest on them. 

The tag.

I think this is the mother.  She’s always trying to tidy the nest while sitting on the eggs.

And this is the father, based on the incontrovertible evidence that it looks more like Sam the Eagle from the Muppets.  

Only this morning I was reminded by this post of how much I love the way eagles look. That feeling may have started with the awesome animation of the great golden eagle, Marahute, from terrific kids’ adventure movie set in Australia, The Rescuers Down Under.  If you liked Marahute, you may enjoy watching these real eagles for a bit.  There is also a kids’ page on the Hornby Eagles website with fun pictures, information, and puzzles.
What the nest webcam lacks in action it more than makes up for in the ability to make close-up observations regarding the movements, sounds, and habits of bald eagles in their nest.

The eggs should be hatching soon. 

Such an occasion deserves a little musical fanfare, don't you think?

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