Moment of Decision
The branches of the trees lining the Haw River were tangled thickets of slate and branches of twisted nickel.
The sky was a shade of grey that gave little definition to the morning.
Abruptly the stillness was broken.
I had not seen the adult bald eagle until he moved.
He was a sharp-winged exclamation point of brilliant white head and flared tail in all the palette of grey.
I took the shot and he disappeared toward the river, leaving behind this image of his decision in my mind.
I was out checking nests today. Didn’t see any parent birds.
But, in one of the coves this 2-year-old bald eagle showed up.
He came zooming out of a bend in the cove, made a low pass over the water, but didn’t fish.
With a lot of momentum, he headed for a landing up in a tree.
Oops. He grabbed the branch but hadn’t lost enough speed and couldn’t stick the landing.
My next shot of him was very blurred as he fought to stay on the branch but ended up flying away. I deleted that photo.
The chase was on just above the Haw River.
The year-old bald eagle to the far right has a small fish in its talons that it just caught.
The 3 immature eagles behind the 1-year-old bird want to steal the fish.
There were a lot of bodies flying through the air as the one with the fish made a dash for the safety of the trees.
Alas, I don’t know if the youngster was able to hold onto its catch.
Around the bend from New Hope River came a 2-year-old bald eagle.
He streaked through a bright piece of blue sky at the far end of the dam.
Then he cocked his head up and to the right and I followed his line of sight.
I quickly understood why the youngster was in such a hurry.
The adult bald eagle looked down and to the left at the youngster.
Both eagles surged into high gear, the adult dove towards the 2-year-old eagle and they got between me and the sun.
I lost the rest of the chase in the glare of the sun, but could hear both eagles screaming somewhere down river.
The bald eagle breeding season has started at Jordan Lake.
The parent eagles have begun repairing the nest and getting it ready for the hoped-for new family.
Petruchio, the father of First Nest, weighs about 9-10 pounds. A male bald eagle stands about 30 inches tall.
That repair branch that he is hauling up to the nest, brings to mind just how powerful a bald eagle is.
Here you can see the grip of his talons around the branch. The branch is roughly 3 times longer than the eagle is tall.
Petruchio lifted the branch all the way into the nest – more than 90 feet above the ground. The nest is unseen to his left.
two juvenile raptors: a big one and a small one at the Jordan Lake Dam
immature Cooper’s hawk