On March 24, 1947, I came into this world. I once asked my mother what was I like – did I cry or smile – on the day I was born. She laughed and said you came in to the world singing. That revelation is startling: not that I was singing, but, because my mother had lost most of her hearing by the time I was born. I have spent my life in song, however over the last couple of decades, most of the singing has been simply for the ears of the animals that I work with, the birds that I photograph and the trees that I lean against.
I do enjoy singing but it is not the driving force of my life. Although, in a way, I feel I am singing as I satisfy my voracious curiosity and am almost driven to share my discoveries. Perhaps I do sing as I talk about soaring bald eagles, nesting blue birds, pennant dragonflies, American field pansies, ancient red oak trees, companion cats, patient dogs, horses I hug and attempt to heal and oh the smiles and the tears of all my friends.
I was asked a couple of days ago how my GoFundMe campaign was going. The nesting bald eagles have so occupied my time that I had not looked lately. So I pulled up the site and realized the campaign was close to the 3/4 of a century point … a 75, just as I am today. So I thought I would bring each of you up-to-date. There is still a distance to go for there to be enough funding for me to have the new camera and the new lenses. It’s been a year since I had a birthday gift to unwrap. Could you help me further unwrap my gift of singing the song of the birds through my photography and help me to continue to share my birthday gift with the world in brand new photographs? If you’ve already helped, my continuing thank you for your prayers and your funds. Please share this notice. If you’ve not joined in the campaign yet, would you consider doing so and as my mother would say: if it’s your birthday too, happy birthday and if it is not your birthday today then have a very happy un-birthday with me. GoFundMe https://gofund.me/9ba7f009

Doc Ellen 75th Birthday

Jordan Lake. This morning Hershey and Godiva were mating. So it’s not long now before eggs are laid. It is a very delicate dance as Hershey stands on Godiva and balances himself. He is standing on his balled up feet so he will not hurt her with his talons. There was a whole lot of chattering between the two of them.

Jordan Lake, H&G Nest Report: The bald eagle Dad Hershey at H&G nest, several vultures and a red-tailed hawk were all circling in the same kettle of rising air. For whatever reason the red tail hawk decided to fuss at Dad Hershey. They had a face off, way up in the air! They glared, made threats and then broke away from each other. Dad Hershey then dashed down to the lake and grabbed a fish that a ring-billed gull had dropped. The bald eagle took the fish back to a big branch and was happily eating on the fish when, for whatever reason, the red-tailed hawk showed up and complained and made Dad Hershey duck and scrunch down. Apparently having had it’s say, the red-tailed hawk then sailed off into the tree line. I don’t know what started all the ruckus. Neither bird has eggs or chicks in a nest. So, maybe it was just that the red-tailed hawk had a desire to be crabby. Or maybe I should say hawkish?

Jordan Lake: One of the reasons for keeping field notes is to make sure that the researcher’s memory doesn’t confuse facts… I had thought that Godiva and Hershey were early this year in their nest repair. Hmmm. My notes say they started repair work in mid-October 2019 too!

Mom Godiva piles into the nest with a big branch and Hershey, who had been sitting on the brim of the nest piles out.
Hershey is moving out of the way in a hurry.
You can see the new stick … it is a horizontal branch still in Godiva’s feet.
Only 29 minutes later Godiva was returning with another huge branch for the repair work.

Looking left to right: Mom Godiva getting a piece of fish ready to feed to her rapidly growing chicks, a chick right against the main trunk of the tree and then the second chick to the right of the main trunk.

The whole family! That is Dad Hershey perched way to the left, then in the nest it is Mom Godiva, a chick trying to push in and get a bite of food and then the other chick still to the right of the trunk. Great getting to see the whole family all at once. And, it is easy to see in this photo how light brown Dad is … that is how he got his name … after the chocolate bar.