Note: If you wish to read about Harmon’s amazing rescue and return to the nest from the very beginning, either click on the month of “May” in my archives to see all posts, or click here to go to my blog entitled “Saving Harmon: The Eaglet in the Minnesota-Bound Nest.”
5-8-12: As I tuned into the Minnesota Bound Nest this morning, I saw our baby eaglet with a very full crop preening himself, stretching, and settling down to a very relaxed and happy “food coma” nap. Nearby Mom stands careful watch over him. What a way to start your day.
What I didn’t know (until I started reading some of the “chat” for updates) was that last night at 7:00 p.m. when the eagle parents finally landed in the nest—after Harmon had spent more than 24 hours alone and hungry—the rescuers from the Raptor Center were all nearby and that Jim was moments away from climbing back up the tree, re-rescuing Harmon, and taking him back to the Center. This was literally a last-minute miracle.
I’m sure we all have our own stories, but I was on the freeway on my way home about 6:45, having a conversation with the Divine. On the one hand I realized that in the huge scheme of things, maybe it would be better for Harmon to be fostered by new, more experienced parents at some eagle nest deep in the forest, far away from people and cams. On the other hand, with all my heart I didn’t want to lose the rare opportunity to be part of the magic of watching this little eagle—so courageous and strong, who so far had beat all the odds—grow into a beautiful juvenal. I want so much to watch him open his wings, learn how to use then, and one day to take his first flight. I wanted to be able to spend the next few months watching that world 75 feet in the treetops, hear those sounds of wind and birdsong and eagle cries, be a part of that special place in the Minnesota Woods. It is pure mystery and wonder to immerse oneself in the world of a beautiful wild creature and to watch the secret workings of its little wild heart.
In the end it’s really a question of love. Some people say we shouldn’t project our feelings onto nature, animals, and birds. But I’ve met with people of many indigenous cultures and witnessed their relationship with nature. They don’t objectify nature or see themselves as separate from the living world. They see themselves as part of a tapestry of life that is complex, powerful, and beautiful in a way that is far beyond our everyday definition of beauty. To them everything is alive, even trees and stones, and they are part of it. All nature is imbued with spirit and consciousness.
And Then Something Wonderful Happened
When I got home and turned on the computer, I couldn’t believe it. And I never knew till this morning when I read the updates that if the parents had waited a little longer to come home, that the story would have been completely different.
The MN bound teams writes: “It’s not every day that something this incredible happens. This just goes to show the power of mother nature. Tens of thousands of lives have been touched by this eagle family and their impact has spread all around the world.
“It was a moment of tears for many. Standing from a distance we were only minutes away from going back up to get Harmon. Jim, our tree climber saw the mother close by the nest. Harmon was screaming and it was clear that something was happening. Everyone stood silent and watched. Soon, the mother moved closer yet again. Then, out of nowhere dad flew down and landed in the nest. It was a reunion for the record books.”
Dad returned first and began feeding Harmon two of the fish heads the Raptor Center had set around in the nest. But when Mom landed, she grabbed both fish heads from Dad and began feeding the baby herself. I thought, “That’s it, they’ve all bonded again.”
Today is a New Day
Dad brought a huge fish to the nest this morning, and Mom has been snuggling with Harmon off and on. A moment ago, Harmon was getting another meal. It’s so magical to watch the adult eagle tear off a little piece of fish with its powerful hooked beak and then gently reach down to delicately place it in the chick’s little beak. Now it’s gently raining and Mom is sheltering Harmon, snuggling him warmly against her breast.
What’s ironic is that this whole experience seems to have taught the eagles to be much better parents because Harmon had to spend a lot of time alone in the nest before. Mom seemed like somewhat of a flighty young eagle, with only a couple of years of parenting experience, but she’s much more watchful and attentive today. We all grow and learn.
Here’s a link to the latest Minnesota Bound blog and what they have to say about last night’s family reunion:
And if you want to watch live, here’s a link to the live Minnesota Eagle Cam live:
Happy Eagle watching and much joy today!
P.S. At 12:50 Minnesota Time there was a hail storm that lasted for quite a while. Thank God the Mom was there to extend her wing over the baby, then take him close under her feathered breast. This eagle Mother is really learning to be a magnificent parent.