Wednesday, May 4, 2011

They're Teenagers

I'm talking about the Decorah Three: three baby eaglets born to a long time mating pair. What used to be gray blobs of fluff with sharp beaks are now awkward, bigger blobs of fluff interspersed with more mature feathers. Their feet are huge and as they stumble around the nest, they remind me of my younger sibs when they were teens, first waking up in the morning, not entirely sure of where they were. So much is going on in teens' bodies during those weeks (for eagles) and years (for humans). Sleep happens far more frequently than being awake. In this particular eagles' nest, finding a comfortable position seems to be no problem. The nest is huge, but those birds are growing fast. Spouse and I have always enjoyed watching the baby ducks and geese in D.C.'s Constitution Garden and the reflecting pool off the Lincoln Memorial. Even with all the crowds, the ducks nest in bushes and seem unafraid of taking their chicks out to feed. Truthfully, none of the birds around here are afraid of anything! Rather than migrating, they hang around all year. This time of year, there are always stories and photos in the newspapers about a mama duck and her ducklings striding right out into the middle of Constitution or Independence Avenues. Kind hearted drivers stop and occasionally, one will get out to hold back the rest of the cars. The really awkward situations are when mating ducks decide to nest in potted trees on the terraces of fancy office buildings or under cooling towers. There's no way to feed the babies because they can't fly down to a pond. Many building managers are frustrated by these feathered families because tenants get seriously goofy about those critters. "Oh, you can't let them starve!" or "Let's put out some water and bird seed for them." Of course that guarantees they will return year after year. . . The eagles are nesting in a perfectly reasonable place and I admire the guy who climbed high enough to install a camera so the rest of the world could watch them. P.S. I wonder how painful it is when those adult feathers start breaking through their skin. I suppose it might be like a human baby cutting teeth -- ouch!

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