Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bald Affection

Every day that I have been at Beczak this winter, I look out at the river and wonder when I am going to get that wonderful chance to see a bald eagle standing on an ice floe like so many others have. My coworkers have even seen eagles eating fish on the ice!

As I pondered this jealous feeling, I also realized that though I have studied the historical environmental effects surrounding bald eagles and the laws that protect them, I do not know much about their behaviors.

This is when I did some research and fittingly enough for the month of February, I learned two interesting things. The first is that bald eagles in this area begin their mating season around our Valentine’s Day in mid month.

The second is that like some monogamous couples in the Hudson Valley area, bald eagles have one mate for life. They search for their mate once they reach four to five years old and can partake in amazing in-flight ritualistic dances during their courtship. Some dances include talon holding in the air and then falling to the ground before letting go. Once they do mate, eagles can produce eggs for up to 30 years and choose which years they want to lay eggs. If the weather, habitat or environment isn’t right, they will opt out of laying eggs for that year, just like some human couples!

I have learned that there are great similarities between bald eagles and humans. I just wonder if one bald eagle showers gifts like chocolate and jewelry on its mate like we do at this time of year…

Susan Juggernauth