Letter: The eagles' bad year

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Over the past 10 years, I have enjoyed watching the bald eagles near the mouth of the Poudre Canyon. I waited for them to nest in the spring, raise their young and then see them in their tree occasionally throughout the year.

This year they came and I was glad to welcome them. But this year their behavior was somewhat different. They made their nest, hatched three little baby birds and then… We had the big, COLD snow during the latter part of May. Temps dropped to 15 degrees and we had almost 2 feet of snow. Well this was more than the eagles could deal with. They tried to protect the babies from the elements, but failed and the eaglets all died.

They left the nest and I didn’t see them for a while. Then they returned to find that the eaglets had been eaten by vultures.

They left the nest again and when they returned a Canadian goose was setting up housekeeping in their nest. It didn’t take them long to evict that interloper.

Finally, I saw them in the big old tree and hoped that things were now more normal. Will they try to hatch more eggs?

I drove by looking to see if they were in the tree and I didn’t see the tree. Thinking I just missed it, I didn’t really think anything about it. Next trip down the canyon I look and oops, I missed seeing the tree again. On the third trip by I slowed down and started looking for the tree. Oh NO! The tree was actually gone. Who would do such a thing?

I called some folks who live near the area and they told me the whole sad story that I just told. They also said that eagle nests are extremely large and weigh a great deal. That information along with the reality of the tree being dead and old, coupled with extreme winds, caused the tree to fall.

So where can they to build a new home? I watch each time we go to town, hoping to see them sitting in another old dead tree.

Whatever happens, I will always be glad that I was privileged enough to have observed them for these few years.

Jan Gueswel
Poudre Caynon