In the early spring of this year, during the second week of April to be exact, two little kids were born at Woods Canyon Lake. Well, technically, it might be more accurate if I said two little eaglets were hatched.
Last week, I made the trip up to the top of the Rim to check out the young eaglet pair, at the invitation of eagle “nest watcher” Brian Smucker. After a few minutes of conversation and listening to Brian affectionately refer to the young eaglets as “the kids,” it wasn’t long before I, too, was talking about the pair of juvenile eagles as the “two little kids.”
My timing to visit Woods Canyon Lake could not have been better. I had heard that in early March, two eagle eggs had been laid in an intricately-constructed nest at the apex of a dead and decaying ponderosa pine tree. The branch and twig nest had originally been constructed by a pair of osprey, but since claimed by the American bald eagle pair that have made the interwoven stick dwelling their year-round home since 2008.
Right after the crack of dawn, I met Brian by the lake’s boat dock, where we set out in a Game & Fish trolling boat, heading for the west end of the lake, which promised to expose a great view of the eagle nest. As we cut through the cool mist rising from the lake’s still, crystal-clear water, we said good-morning to a cow elk and her calf, nibbling breakfast from a bush; a great blue heron, fishing patiently from a shore rock; and handful of osprey, plunging, talons extended, into the lake, hoping to snag an unsuspecting trout or bass, swimming too close to the surface.
As we grew close to the eagle nest, in an area fenced off to foot-traffic (for the protection of the eagle kids), Brian enthusiastically filled me in on the eagle’s early-life timeline. “We know that the female laid two eggs (one to three is normal) at the end of the first week in March, which is just about the exact same time as she has for the last six years. 35 days later, on April 12th, right on schedule, the two kids were hatched.
“Then, it takes the kids 11-and-a-half to 12 weeks to grow to just about their full adult size, when they’re strong enough and their wings are developed enough to make their first flights from home. And, it does get pretty crowded in the nest as they get ready to fly — especially when mom or dad return home with a fish to feed them. The kids are awfully excited, flapping their wings and jumping all around. And, with wingspans of six feet — there isn’t a lot of elbow room up there,” added Brian.
As it turned out, when we got to the eagle’s nest, it was empty, much to my disappointment. But Brian said not to worry too much, as the kids couldn’t be too far from home. So off we motored to a quiet cove, where my knowledgeable guide predicted they might be. And sure enough, as we turned into the cove — there they were, perched on a dead, charred stump, just a few feet inland from shore.
Click, click, click went my shutter button, as Brian maneuvered our metal craft closer and closer to the perch. Then, almost catching me off guard, one of the kids took flight, followed shortly by the other, flying directly and not far over our heads. What and incredible sight to see.
On our way back to the dock, Brian told me that it was lucky that I came to visit when I did, as the adult eagle pair allows their kids only a few weeks to return to the nest, once they fledge, and that is only for food and not for overnight accommodations. Then, the kids are turned away to make a life of their own.
This week’s question
Can you name the 1960s-1970s male-female vocal duo that produced the Top-40 hit “Two Little Kids?”
This soul-pop pair formed in 1966 in Washington, D.C. and immediately landed three songs, in addition to “Two Little Kids,” on the Billboard chart — “Let’s fall in Love,” “Close Your Eyes” and “Love is Strange.”
In 1970, the duo act was retired and laid dormant until it was revived near the end of the decade. The R&B singers had even greater success the second time around, with their pair of 1979 hits “Shake Your Groove Thing” and “Reunited,” which topped the chart for four weeks.
Is this “Two Little Kids” duo A) The Captain & Tennille, B) Sonny & Cher, C) Peaches & Herb or D) Paul & Paula?
If you’re the sixth caller and have the right answer, you’ll win a CD of your choice your favorite artist or genre of music.
Last week’s question
From 1962 through the group’s dissolution in 1970, the Beatles recorded nearly 300 songs. Two of those songs had “rain” in the titles, 1962’s “September in the Rain” and 1966’s “Rain.”
The Fab Four’s “Rain” began with the lyrics “When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads ...”
Last week’s question was — what are the lyrics that follow that beginning? A) they might as well go to bed, B) they run and get their meds, C) yes, that’s what I said or D) they might as well be dead.
The correct answer is “... they might as well be dead.”
Congratulations to second-time winner, Vicki Smith. Since Vicki won three to four years ago, she has gotten married to Don and is just starting her own business, Vicki’s Elderly Care, a day care, with activities, for seniors, out of her home in Star Valley.
A couple of final notes
This Saturday, Payson’s Park and Rec program will present its last of the summer season Concert Under the Stars at Green Valley Park, with the group Breaking Point taking the stage from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A real crowd-pleaser, the quintet plays a variety of music, including top 40, jazz, blues and country. Kudos to Parks & Rec for another two-month summer season of great outdoor music entertainment.
And last, if you’d like to see additional pictures that I took during my recent trip to Woods Canyon Lake, please visit my website, listed below.
Have a great Rim Country week.
DJ Craig – (928) 468-1482 – www.djcraiginpayson.com