Last week I wrote about the very recent and awe-inspiring aerial display that two juvenile American bald eagles put on in the skies over Green Valley Park.
This week I’m going to share some thoughts about a relationship that I’ve observed over the last two months between the adult male bald eagles here in Payson and one of our two juvenile eagles I wrote about last week.
It is a relationship I haven’t seen displayed before in the decade that I’ve lived next to Green Valley Park — a tender, parenting relationship between the resident adult male and the juvenile female eagle.
Since adult male and female bald eagles have the exact same coloration (brilliant white head and tail feathers and solid, dark brown bodies) and male and female juvenile eagles look the same (mottled brown and white feathers over their entire bodies), you may wonder how this yahoo knows that our Payson adult eagle is male and the juvenile eagle is female. Good question.
It’s because, when fully grown (which is at about 12 weeks) female eagles are 30 percent larger than males, so when the two are seen sitting or soaring around together, the size difference makes their genders easily distinguishable.
Although I could never say for sure, my best guess is that the relationship between these two magnificent raptors is one of father and daughter. The two are often seen perching together and heard calling each other throughout the day. The calls are each very different and the juvenile female’s sound is higher pitched and louder. Some days her “squawking” just goes on for hours.
What I’ve found to be the most fascinating aspect of this avian adult-child relationship is the parenting that has been taking place between the two this winter, particularly watching the papa eagle show his offspring how to fish.
When the adult eagle leaves their dead-juniper perch, the juvenile is always close behind, presumably taking note on how to spot, approach and snag an unsuspecting trout that has swum too close to the lake’s surface.
Then the fun begins. After the father has buried its talons deep into a rainbow, he often flies in circles around the lake, as if teasing his daughter, as she gives chase. Sometimes pops will soar with the trout back to the roost or sometimes fly off and out of sight. Other times, he will drop the fish back into the water below, so his little girl can practice her fish-catching skills.
When not fishing, the two seem to be just enjoying time together, catching the updrafts and soaring to great heights or finding amusement in play, chasing each other all around the skies above.
All in all, daddy and daughter spend a lot of time together. It appears dad takes his parenting responsibilities very seriously and is a very, very good father to his little girl.
This week’s question
Can you name the contemporary country singer who scored a top-10 hit with “My Little Girl”?
Since the single’s release in 2006, the song has been a popular father-daughter wedding favorite, as the artist sings that even though his daughter will one day leave home, find a partner and “take on the world,” she will always be his little girl.
Is this “My Little Girl” artist A) Tim McGraw, B) Garth Brooks, C) Kenny Chesney, or D) Toby Keith?
If you’re caller number four with the correct answer, you’ll win a CD of your choice of genre or artist. Good luck!
Last week’s question
Last week’s question asked if you could identify the San Francisco-based pop-rock band that scored a top-5 hit with the 1976 release of “Fly Like An Eagle,” a song that would later earn induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The group landed 20 songs on the Billboard Hot-100, five of which have made it into the top-5, including its chart-topping hit songs “The Joker,” “Rockin’ Me” and “Abracadabra.”
The choices were A) America; B) The Steve Miller Band; C) The Eagles; and D) The Stylistics.
The correct answer was The Steve Miller Band.
The soft-rock trio, America (oddly, formed in London, England), was popular on the charts from 1972 through 1983. Its top hits were “A Horse With No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair.”
Also a soft-rock band, the L.A.-based Eagles charted hits from 1972 through 2003. Its biggest hits were “Hotel California” and “Best Of My Love.”
The Philadelphia R&B vocal group, The Stylistics, was popular from 1971 through 1976. Its top-5 hits were “Betcha By Golly, Wow” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New.”
Congratulations to last week’s music trivia winner, Payson’s Kate Chassey, who has won a couple of times in the past.
A final note
My sincere thanks go out to all Payson Roundup readers who voted for me as Payson’s 2014 best photographer.
Although I really don’t consider myself as someone who would have been nominated in the “photographer” category, I am very appreciative of our readers’ consideration and honored to have been chosen for this award. Thank you so very much.
Have a great Rim Country week!
DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482, Web site: www.djcraiginpayson.com