Eagles and Thunder

On our Sunday morning walk, Doug and I came across a woman standing in the road with a large pair of binoculars, looking intently up into the trees. Naturally we asked her what she had found.

“It’s the eagle’s nest,” she said, as if we must have heard of it, which in fact we had. Or rumors of it, anyway. Somehow it’s hard to believe, in a suburb, that there could be an eagle’s nest in an ordinary tree. I mean, I do crossword puzzles, I know what an aerie is, but I always associated it with high steep cliffs. Not what you typically find around Ann Arbor.

“Which tree?” we asked, and she pointed it out, noting that it was harder to see the nest now, with the trees leafed out, than it had been just a couple of weeks ago. We scanned as high up the trunk as we could, peering through the many other trees between us and it, unsure which clump was the nest. But all speculation ended when a pair of wings lifted out of one clump, spread, shook, and subsided again.

“Those babies,” said the woman, “are so ready to fly.”

She said there was a live webcam view of the nest, which we had also heard. But right at this moment we heard something else. Thunder. Oops. Last night’s weather forecast was for no rain until afternoon. Guess we should have checked for an update before we went out. A few drops began to fall.

“I’m going to duck into my friend’s house,” said the birder, as we all started back up the road. She rapidly outpaced us, since Doug kindly kept to my slower speed, but the storm outpaced us all. The rain came by the bucket, and we were soaked to the skin in minutes. It was warm enough that it was sort of like taking a shower, except for that thunder, which certainly implied lightning. In a few more minutes we saw lightning, too, and Doug counted seconds to the thunder to judge how far away it was. Five seconds. Then six. Good, that was going in the right direction.

As soon as I stopped worrying about being electrocuted, I began to see this whole event in terms of a poem: the wings, the noise, the sudden revelation. It has everything going for it. I just need a pen and some paper.

Meanwhile, here’s the webcam. Remember, it’s live, so you need the patience of a birdwatcher to stick with it until anything happens, like the parents coming in with a fish, or the juniors flapping around: