In winter, you can find bald eagles in every US state except Hawaii. Although they usually stay around water, you can also find them in rangelands and farmland, where they will gather to feed on the carcasses of animals that are winter killed. But how about less than one mile from my house, near the playground of an elementary school. The eagles have been nesting there I think since 2015. That’s when the school district placed a 360-deggree angle camera on the grounds of the school to watch the nesting eagles.
The parents, Stars and Stripes, so far this year have laid three eggs. The students at the school are a part of the “family” and every classroom has a tie to them somehow. Each year there is a contest in every grade to name the new baby eaglets and last year’s eaglets were named Freedom and Glory. But here’s what’s so cool about all this – you can watch the eagles 24/7 through a continuous livestream on YouTube. The annual livestream begins when Stars lays an egg.
So, instead of researching material for my many online classes I’m currently teaching, or doing laundry, or dusting (which I never really do anyway) or just about any other thing I should be doing… I’ve been glued to YouTube watching Stars and Stripes. I did a little research on bald eagles and I have learned that once incubation begins, the male and female take turns sitting on the eggs, but the female does most of the work. While one sits on the nest, the other is hunting for food or perching nearby to protect the nest. I can never tell who is sitting on the eggs keeping them warm and toasty, but an ardent and educated “birder” (is that the right word?) would know. Consequently, I have been sitting, hour after hour watching these magnificent birds and drinking one cup of tea after another. I only leave my “perch” to get another cup of tea or go to the bathroom.
The Eagles, Tea, and Me
Many of us – meaning me – often live in a state of constant stress punctuated by bouts of acute but transient ease of mind, when it should be the other way around (constant ease of mind punctuated by bouts of acute but transient stress) and watching the eagles and drinking my tea helps me correct the imbalance. The coronavirus pandemic has taken over daily lives around the globe (but perhaps now the end may be in sight) and life hasn’t been easy. We haven’t seen our families, shaking hands and hugging are no longer greeting’s, Sunday church has been out, traveling seems like something that may never safely happen again, going to the movies is now in front of our TV’s and the list of “used to’s” goes on and on. As humans we don’t do very well under chronic stress and it can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. But what has taken me a long time to realize is that we can fight back. We don’t have to let stress control our lives and through all of this I’ve learnt various ways to lessen the stress. I won’t go into all of them now but watching Stars and Stripes together with my numerous cups of tea has been instrumental in lessening that stress, even for a short period of time.
Thanks, Stars and Stripes!