And sometimes, those small birds do something that allows the eagles to keep on soaring.
Okay, so it isn't a small bird, but it is a fairly small private college. We've driven past the entrance sign to Berry College in North Georgia before, but I didn't know much about the school until I heard about the eagles.
|Ford Dining Hall [wikipedia]|
The school, founded in 1902, sits on 27,000 acres, more than half of which is wildlife preserve overseen by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. To give you idea of how large the on campus wildlife population is, there's approximately one deer there for every two students. Lots of areas for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, too, all of which are open for the public to enjoy. This liberal arts college also gets very high marks for its academic programs.
|Berry College's Mirror Lake [wikipedia]|
And then someone spotted the eagles. A pair of them, building a nest atop a pine tree smack dab in the middle of the perfect location they'd chosen for their Valhalla.
So, believe it or not, the original plans for the stadium's location got scrapped. I guess you could say the original plans were for the birds. (Sorry.)
Another not-quite-as-perfect location was selected, and what's even more exciting, a couple cameras were set up to monitor the nesting eagles. More than sixteen million people from around the world follow the video feed. How cool is that? I check in with them from time to time, but haven't seen much action lately. October-November is supposed to be one of their usual laying times, but I haven't seen any eggs yet. Maybe soon? Wanta check it out? Go to georgiawildlife.com/BerryEagleCam
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
* They have a million light-sensitive cells per square mm of retina, which is five times more than humans, and while humans see three basic colors, eagles see five. This enables them to spot even well-camouflaged prey from quite a long distance. In fact, studies have indicated they can spot an animal the size of a rabbit from up to two miles away! (Now you know what it really means to be eagle-eyed.)
* There are sixty species of eagles, but the bald eagle lives only in North America. Many species lay two eggs, but the larger chick frequently kills its smaller sibling... without interference from the parents.
* Their nests can be HUGE. Eagles can live up to thirty years, and they typically use the same nest... and add more material to it every year. The typical nest is from five to six feet in diameter, but there's a record-breaking one in St. Petersburg, Florida, that's nine and a half feet in diameter, and an amazing twenty feet tall. Believe it or not, the heaviest nest on record weighed a whopping three tons. Because of its location atop a pine tree, the size of the nest at Berry College will be somewhat limited. Currently, it may be closer to three hundred pounds. (Svelte by comparison!)
* Bald eagles have a wingspan of about seven feet, and can fly 35-43 MPH when gliding and flapping, and about 30 MPH when carrying fish. Would you believe they can fly while carrying fish that weigh as much or even more than they do? Their dive speed can be 100 MPH or more. Their gripping power is 750 pounds per square inch, which is ten times greater than a human's.
[Pssst! What did the eagle say to his friends before they went hunting for food? Let us prey...]
I've shared this eagle video before, but it's well worth sharing again. Amazing!
One other kinda neat result of the nesting eagles at Berry College. You know how so many young people walk around with their heads down, oblivious to the world, staring at a cellphone, furiously thumbing in a message, or reading text? At Berry, students are more likely to be found looking up... hoping to spot one of their eagles.
We are eagles of one nest — the nest is in our soul. [Led Zeppelin]
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
Oh yeah, something isn't soaring high... matter of fact, it's diving toward the ground at 100 MPH. Beginning at 8AM PST on Saturday the 8th, and running through 12AM PST on the 15th, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade will be on sale on Amazon for a paltry ninety-nine cents. Haven't read it yet? Now's your opportunity to swoop in and get it on the cheap.