Cloud Nine

Last year when I was invited to attend, I had to say no.  I was picking up my granddaughter from school early that afternoon for a half day dismissal.  

Then on Thursday when I received the banding invitation and reminder from CT DEEP/Division of Wildlife, I cringed.  It was, once again, taking place on a Friday and it coincidentally fell on yet another early dismissal day.

Wondering if I COULD make it, I immediately pulled up the location on Google Maps, and  began calculating distance and time.  "I COULD and I WOULD", I thought so I responded  "Count me in...see you there."  This year my gut told me not to miss it.

Last Friday was an incredible day.  I would be meeting my 'Eagle Guru" for the first time face to face after communicating with him for nearly six years via email.  He often said he hoped to someday meet me in the field and Friday was the day.  He's been doing volunteer work and involved with Bald Eagles since the 80's and is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to Eagles and a few other species in the world of ornithology.

I am still on "cloud nine" because being allowed to be part of, witness and observe the actual banding process.  It  was beyond amazing.  Hopefully, you'll get the jist from the pix.

Located in a Tulip Tree about 100' away from their home, after meeting me the property owners extended an "open invitation" to come and observe the nesting pair whenever I wanted to.

Brian climbs to nest.

After reaching in over the rim of the nest, Brian gently placed the chick in the leather bag and lowered it to the ground where Jenny and Larry (CT DEEP/Div of Wildlife) then weighed the bird.

Now, Mike holds the chick while Jenny places a Federal band on the right leg and the state band on the left.  Additional measurements are taken to determine the sex and age of the bird.

The entire process of measuring, weighing and banding took 10 minutes.  Meanwhile the adult circling overhead continued to send the stress alert.

As you can see, it was fitted with a CT band, which is black in color and labelled K7.

It was reported to Mike that the  chick banded last year from this nest had flown into electrical wires in NH.  It was sent for medical attention, rehab and released.

Before placing the chick back in the bag for it's trip back up to the nest, Jenny spritzed it with water. 

 (Don't you think it's fuzzy white feathers resemble a bandanna?)

Brian did find an unhatched egg in the nest which will be analyzed.  Based on all measurements taken , it was determined that the chick is a male and approximately 45 days old.

Speaking to Mike afterwards, I told him that I thought the bird was small for it's age as it only weighed 6.25 lbs.  Then using a formula he devised, I calculated the egg lay, egg hatch, and fledge dates.  Before I left, he said, "You're good."  And that, my friends, is why I'm still on "cloud nine."

The morning flew by and before I knew it, I was heading to my granddaughter's hoping to make it to school on time, 1 1/2 hrs away.  I did.  Now I would get to spend time with her and Harley, their 5 month old puppy and remain on "cloud nine.".  

just seeing, saying and sharing...

Cloud Nine

with you and those at


Red Rose Alley said…
That is an amazing picture of the Eagle, and a grand bird, indeed.

Ann said…
What an awesome experience. I think I would be kind of scared to climb up to that nest and grab a chick with an adult so near.
MadSnapper said…
until I read your post I was on cloud nine thinking you got a dog, your granddog is adorable. so glad you got to attend this year and I now wonder how do they keep the parents from attacking them while stealing their chicks.
That is one big chick. What a thrill for you to see all this happen.
NCSue said…
Fascinating! What a wonderful opportunity!
Thanks for joining us at
Lea said…
An amazing experience!
I did not get any Eagle photos this year from the nest at Shiloh TN. One of the eaglets fell from the nest in April. Its parents are feeding it there on the ground, so the entire area is off-limits to people. The Rangers told us they expect it to be able to fly away with its parents and its sibling the first week in June.
Harley is a handsome dude!
Lady Fi said…
What a great thing to witness.
Anni said…
My goodness!! What an incredible experience...I'd be so elated & probably bawling while witnessing all. You certainly have had a memory that will be played over & over in your mind!

And as close as you made us feel with your photos & narration, I thank you for sharing this with us!!
How great t be able to see a young eagle up close and personal, JP, and glad that Mike made it safely up to and down from the nest. I can image the parents were mighty anxious and maybe so was he! And, that is one big chick!
carol l mckenna said…
What a great day for you with the eagles and then with your grand daughter and her darling puppy ~ Such love!

Happy Times to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)
How amazing.
Loved seeing your pictures.

All the best Jan
eileeninmd said…
Hello, your eagle photos are amazing. What a great experience. I love your cute grand-dog, adorable pup! Thanks for linking up, enjoy your day!
Kay L. Davies said…
"You're good" is a subtle but wonderful thing to hear. Effusive praise can be overdone, but a simple two-word acknowledgement is to be treasured.
Also treasured, of course, are the eagles. I'm going out to my home province, British Columbia, next week and am hoping to see some of the eagle nests there. I hope I'm not too late to see some youngsters.
I was fortunate to watch British Columbia's eagles come back from the brink of extinction when I commuted from the suburb of White Rock into Vancouver.
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel
Rambling Woods said…
Oh WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cloud 9 is where I would be. What an opportunity and how much you know about these amazing raptors and you still got to spend time with the grandchild... a WIN!! WIN!!!!
Angie said…
What an unbelievable experience - I can certainly understand why you would be on Cloud Nine. I am amazed they are able to do all that in 10 minutes. And yes, the feathers make that little fella look like a bad--- biker dude!
Susie said…
JP, that was wonderful///and time with your grandgirl and her puppy. Life can be so good. Blessings, xoxo, Susie
Sylvia said…
JP. I am so glad you had a great experience. That is a big baby bird and the nest is huge. I'm so glad you shared and made it there for granddaughter. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

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