Mounds Park bald eagles become true urbanites
Thursday, July 01 2010 @ 01:33 AM EDT
Contributed by: jkr
June 30, 2010
Sharing the backyard with protected wildlife not a cakewalk, homeowners find
In the beginning, John and Carol laughed over how jealous their Mounds Park home's previous owner - a bird lover who bragged of the place's falcon-friendliness - would be if he were to discover the bald eagles now raising fledglings within their very urban, tiny backyard.
The owners of a West Seventh Street salon were themselves at first overjoyed at being so chosen, feeling privileged to witness countless courting behaviors not just out their windows but even the skylight in the upstairs bathroom. Even now, they can find themselves captivated by the antics of the eagle couple and two fledglings.
"I watch them at night, and it's pretty incredible," John says.
But while John and Carol still occasionally sit and watch the avian reality show out their door, reality itself soon tempered their enthusiasm. They discovered that the eagles in their midst don't, in fact, make the ideal houseguests, even if they are stuck outside.
Just recall the last time you put up popular, out-of-town friends whose visit was joyful up until those friends managed to overstay their welcome - and their quirky habits become little more than annoyances. Turns out having eagles in your backyard is none too different.
For John and Carol, hints of the annoyances to come arrived nearly immediately, putting a bit of a damper on their eagle-hosting enthusiasm.
Starting with the sloppy homebuilding skills of the father eagle, who had chosen as his domicile their backyard pine tree all of 50-55 feet high (after a storm knocked off the top 15 feet a few years ago).
"For every branch he placed, he dropped 10," John says. "We must have hauled off 50 bundles of sticks."
Then came other worries and annoyances. Over their small dogs being eaten. Over the countless gawkers leaning on their fence. Over the dropped fish parts and soiled sticks and other nesting materials that their dogs found irresistible, no matter how many times they'd fall ill after greedily wolfing them down. Over the well-being of their three-year-old, asphalt-shingled roof, or even their bathroom skylight, soon slathered with fecal spray.
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