National Geographic : 1954 Feb
277 "The Way of an Eagle in the Air": One of the Bible's Marvels (Proverbs 30: 18-19) Leaving her nest, the eagle does not spring up in flight as many other birds do. She glides into space, falling rapidly until the wind catches her wings. This hen's lofty eyrie provides an obstruction-free drop. tling of pinions, and the cock bird arrived home with a grouse between his feet. He dumped it on the nest and left at once, but not before I had time to see how much smaller and neater he was than his mate. The expression in his eye-which appeared lighter in color than hers-was even fiercer. Knowing that the cock bird does nearly all the hunting and that the hen tends the young at this very early stage, I waited hopefully for her return. Chick Covered with Rushes Every now and then I could see her cruising round in the currents of air which swept up from certain points above the cliffs of the gully. Sure enough, within 10 minutes she was back, carrying a bunch of newly pulled rushes. These she dumped on the nest and eyed the youngster. Suddenly she picked up a large beakful of rushes and placed them right on top of the baby, completely burying him. I stared in incredulity. I had never seen, read of, or heard of such an action. The eaglet did not seem to enjoy the idea of being buried alive at all. The little pile of rushes shuddered, and suddenly out popped the beak, then the head, then the eaglet. Meantime, his mother just looked on. When her chick had struggled free, she picked up a twig of heather about a quarter of an inch thick and a foot long and placed it on him. When he shook it off, she put it on again. At the time, I was puzzled about the whole affair, but just before writing this article I glanced over some old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINES. In the May, 1929, number I found an article on the closely related Ameri can bald eagle.* In it Prof. Francis H. Her * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "The Eagle in Action," by Francis H. Herrick, May, 1929; also, "In Quest of the Golden Eagle," by John and Frank Craighead, May, 1940; and "Eagle, King of Birds, and His Kin," by Alexander Wetmore, July, 1933.