National Geographic : 1954 Feb
the cheery face of my gamekeeper friend Dun can at the foot of the cliff. The eagle's nest, which he had found some weeks be fore, was on his Forestry Commission beat, and he had arrived now to relieve me from my vigil in the blind. "Well, what luck?" Duncan asked, with a chuckle in his voice and a Highland twinkle in his eye. Before I could say anything, he had answered his own question. "She's been back, and you've got plenty of photos," he said. Gamekeepers Have Long-range Eyes "How on earth do you know, when you went right off down the moun tain?" I asked. Another chuckle, a bigger one this time, and Duncan tapped the telescope which was slung over his shoulder. (The Highland folk al ways use telescopes, not binoculars.) "I put the glass on the gully from a distance. The pair of them were cruising round overhead when I left you. They were so high I could only just see them with my naked eye. "After an hour and a half I saw the hen bird close her wings to her side and swoop headlong into the gully. She perched on the old tree near the top for a few minutes, then, seeing the coast was clear, flew in to the nesting cliff. Man, it must have been grand to see her coming in from so close." "Yes," I said, "it was simply terrific." Duncan's help was es sential to successful ob servations at such close 281 Golden Eaglet Wears Feathers to the Toes When mature, the golden eagle is a tawny brown. In North America he might be mistaken for the young bald eagle, native to this continent, which wears a russet crown before adopting the adult's "bald" pate of white feathers. At any age, however, the golden eagle's leggings distinguish him from the bald eagle, which has scaly limbs. A large patch of white at base of the tail proclaims this golden eagle a juvenile. At rest he assumes the stiff-leg stance of a bird of prey digesting a meal. In flight his wings may span six feet or more. This bird has just left the eyrie. He will remain near his parents several weeks to take hunting lessons. Until he is four years old, he will show immature plumage and remain unmated.