Photo Source: eBird.com
Today's prompt bird, the Philippine Eagle, is one of the most endangered and rarest birds of prey. It has some other names, too, like the King of Birds and the Monkey-eating Eagle. But the thing I enjoyed most when learning about this bird was watching the Philippine Eagles' parenting (see the video below for amazing National Geographic footage). This species produces one egg every two years and both parents are intensely involved in the care and feeding of the chick. They provide a constant stream of snacks like bats, pigs, lemurs, and other delicacies. The baby starts leaving the nest at about five months, but childhood isn't over yet, as the parents keep a close watch, and continue feeding duties, for eighteen more months. The adolescent practices flying, bouncing up and down impressively before taking off. Many parallels with human parenting came to mind, but perhaps the one that made me smile most was the chick tossing back his head so that his crest, a slightly smaller version of the one on his parents' heads, falls into a perfectly coiffed mane. It reminded me of my son saying, at around nine, "It's taken me years to get my hair this way." And of course, when I write in my poem (below) about the full nest, the empty nest is never far from my thoughts.
Eagle Junior fills the nest,
eating snacks he likes the best
served up by his dad and mom:
lemurs, lizards, it's the bomb.
He's the center of their lives,
and they make sure he survives
while he practices his flight
all day long, and sleeps at night,
while he tends his growing mane
and works his muscles and his brain.
Eagle Junior's loved the best
And his presence fills the nest.
©Ruth Bowen Hersey
Here are some more sites I used for background reading: Edge of Existence, Philippine Eagle Foundation, and Rappler.com.
More birds I wrote about this week: Conure (Carolina Parakeet), Razorbill, Pileated Woodpecker, Saffron Finch, Black Drongo, and Turtle-Dove. And there are links to last week's birds in this post.
Matt Forrest Essenwine has this week's roundup.
Love the info you are learning from this project, Ruth! "Monkey-eating Eagle" is an interesting alternative name *shudder*
I especially like "while he tends his growing mane/and works his muscles and his brain." (Seems very teenagery.)
I was going to say something to similar to what Tabatha said - it must be fun learning so much about all these birds. I know I've learned quite a bit!
Amazing bird and amazing poem. Lots of fun! Thanks for this, Ruth, and all the links. I will follow them shortly. So glad this bird gave you a smile!
Growing into a teenager, just like some others we know, right? Love your bouncy poem, Ruth, & that video!
I love that you dive right into this project and learn and create along the way! Your poem is delightful and I was wowed by the video clip you shared. What a majestic bird! Can't wait to see what's on offer next week...
Fascinating facts and a great poem.
I love how this project expands your world...AND OURS!!
Such a tribute to our nestlings, Ruth!
It's taken me years to get my hair this way.
When I was little
I thought when I got older I'd learn to fly,
that my arms were wings,
that the hairs on my arms were baby feathers.
Now I know that those hairs were baby hairs,
that the hair on my head
is my crest, is all I have to lift me from
the edge of the nest.
I toss my hair, I raise my wing-arms.
I soar. It's taken me
years to learn how. Don't make me cut it.
Oh Ruth, I so enjoyed the video about the Philippine Eagle. Your poem has a great rhythm. I can just see the juvenile with his favorite snacks.
Oooh, not only did I enjoy your poem, but I learned so much about this eagle. So cool, Ruth!
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