High up in the mountains and down in the valley below the screams of the flying bald eagle can be heard. It is upon these rocky cliffs and tall trees that they choose for their homes. They soar high above bodies of water watching with tremendously accurate eye sight for food below them. Their white head and tail distinguishes them from other birds. They fly majestically over vast areas searching for prey to feed their mates and their young. Fish is a favorite. They are swift and their talons sharp as they swoop down like a soaring jet to snatch the fish right out of the water holding them with a vice grip of death. They move with precision and accuracy that is second to none.
Few creatures dare to steal from the eagle’s nest and their screams echo for miles terrifying every creature large and small. Eyes like razor-sharp weapons pursue relentlessly always ready to do battle if need be. Total victory is its aim ever defending its mate and its young ones. Wings of glory outspread move with little effort through the heavens as it sails above all things. We can only watch from a distance and hope to learn from the mighty Bald Eagle.
So it was with the eagle we named Abraham the powerful flier who soared above our house. We called him Abe for short. We watched him perch in the tall trees where he had good visibility from all sides. We watched him daily and I know he watched us even more.It was obvious that Abe didn’t trust people and chose not to be disturbed by human or any form of animal.
I watched him reach speeds from thirty to fifty miles an hour while he carried his prey in his massive talons. He became our amusement and I’m sure we became a part of his. My telescope could zoom in so close it was like we could reach out and touch him from inside our cabin. Abe loved to eat fish but he would often resort to eating rabbits, beavers, ducks or even snakes. Watching him swoop down from the heavens and grab an animal was something to behold.
This brings me to the incident I most cherish about Abraham. You see Abe lived for years near our cabin but never came within a half mile or so of us. I’m sure within the time we knew Abe he fathered many little ones for we had watched him choose a mate about the time we became aware of his presence. We knew this because we watched the courtship take place. It involved elaborate flight displays. He and his mate would fly very high into the sky, lock talons and free fall separating only minutes before hitting the ground. We heard his mating screams for weeks on end. He would swirl around and around then do somersaults in the air as if it were nothing at all. He had incredible skills in flying.
I have a son who was as captivated by Abe’s ability to do the most incredible things in the air as well. My son loved to go fishing with me always hoping to bring home the biggest catch for dinner and show me up as a fisherman. We went regularly to the huge lake down in the valley below. It was a good distance from the cabin and very rocky terrain to say the least. We would either pick a spot and sit for hours just waiting for the big one to bite or often times we would walk along the water’s edge and cast. I’ve always heard that God doesn’t count the days you go fishing and we were determined to erase many of our days by going fishing. Needless to say we both enjoyed the sport tremendously.
As it happened Jeff and I were walking along a narrow embankment on this sunny day trying to choose a good spot to sit and let the fish do the work. Jeff’s legs were much younger than mine and he kept ahead of me most of the time. He had walked a good distance ahead of me when suddenly he stopped.
“Dad! I just walked up on a huge rattlesnake!” His voice trembled with fear for he knew about the deadly bite of the mountain rattlesnake.
“Don’t move! Just stand still!” I called to him. I looked around for a weapon but there was nothing I could find. I knew if he were bitten we had a long walk back to the cabin and then have to wait for a helicopter to reach us. This would take much too much time. My thoughts went rushing through my mind as I tried to think what I could do quickly.
Then out of no where I heard the sound of flapping wings. Abe swooped down from somewhere within a few feet of Jeff. He grabbed the rattlesnake with his talons then quickly lifted himself and the snake up into the air flying in the direction of his home in the tall trees. We were both stunned for we had no idea that Abe was watching us or the snake. He literally saved Jeff from the deadly fangs of the rattlesnake because Jeff had no where to go to avoid the snake. We both stood there astounded by what we had just witnessed.
Jeff had always loved and respected every animal since he was very young. I don’t know if Abraham was protecting Jeff or just decided he would like to have rattlesnake for lunch. The fact that he felt comfortable enough to come within a couple feet of Jeff was quite hard to fathom. It was clearly out of character for the Great Bald Eagle, the sacred bird of North America.
Eagles are considered by some to be messengers between God and humans. Jeff and I tend to believe this is very true based on our knowledge of Abraham. Abraham will always be the majestic Bald Eagle who took the time to save the life of an innocent child. What more is there to say? We still see him flying over our cabin with his wings outstretched as if he is protecting us. We still hear the screams as he passes by. This bird has made me believe mankind knows very little about the true intelligence of the Bald Eagle.
Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved
Question: How did Abe save Jeff’s life?