“Eagles are very inspirational and they just take your breath away,” said Jim Weller, founder of the Eastwood Eagle Watchers that monitored the nest of Dayton’s first pair of breeding bald eagles in 70 years.
Bald eagles Jim and Cindy moved into the Dayton area in 2008, right after the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through town, Weller said. Cindy was killed Wednesday when she was accidentally electrocuted.
“She had done what she always did. She was out picking up a stick to put in the nest. She picked up a stick that was a long stick, and as she was flying back to the nest that stick, which was water-logged, came into contact with utility lines and the electricity passed through the stick up through her left foot and out her right chest. She died instantly,” Weller said.
The American bald eagle in 1782 was made the national emblem. It’s a massive bird, with a 6-foot to 6½-foot wingspan. It stands 30 inches tall and are very powerful, yet tender with their youngsters, Weller said. Jim and Cindy have reared 13 eaglets from their nest since they moved to Dayton.
His fondest memories are watching their pair bonding, he said.
“As part of that ritual they will get up effortlessly from a tree branch and before you know it they’ve just circled around and gone hundreds, thousands of fee into the air. Then they’ll reach for each other’s talons and hold onto each other’s talons and they’ll just somersault back towards the earth. When they get about 100 feet towards the ground they separate. It’s just an amazing thing to watch,” Weller said.
While eagles form lifelong pair bonds, Weller said Jim will look for a new mate once he realizes Cindy is gone.
“I was out (Thursday) and Jim was sitting in a tree all by himself. He was obviously looking for his mate,” Weller said. “It’s going to be hard to see Jim go through this trial, looking for his mate that’s not coming home.”
Weller said as a child he admired the bald eagle and wanted to see one fly. As an adult, he got his wish. His group, the Eastwood Eagle Watchers has a website and blog. “We monitor the eagle’s nest. Our primary goal is to keep the eagles protected from any disturbance and also to educate people and keep people updated about what’s happening with the eagles in Dayton, Ohio.”