FEB 13, 2002


The day after my parents purchased the new Zwickey Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, the weather was good enough to attempt a visit by boat.

Getting in and out of a ski boat is no easy matter for folks who have eight and nine decades of wear and tear on their bodies.

When they were finally sitting comfortably at the front of the boat to get the best view, off we went.

They had just asked if I had seen the eagle recently and I said that I hadn’t and that I hoped that he was OK, considering the number of local poachers who have no respect for God’s animal children.

Less than a minute later an eagle streaked overhead flying at a rather rapid rate toward the Highway 190 bridge. We were all happy to see him in such good racing form.

We, on the other hand were traveling in the opposite direction, heading up river to Zwickey Creek and the new sanctuary. A minute later a second eagle raced overhead toward Pool Creek and the Waterwood Marina. Wow, two eagles!!! We were all hoping that one was a girl and the other a boy and that they would find each other on Valentine’s Day and start a little family.

We kept onward and decided to pay a visit to the shore of the part of the Wilderness Cathedral where we hold our Sunday sunset services. About a hundred yards out I spotted a large bird on a dead pine directly across a small inlet from the Cross which graces the Cathedral.

At first I thought that it was a Turkey vulture, but as we neared I could make out a stately white head. It was a third eagle!!! I was certain that the eagle would fly away at the approach of our boat but he held his ground, as if standing guard over the Cross.

We stopped the engine and took several photographs while the magnificent bird preened, stared down at us and then resumed his stately pose. When we started the engine of the boat he didn’t even flinch and seemed as if he was too regal to even acknowledge our existence.

That was the first time that we had ever seen three eagles within a five minute period. The sight of the three eagles along the shores of THE HOLY TRINITY WILDERNESS CATHEDRAL gave us all the more reason to thank God for making it possible for us to give these wonderful birds a home.

(We then realized that today was "Ash Wednesday" and how we were also working toward the establishment of an "Ashes to Ashes Cemetery" on the Cathedral grounds, where Ethicians will be able to return to the Earth and God's Creation. I really prefer "sky burials" to spreading ashes. I makes me laugh to think how I might be able to train our vultures to fly over the houses and cars of my political adversaries so that after the vultures have gorged themselves on my lifeless body, they can fly over and leave an offering on the windshield of some unethical politician's car. What sweet revenge!)

Only two birds torment eagles that I know of. Crows are one species and the other is the Osprey, a pair of which chased the eagles away last Spring so that they could build their nest at the top of the Entergy tower adjacent to the Cathedral. Last year an eagle had visited my office right in the middle of Huntsville. He was perched in a huge Sweetgum tree that had belonged to Sam Houston. Unfortunately some of the neighborhood crows spotted him and chased him away. I scolded those naughty crows for being so disrespectful toward our National Bird.

I hope that if the Ospreys return this year, they will learn to live in peace with their eagle cousins.


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