The Mantle Of Responsibility

The Mantle Of Responsibility

I ended up at a training in one of those states that begin with a cardinal direction. The training campus was reminiscent of Hogwarts or some Disney castle land, the campus rolling and beautiful. Big stone buildings nestled into a wooded area, complete with baby deer bounding up the paths.

This place also happened to have a bald eagle nest and the nest had an eagle cam. In fact, all of the TVs in the rooms had a channel that was just the live eagle footage.

When I arrived, the sky and the stone buildings were almost the same shade of grey. I walked up the grand walk way to the check in castle. Inside, the ceilings were vaulted, there were massive exposed beams of timber, and two story tall photos filled the walls. Two women sat behind the check in desk, and they welcomed me heartily. They also told me, the eagle chick had just hatched! I could see it on the eagle cam.

Which was all well and good, but I didn't want to sit in my room, I wanted to explore the crazy castle filled campus, and I forgot about the eagle chick until I crested a hill where I could see the massive nest in the leafless tree.

The next day, I was in my training, when a representative of the facility came to speak to us. We were told he was there to welcome us, but instead he said, "I'm sure you've all heard about the situation."

I had not heard of "the situation" but whatever the situation was was guaranteed to be more interesting than the training. I sat forward.

"Our male eagle. He's got some black feathers, which you know..."

Which I did actually know. I knew that immature bald eagles do not get their classic white head until they've matured. It takes a bald eagle about five years to loose their juvenile plumage. While juveniles, bald eagles are a mottled black and brown. You can confuse them with golden eagles, except golden eagles are usually bigger.

"Well, he's young. We are hoping he grows into the mantle of responsibility of an adult..."

This was entirely more interesting than the training. The poor man was very upset. He wore that classic truly disappointed dad look, and he paused, seemingly at a loss for words.

"We were able to take down the footage. He ate the chick in the early morning, so not many people in America saw it, but people all over the world watch our cam..."

The eagle ate his own chick. Bad.

A woman next to me rolled her eyes. "Classic patriarchy," she whispered.

The man was still speaking. "People want us to sanction the male, but how does one sanction an eagle? We can't."

He looked at us, true pain in his eyes.

"We hope... We know... He will grow into his responsibility. Thank you."

And that was that. He left, and the training continued. But, his talk was the single most interesting thing I learned in that training.

Turns out, eagles are ungovernable.