Chapter 41 – Nesher (נָשַׁר) (eagle) – July 2027
"Grandpa! Grandpa!" Katie, Rivka, and Tori came running in from the front porch of the cabin to the kitchen where Gibbs was making cowboy omelets for breakfast. He looked up from the pan as the three girls came to a stop in front of him.
"There are eagles outside," Katie exclaimed.
"FOUR of them," Riv added excitedly.
"C'mon," Tori tugged her grandfather's hand and tried to get him to come outside with them.
"Let me turn off the flame first; don't want breakfast burning," he answered. He put the cast iron skillet with the omelet into the oven and put the setting on warm.
Rivka ran out to the back porch, where Anthony and John were playing chess. "There are eagles out over the pond; come see!" The two boys rose and left the chessboard to see the magnificent birds.
Katie found Tali and Beth in the girls' bedroom, "Eagles are back; they're over the pond and open field." The three girls headed out to the front of the house with the others. LJ and Charles were already on the porch, where LJ was trying to add the birds to his painting of the pond.
Gibbs grabbed the binoculars, all five pairs, from the shelf in the living room and followed the kids outside. "Got the binoculars if anyone wants 'em." Five pairs of hands quickly relieved him of the load, "Remember to share."
Anthony had his camera with the telephoto lens and was snapping pictures non-stop; he would edit and sort them later on his computer to get the best ones. LJ was still capturing the birds of prey in his painting. The others shared the binoculars to get a good look at the eagles.
"Grandpa, why do some of the eagles have white heads and the others are all brown?" Charles had noted the difference in the birds almost immediately.
Gibbs pointed to the two birds with the white heads and wingtips, "The ones with the white are the adult eagles. The female is usually larger than the male and her beak is larger. Eagles mate for life, so this pair has probably been together for a while."
"Like Ima and Abba?" Riv asked innocently.
"Yep," he smiled to himself; these kids didn't miss a thing. "The eagles that are almost all brown are the youngsters. They will gradually change color as they get older. They change over the first five years of their life from all brown to the white and brown of an adult."
"So when do they have babies?" Tori queried. The others were also curious.
"Four to five years, same as it takes for the white to appear."
John came up with the next question, "So how long do they stay with their parents?"
Gibbs had to think on that one; Tali pulled up the website for the National Eagle Center on her phone while he was trying to remember.
"Ten to twelve months," she read from the web page.
They watched as the adult eagles circled above the pond. One of them dropped down and snagged a fish from the water; it headed to the tree line. The other adult screed to the young eagles, who answered in response. One of the young eagles suddenly swooped in and came up with a fish; it, too, headed to the tree line. As the kids watched with their grandfather, the other adult dipped down into the open area on the side of the pond and rose with what looked like a rabbit. Finally, the remaining eagle grabbed a fish from the pond and disappeared into the trees with the others.
"Time for our breakfast," Gibbs announced to the nine hungry children.
"And nobody has to catch it," Anthony quipped to the laughter of all.