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Nature & You: Powerful wind storm kills and injures bald eagles

Every so often, actors will dress up and personify Mother Nature. They'll have a smile on their face, and their hair will be festooned with a garland of colorful wildflowers.  All is well and perfect with the world.

Which ill explains why I am now writing this column with reddened eyes and tear-stained cheeks.

Mother Nature can be a life-affirming and benevolent entity, but every so often, Nature can be a mother that eats her own children.

Here of late, I have been doing some volunteering for the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville. I monitor the bald eagle nests that are in central Oklahoma.

The powerful wind storm that came through town on April 29 did much more than knock down the Centennial Arch at State Fair Park as well as flatten the Devon historical oil derricks on the grounds of the Oklahoma Historical Society. 

These same winds took three of my bald eagle nest trees and blew them to smithereens.  One baby eagle was injured and had to be taken to a special wild animal hospital. Ditto for one of the parent birds. Two of my other baby eagles seem to have been tossed into the raging floodwaters of a storm-angered river, never to be found.

It was a bitter pill to swallow. I am expected to be an emotionless scientist who has been well-armored to take life's slings and arrows with not a wince of pain. The problem is this: I am human. 

The loss hit me hard, and it wracked my inner being with heartfelt sorrow.

Time will heal all things, of course. Eventually, the pain will recede to insignificance. For now, however, I am in a deep state of grief.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›