Dairy Queen Eagle
Day one of our Sanibel adventure started at the Ding Darling Environmental Center with a lecture from famed naturalists Lillian and Donald Stokes. An uncommonly dedicated and gifted couple, they have authored many classic and authoritative field guides for birders. Yes, I bought them all (and had them autographed). Genuine and good-hearted, with an enthusiasm and passion lacking in many these days, they were approachable and friendly in their willingness to share details on local birding. Those that know my ADD driven perpetual motion would have been awed at how their lecture kept me in rapt attention for over an hour. It was towards the end of the lecture that they casually mentioned the Dairy Queen Eagles. My already amped attention perked up another notch.
It turns out that there is a pair of breeding Eagles who have made a home for themselves in the woods behind a local Dairy Queen. While uncertain as to whether they had bred this year, it was known that they were in residence. That was something Cynthia and I needed to check out.
Cut to later in a day filled with birding adventure, we were jet lagged and tired but decided to push and make one last stop to see the Eagles. Arriving at the Dairy Queen, we parked in the back closest to the adjoining tall growth pines. I jumped out of the car and began scanning.
Tim, the owner of the DQ, quickly came out the back of the store. With a fear that we were about to be chased off, I walked to meet him half way. I could not have been more wrong, Enthusiastic and proud to have such guests, he guided onto his private property and pointed towards a lone sentinel raptor as it guarded its nest below. He told us he loved the birds and asked if we got a good picture could we send it to him so he could put it up in his store. Well, that was a no-brainer.....
Birding gives so much back to the birder. In addition to compelling you ever forward on new adventures, it allows the participant a chance to meet truly great people around the country. But most of all, it provides a brief privilege to see the majesty of God's creation in entirely new light. For that I am truly blessed.
I hope you enjoy.