Year by year the astonishing eagle nest grew in height, weight, and circumference. But the old shellbark was not growing in strength year by year to meet the growing burden of the nest, a detail in the engineering left out of their reckoning by the eagles. Thirty-six years is a long time in the experience of an eagle, or in a man's experience, for that matter. What had stood the storms for thirty-six years must certainly stand firm for years to come, reasoned the great birds, if they reasoned at all.
But it was apparent that the winds blowing and beating upon that lofty house must some day cause it to fall. So some kind human friends of the great birds erected a tower beside the nest and measured it, finding it twelve feet in height, and eight and a half feet across the top, estimating the weight of the eyrie as close to two tons. The top of the nest was a nearly level platform covering over sixty square feet.
Up to 1922 the forking branches of the hickory that held the nest showed signs of life. Then there came a change. But the eagles did not notice the change. The next spring they added three more inches to the height of the nest, and perhaps a hundred pounds to its weight. So did they the following spring of 1924. In November of that year the male bird was wantonly shot and his old mate disappeared. No eagles were seen about the eyrie until the twelfth of February of the new year when a pair of the noble birds appeared and began to refurbish once more the ancient keep. A clutch of eggs was laid and the brooding began. Both of these birds may have been new to the scene. It is almost certain, however, that the widowed bird had brought back a new mate to the old home.
Be that as it may, the pair took things as they found them, added the necessary new furniture, and began the serious business of a family. The nest-tree had stood the storms for thirty-six years, what better guarantee could men or eagles ask than that? But on the tenth of March, before the eggs were hatched, a wild gale swept over that country, and marking the dying shellbark for destruction, caught the towering eyrie in its mighty hands and hurled it crashing to the ground.
Rats, they say, will sense their danger and quit a sinking ship. Their long fight on land and sea with their wily enemy man has sharpened their wits, it seems. The eagle tree stands aloof. The soaring birds will dwell with men, but have no commerce with them, nor learn of them. A hundred years of dying in the top of the tall shellbark would have conveyed no warning to the birds. The worms might bore and the winds might besiege the castle. It had always stood; why should it not always stand?
By David Bunch
David is the author of many articles including Best Friend Quotes and also the author of Best life quotes.