We watch for five minutes. We give it ten. We hang around for a full fifteen minutes, watching what appears to be an empty eagle’s nest. For two weeks we’ve watched an eagle setting on eggs, and now, no white head bobs up to see who is observing from below. My distress is palpable. Have the birds abandoned the nest? Eaten the wrong thing and become ill? Lost the eggs overboard? Worried, we motor a bit further uplake, around one bend, then another, only to witness an adult bald eagle swoop right in front of our boat, catch a fish, land upon a fallen log, and proceed to tear that fish to shreds. Relief! (And a bit of sadness for the fish.) At least one of the parents is alive and well. The ripping apart of a live fish is disturbingly captivating. Eventually we leave the bird to finish its dinner in peace and motor back. There is the other eagle, right where he/she belongs, safely on the nest, doing his/her job of keeping those eggs safe and warm. Maybe bald eagles hunker down and sleep on the job? ~K


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We depart from the main boat dock at Devils Fork State Park, Salem SC, 28676