I heard some very interesting facts about eagles the other day. I always knew that they were rather spectacular and regal creatures, but I was never aware of these particular facts before.
Did you know that eagles go through a molting season? This occurs towards the end of their lives. Not all that much research has been done on this event because they will basically hide themselves during this time. It is a very private matter. However, from what the researchers have managed to find out, this is how the molting process occurs.
Eagles will fly to the highest, most remote mountain spot they can find. Their entire beak becomes incrusted with calcium. This makes it almost difficult for them to lift their heads erect. They must scrap their beaks against the rocks to rid themselves of this build up. The talons also become covered with calcium, and gradually they will rub them on the rocks too, until they are down to only nubbins.
It is also throughout this phase that these animals’ feathers become weighty with dirt and oil. If they should dive for prey, their wings would make a distinct ‘whistling’ sound. Because their quarry can hear them coming, it gives them enough time to run and hide. Feeding themselves becomes difficult.
The eagles also begin to pluck out all of their feathers, and their eyesight becomes impaired. They loose that keen ‘eagle-eye’ they once had. With their skin exposed and being partly blind, it is a bleak and powerful period.
To say that the eagle is now totally insecure and helpless is an understatement. They are at everyone’s mercy. The eagles have no feathers, they can’t fly, they can’t hunt, so they could starve; they have no talons, they cannot lift their heads or use their beaks, they can’t protect themselves, and so they are easy pickings for any predator. But an incredible trend occurs… other eagles begin to take care of them! They will keep an eye on their helpless compatriots; they will do the hunting for them and drop off food from high heights to their disabled companions. It’s an impressive occurrence, but not one hundred percent fool proof. Many do not make it through this interval.
Here’s the best thing of all though, if the eagles can survive this whole process, they will become stronger and more popular than they ever were before! Their beaks, feathers, and talons all begin to grow back sharper and more effective than ever before. They will now be able to fly better and higher more than ever. They ‘renew their youth,’ as it were. Moreover, they become gifted with a recharged vigor that they never had before. They can soar higher, swoop faster, pierce sharper with their talons, and have even more of acute eyesight. The eagles are pristine and more powerful now than they were in their prime - but with a price tag!