Did You See? Reflections on Rain Drops
By Sherri Elliott
Bald Eagles have a remarkable super shield that adapts as a raincoat or snowsuit depending on the elements. Conditioned with uropygial oil as they preen and zip their feather vanes, each feather is an overlapping mosaic over their fluffy down creating a coat that sheds water and helps keep heat from escaping, creating a constant supply of warmth to the eagles and transferred by brood patch to incubating eggs.
Mom Decorah may have looked miserable to some in the constant rain, but she looked beautiful to me. Closeups reminded me of our founder, Bob Anderson, who loved taking a microscopic look at feathers for condition and those ready to molt. The extra precipitation looked like crystal beads on her as they decorated the rachis and lines of tightly zipped barbs and vanes … and a few of those beads were supersized drops reflecting the nest tree limbs and cameras. Bob would have especially loved this feather tour today by the expert skills of our volunteer camera operators.