Friday, July 19, 2024

Eagles – Embodiment of Courage and Determination

Written By Ajaz Kumar (Grade 8)

Aquila Chrysaetos, Haliaeetus Leucocephalus, Circaetus Cinereus, and Buteogallus Solitarius are the scientific names of the Golden Eagle, the Bald Eagle, the Brown Snake Eagle, and the Solitary Eagle, respectively. Eagle(s) is the common name for the contrasting paradigm of the members sharing genes with the Accipitridae family. This is the story of Mother Nature’s facet of tenacious creation that lies in the physical body of the air-borne bird of prey, belonging to a common family of the Accipitridae, yet unique and special with their very own features. The life, journey, and struggles of these species, which nature is a witness to, are a painful transition yet an awe-inspiring story of life an organism can ever produce, which consecutively inspires other beings. The tendency to make decisions on the threshold of life and death is a truly inspiring time period that personifies courage, boldness, and the daring ability of an eagle.

The eagle, like any other bird, lays eggs in its nest. These nests, known as eyries, are built on tall trees or very high cliffs to fend off reptiles and other hungry beings. The mother bird lays eggs and sits on them patiently, giving its warmth to its future progeny for its comfort and for the process of hatching. The mother battles the hungry reptiles and all other organisms that look keenly and with hungry eyes to devour the newly laid eggs. After a patient wait of 35 days, the eggs crack, tiny hatchlings peep out of their old shelter, and for the first 24 hours, they are not fed; they guzzle down on the yolk of their eggs, which provide them with immense nutrition. After some time, these little hatchlings stand up and chirp, demanding food from the mother bird. The young and curious eaglets now exercise by flapping their newly developing wings; they strengthen their talons and wings by fledging from their nests and flying up to nearby branches and trees. In a matter of 10 to 12 weeks, the juvenile eagle’s talons, beaks, and wide wings are finally mature. The hitherto branches and trees are now no longer the limits and boundaries for their endless flight. It lunges itself from its nest and flutters its wings proudly as it takes to the skies for the first time, keen on hunting down small reptiles and rodents. With its eyesight eight times sharper than humans, it proves to be a lethal weapon to safeguard its young and its nest. The sharp talons are apt to get a perfect grip on the prey hunted by the eagle. The pointy beak takes no extra effort to tear the flesh and gulp it down. Eagles are said to be the only birds to have the unwavering audacity to fly towards the sun. Even in plays like Julius Caesar, written by William Shakespeare, eagles are the manifestation of strength and victory, as they have been an overpowering force that has accompanied humans in all their triumphs and adventures.

The life span of an eagle is around 70 years, but in the wild, it manages to live only around 30 years. At the age of 40, 10 years after it should already be dead, the eagle is now face-to-face with either death or a new life. The eagle’s deadly, sharp beak is now too blunt and hard to tear off flesh. Its flexible and strong talons are now stiff and weak, and it can barely have a safe grip on its prey. Its majestic wings now have old, heavy feathers, which makes it nearly impossible to fly. At this juncture of life and death, the eagle can either stay hungry and die at the age of 40 or undergo a painful process lasting up to 150 days, assuring it a new life.

The bold species chooses the better option, hence proving its symbol of courage and determination. It flies to its eyrie in the mountain tops, sits there, and bashes its hard beak to the rocks until it shatters and breaks. The beak of an eagle contains keratin; it keeps growing, just the way the fingernails of a human grow. After breaking its beak completely, it patiently sits and awaits a new beak to grow. The new beak has now grown, and the eagle now plucks out its stiff and useless talons with its new beak. To pluck its old talons, the eagle needs steadfast courage, as it is a horrific process that leads the eagle to lose its complete ability to hunt, and it now has to starve until its new talons grow back. It would need its sharp talons to grab its prey with an overpowering grip. Now with the sharp and deadly beak and talons back in place, the eagle’s flight is yet to be achieved as the heavy wings packed with old heavyweight feathers are still present. The eagle now, with its sharp beak, painstakingly plucks out its feathers one by one, until it has none left. It yet again patiently waits for its new feathers to erupt to pave the way for its majestic flight. This process, which the eagles go through for 150 days, is sometimes not assured of a new life. In some rare cases, the eagles, after plucking their talons out, fail to grow them back, and with continuous bleeding, the horrific scene of their death finally knocks at the door. Even if the talons grow back successfully but the feathers fail to root in the follicles, the eagle has now failed to grow its feathers out, which makes it impossible to fly and to hunt down prey. This loss of feathers eventually brings death to the eagle through starvation. To have these mishaps staring in its eyes, the eagle is courageous enough to take up the process of its rebirth.

After a painstaking process and a silent wait of 5 months, the eagle now leaps from its nest and spreads its marvellous wings as it lets out a scream of new life that echoes across forests and takes its glorious flight towards the skies yet again, and its keen and careful eyes now scan the land for its delicious prey. A glorious life till the age of 30, 10 years of old age till the age of 40, 5 months of painstaking process, and finally a new birth, assuring it of another juvenile life of 30 more sublime years. This story of the life of an eagle is enough for a wave of inspiration to engulf humans lacking motivation, courage, and determination and who are on the verge of giving up. The human mind is often gullible to failures, insults, and downfalls. It takes a tough mind to make decisions and find ways to come out of such depressing times. The eagle could have been content with its 40 years of life and chosen otherwise to die peacefully rather than undergo a painful process. Its courage, confidence, and determination, which kept its mindset strong and unwavering for 5 months, paved the way for its exalted rebirth and a new adventurous life for another 30 years. The human mind must have the mentality of an eagle. The thought of “This too shall pass” should always be an unstoppable driving force during tough times, because there is a ray of sunshine always awaiting at the end of a tunnel. The audacity to challenge failure or death rather than accept it is the mindset of a courageous and determined champion.

Nature in its own melancholic yet melodious tune projects the life of an eagle; one has to sit back and look at it from a point of view that showcases its life as a movie containing successes, failures, and the strength to rise back up and turn that failure into success. As in the words of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, “Life is a tragedy in close-up and a comedy in long shot; if you sit back visually on a situation, it automatically becomes funnier.” We must possess the capability to pass through tough times with a strong intent that can never be dominated by setbacks. Nature has its own creations whose journeys inspire others. An eagle is an embodiment of courage and determination and a part of nature that inspires co-existent living organisms.

Featured Image Courtesy – Britannica


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