By Scott Morris
The annual lesson in successful parenting — as presented by a pair of American bald eagles — is underway high over Shoal Creek.
As soon as one eagle lands, the mate takes flight to stretch its wings and find a fish in the swift current below.
The nesting parent lends its warmth to the incubating eggs until the other eagle returns.
I have been watching this display in tag-team parenting for three years on Shoal Creek, just north of Iron City, Tennessee.
One thing that always surprises me is the size of the massive nest. Eagle nests average 4-5 feet across and 2-4 feet deep, according to the National Eagle Center. The birds add new material every year.
Here are a few other eagle facts from National Geographic:
If you want to experience the lesson in bald-eagle parenting on Shoal Creek, launch your canoe or kayak on Factory Creek at the bridge on Hardin Loop, north of Iron City. Factory Creek flows into Shoal Creek after about a mile. About 30 minutes into the trip, you will start passing houses on the bank to the right as you approach a long point in the river. The nest is on the left before the point.
If you visit soon, you may see a hungry eaglet peeking over the edge of the nest, waiting impatiently for the next meal.