Kay Meng and I were able to visit the Board Room on April 20 with the goal of photographing either a newly hatched eyass, or at least some pipping eggs. But the eggs remained stubbornly intact, and what had looked like pips on the camera feed, turned out to be specks of dirt and egg markings.
It was therefore a huge surprise the next day to discover that during the night the first eyass had hatched, and the second was well on its way. So we never used these pictures because who wants to see unhatched eggs and expectant haggards when the Main Event is underway.
However, when a week later came the tragic news of Dad's disappearance and death, these last few pictures of Dad and Mom together became very precious.
Here he had presented her with a tempting rat snack, and placed it just far enough away...
... that she might have to stand up to get it, thus allowing him to sit on his beloved eggs. He kept edging in closer to her....
... until she gave in and started to stand.
Because we now know those eggs were within hours of hatching, it is very likely he could hear the internal vocalization from the unhatched eyasses. A few minutes after he had settled on the eggs, he stood up again, and we could see them really clearly with no cracks. No doubt, Dad had felt some movement within as they were so soon to hatch.
The last time I saw Dad on the hawk cam was Friday, April 27, and he was doing what he always did - taking care of his family. He had brought in a rabbit to feed Mom and the eyasses.
He did not stay long, just enough to catch his breath...
... before he headed out again.
Early in the morning on Saturday, April 28, Dad had brought greens in to Mom before heading out to hunt...
... and then he was gone.
It was a most happy moment this Saturday morning to see Dad's three eyasses looking so healthy and strong on the roof of the Franklin Institute.
There was no better father than Dad, and after following his exploits for four years, I held him in the greatest affection and respect, but let's also wish Happy Father's Day to T2 who has stepped into those huge shoes, and has done a beautiful job in helping Mom raise the eyasses to bring them to this day.