Surely, because you have not spent the past week under a rock or in a cryogenic stasis of some kind, today’s heartwarming nature crap-cam recommendation is unnecessary. I allude to the Decorah bald eagles with which you are undoubtedly already obsessed, so I don’t need to explain that they’re a nesting pair raising 3 recently-hatched offspring in a giant tree in rural Iowa while hundreds of thousands of people spy on them 24/7 via sneaky webcam.
Everyone I know is obsessed with these eagles. My mother calls me every morning to express her anxiety that the smallest eaglet isn’t getting enough to eat, and to impugn the sub-par parenting skills of “the mother.”
You know, it’s funny, she used to call me every morning to say the same thing about my sibling Tidy’s sub-par parenting skills. My mother considers herself a professional mother, but it might be more accurate to say that, like so many women, she is a professional mother-impugner. My nieces, for example, may be tolerably well adjusted but it’s no thanks to Tidy’s howling ineptitude; if she’d only take Mom’s advice! Likewise, Mom is convinced that she could raise eagles better than eagles do, but the truth is that if you left her alone with this brood of hatchlings they’d all be dead as doornails in about 24 hours, mostly on accounta the mater’s longstanding reluctance to rip dead squirrels apart with her beak.
You know a viral video has spiraled completely out of control when it starts affecting medical care. I suffered my biennial ankle sprain a couple days ago, so I went to my sporty doctor to see how much gruesome surgery I’d be needing this time around. She gave the appendage — the usual Guam-sized purple foot dangling brokenly from leg, etc — a perfunctory eyeball, but seemed to entirely lack the comforting injury-related focus that an aunt with an excruciating ruptured ligament looks for when visiting a medical professional.
“I can’t stop thinking about those eagles,” she said, absently poking at the afflicted limb. “I haven’t seen them since this morning. Is the third one getting anything to eat? I wonder how long before they can regulate their own body temperature? Can you believe the nest weighs over a ton? I bet it really stinks with all that rotting meat lying around. Huh? Oh, just ice the crap out of it. And tell the eagles ‘hi’ for me!”
Horribly, there has suddenly appeared, on the website next to the video stream, a very distracting Twitter/Facebook feed. The content of the comments is precisely the kind of sentimental anthropomorphizing vapidizations you would expect from gawkers at a zoo whose exposure to birds has apparently been limited to Foghorn Leghorn and Tweety. The adult eagles are “Mom” and “Dad”; the hatchlings are “babies,” and the situation is universally perceived as precisely analogous to a human nuclear family.
“Oooh, baby just pooped lol!”
“More housework for Mom hehe!”
“A woman’s work is never done….lolz!”
“Aw momma is tired!”
“Why doesn’t she feed the little one, she is a bad mom!”
“Aww, daddy is feeding the babies bwekfast! Good daddy!”
And of course the trolls — “I kill eagles ery day mmm Eaglette taste good” [sic] — who “ruin it fore evrybody!” [sic]
My favorite tweet so far: “Is there a pecking order?”
It is remarkable that human people can look at eagles — creatures that inhabit Volkswagen-sized piles of twigs 80′ up in trees, that lay eggs, that have no hair and no boobs, that eat raw squirrels, that can fly, for crying out loud, and that in pretty much every other respect that is germane to discourse on human social structure are the very antithesis of H. sapiens — and see themselves. And by “themselves” I mean the patriarchal paradigm. In a nest of eagles.