David Goodnow, wildlife student and photographer of New Canaan, Conn., is one of the few people in this world who are privileged to have an eagle around the house. Dave is proud of Caesar, the magnificent golden eagle which has shared his life for the last five years. He studies the bird closely and turns it loose in a large studio to get closeup photographs of an eagle in free flight such as those on the following pages and on this week's cover.
Caesar, weighing 11 pounds and with a wingspread of seven feet, is perhaps the most imposing house pet in all New England. He has never been in a cage in his life. Instead, Dave has rigged an ingenious device by which the bird is kept on a long rope, permitting him to fly in circles in the yard without injuring himself. Dave also put up a perch and built a house where the eagle can roost in bad weather without getting himself tangled in the rope.
Caesar is inquisitive and interested in everything around him, especially cars, people and dogs. When Dave goes for a ride in the car, Caesar likes to be taken along (left), and he shows far more dignity than the people who crowd around the car to ask Dave questions about his regal pet. As for the dogs, Caesar doesn't like them and will go after them every chance he gets.
Caesar has gotten away twice. Last summer he went on a tear and was gone from the latter part of April until July 1. A game warden and a state trooper found him in the woods 20 miles from home. They threw a blanket over the threatening bird and notified Dave. The other time Caesar was gone three days and Dave had to climb several tall trees before he could persuade his pet to come to his arm. Despite these and other headaches, Dave never regrets the day he got a state permit to keep an eagle around the house.
POISED FOR DOWNBEAT
Launching from his perch in the studio, Caesar projects his body into the air with strong legs and raises his wings in readiness for first wing stroke which will put him in full flight.
With his broad tail and enormous seven-foot wings braced, the great golden eagle has just maneuvered his body to the point where he can land without a runway. His outspread flight plumes filter the air to cushion the shock of impact and help steer his feet into exact position. Braking power for the landing is supplied by the eagle's powerful pectoral muscles.
Like a swept-wing jet, eagle leaps into the air with downthrust of wings. On the instant, too, he draws his landing gear into flight position.