Lulu Miller: 3, 2, 1!
(Individually plunked-out light little notes of music pogo-stick their way around a breathy wind instrument.)
Nataanii Means: Imagine your skin turned to feathers ...
Lulu: Long, dark brown feathers ...
Crystal Slusher: Over 7,000 feathers!
(The wind begins to ripple through each individual feather.)
Lulu: And your arms stretch to over twice the size of your body and catch the wind
Nataanii: And you're higher than the airplanes.
Lulu: You're soaring through the clouds.
Nataanii: You feeling the cold go through your feathers.
Lulu: And now your eyes bulge to bigger than your brain—
(A bulging sound. Fwip!)
Lulu: —Letting you see tiny things from miles away.
Ed Britton: If a rabbit’s running along the shoreline, you can see that rabbit.
Lulu: Suddenly, a dark spot in the blue lake beneath you catches your eye and you start [A dive-bombing sound as the wind rushes around you.] dive-bombing down, down!
Nataanii: And you drag your wings along the water of the lake.
(Wind chimes shimmer around you now.)
Lulu: Your feet curl and grow talons. And you [Fwoop! A bubble on the water.] catch a fish, which you then devour with your …
Ed: … Very sharp beak.
Lulu: On your very white head.
Ed: You are a bald eagle now!
Nataanii: In our language, we say “wambli.”
(The music fades out.)
Lulu: Alright! Now is the time when I make you sing the theme song with me.
Ed: Now! Let’s do it!
(Lulu and Alan Goffinski sing together—“Terrestrials, Terrestrials! We are not the worst we’re the …”—before pausing for Ed to finish.)
Ed: Oh, the best!
Lulu: (Adding on.) —Best-rials! Yeah, you got it! (Lulu claps as Ed laughs.)
Lulu: Terrestrials is a show where we uncover the strangeness waiting right here and on Earth—and, sometimes, break out into song.
(A bird-infused version of the theme song begins to play up:
“There’s so much to discover when you fly real high!”
Lulu joins in: “Terrestrials, Terrestrials!
So, reach out your wings and ride the sky! Terrestrials, Terrestrials!”
As the song ends, an eagle cry chirps down and then out, further and further away.)
Lulu: Good voices not required!
I am your host, Lulu Miller, joined as always by my Songbud—
Alan Goffinski: (Autotuned.) Tweet tweet!
Alan: (Still autotuned, of course!) Hello!
Lulu: And today we are talkin’ about the bald eagle!
(Electric guitar plays over a drumroll, a rock version of America The Beautiful that feels particularly patriotic.)
Lulu: That’s right! America’s national symbol. You’ll find on quarters [Clink.] and dollar bills [Cha-ching.] and presidential flags and military insignias!
This glowering bird of prey with an intimidating brow bone, razor-sharp beak, and terrifying talons meant to convey to the world a ferocious fight to the death: independence.
(One more moment of the national anthem, rock-style, before Lulu chimes back in and the music starts to go quiet.)
Lulu: But, uh, today we’ve got a story about a man who looked up into the trees and saw something that suggests …
(The rock guitar ends abruptly. Something is not as it seems.)
Lulu: We may have this big birdie [A breath.] kinda wrong.
Ed: Yeah! Well, glad to connect! (Laughs.)
Lulu: This is our guy in question, Ed.
Ed: Ed Britton!
(Outdoor sounds play up: Water, wind, rustling grass.)
Lulu: He is a wildlife biologist who works for the government, helping to protect a stretch of forest alongside the Mississippi River in Illinois. And one chilly day in January of 2013, he was patrolling the banks near this part of the river where the water rushes over huge dam.
(Waterfall. A drumbeat hits just as the music takes on a fantastical sound.)
Lulu: Almost like a waterfall.
Ed: That water is busting over that dam.
Lulu: And so are fish. [An imaginary fish says, “Wee!” as it jumps.] Which means, at the bottom of that waterfall … (Three splats follow in quick succession, closer and closer, until you can almost feel the smack of the fish against the rocks.)
Lulu: Uh …
Ed: All the fish—they’re either stunned or they're dead.
Ed: And that attracts hundreds of bald eagles.
Ed: There’s so much food there. It's all-you-can-eat.
(A person whistles as they walk through nature.)
Lulu: And that January day, Ed looks up into the trees above the dam and sees something …
(The background noise becomes two whistled notes, fighting back and forth.)
Lulu: It looks like there are three bald eagles sitting together near one nest.
Lulu: And, to Ed’s eye, it appears to be one female and …
Ed: Two males!
Lulu: But he thought there was no way that could be, because everything he’d learned in his scientific training said that if you were to put two males nearby each other …
Ed: There’s gonna be trouble.
Lulu: They were said to squawk and claw so viciously, it sometimes resulted in death.
(One note, whistled, drops like a bomb—or maybe a bird hitting the ground.)
Ed: That’s how territorial they are.
Lulu: And this reputation for do-or-die aggression is one of the main reasons the Founding Fathers chose the bald eagle as America’s national symbol, back in 1782.
Nataanii: I think maybe the first Europeans that came here seen the power of eagles.
Lulu: That’s Nataanii Means, a hip-hop artist who’s Indigenous—native to this land. And he said that his ancestors from the Oglala Lakota and Dine tribes had admired the bald eagle long before the Founding Fathers showed up.
Nataanii: The eagle, to us, is very sacred.
(A wind instrument plays up, wistful, over soft music.)
Lulu: —Though for slightly different reasons.
Nataanii: It's the highest in the sky. It’s the closest to Creator.
Lulu: It was seen as a messenger between worlds—and a healer.
Nataanii: We carry eagle feathers that help in healing ceremonies. They take a lot of our illnesses away.
(A long beat of music as the wind instrument breathes life, history, mystery into the moment.)
Lulu: Now the Founding Fathers weren’t as focused on the potential healing in the feathers as they were in the potential fight in the talons. So they began carving images of the bird on [Sching, a sword!] swords and [A battleship fires a canon.] battleships to warn the world that they were not afraid to fight to the death to protect their (newly claimed) territory.
(Dramatic, triumphant music, like from the opening credits of a movie, plays—grandiose and a little bit overdramatic.)
Ed: So they were up in a tree about 100 feet high.
Lulu: So back to Ed, squinting up at what seemed to be two male bald eagles and a female cozying up together—he just couldn't quite believe what he was seeing.
Ed: It’s so difficult because that nest is so high up.
Lulu: And then the nesting season ends, the birds fly away, and he figures that's probably it.
Lulu: Except the next year, he swears he sees the trio again. And the next year?
Lulu: (Whispering.) Now, people didn’t always believe Ed when he told them what he was seeing. But then, in 2016, this trio of bald eagles happened to flutter down and begin nesting in a tree [A beat.] that was next to [Another beat. Suspense!] a webcam.
(Funky little guitar music twangs around with a little swing to it.)
Nell: I just thought that cam was so unique!
Lulu: This is Nell, a webcam watcher from Jacksonville, Florida.
Nell: You know, because eagles don't usually … Three’s company. (Lulu laughs.)
Lulu: And in an instant there was no more doubt. The three ferocious birds of prey were living peacefully as a trio!
Christine: I think people were just coming together over that fact that it was something different.
Lulu: Another cam watcher, Christine, from New Hampshire.
Christine: It was great to be able to look in on it and say, “Wow, what the heck's going on now?,” you know?
Lulu: It was quickly confirmed that it was, indeed, two males and a female.
Ed: The female’s bigger.
Ed: You know, she’s several pounds bigger. Uh, I call her the Boss. (Chuckles.)
Lulu: Webcam viewers named her …
Lulu: And they called the males:
Ed: Valor 1.
Lulu: And …
Ed: Valor 2.
Lulu: “Valor,” meaning, like, courage?
Ed: Yes. Uh-huh.
Lulu: How do you tell the males apart?
Ed: You know, we don't like to body shame ‘em, but they call Valor 1 “Skinny Legs.” And … (Lulu cracks up.)
Lulu: Okay! Does Valor II have any look?
Ed: He has a dark spot in his eye and it’s very unique.
Lulu: Thousands of people started tuning in …
Nell: I had them on my computer from the time I turned the computer on to the time I turned the computer off.
Lulu: … Watching in crystal-clear detail this thing that scientists—and patriots!—thought could never happen.
Lulu: I mean, did you ever see it where all three of them were, like, snuggled into the nest together at the same time?
Ed: Oh, yes! Yes! Absolutely.
Ed: Oh yes. Yep!
Lulu: By day they took turns tidying the nest, bringing one another food …
Ed: Mostly fish, but we also saw ducks.
Lulu: Whole ducks?
Ed: Yup! [A duck quacks.] We saw parts of deer.
(The music winds down. Up comes a blustery winter wind.)
Lulu: And after many cold winter nights keeping each other warm in that nest …
(Gentle music starts, handbells circling in and out around a serious wind instrument.)
Lulu: Come February, three white eggs appeared. [Lulu softly says, “Doot, doot, doot,” counting each of the eggs.]
Would they hatch? Find out after this short break.
(The wind continues for a moment with a few solemn, solitary notes, before going to quiet and the break.)
Lulu: Terrestrials is back! It is now early spring in Illinois, and up about a hundred feet in a nest, three bald eagles parents have just welcomed [Eggs begin to hatch.]—on-camera, for all the world to see—[Crack! Crack! Crack!] three baby eaglets! (Tweet, tweet, tweet!)
Christine: You know, they were so tiny. Oh my. And so adorable!
Ed: Yes indeed! (Chuckling lightly.)
Lulu: And, as biologist Ed watches these three parents caring for their babies—two of them standing guard while one goes off to hunt, all six of the birds nuzzling down in the nest at night—
Ed: They were the happiest family.
(The gentlest music whirrs up, softly, to the stratosphere.)
Lulu: —He starts thinking about why this unusual trio actually makes sense. Because, see, Hope had been trying to make a family for years before she linked up with the two daddies. And, this is a little sad, but she had a hard time. Her babies sometimes got cold, or fell out of the nest when she was away hunting and they didn't always make it.
Ed: Yeah. It was awfully sad.
Lulu: And those losses were huge, because bald eagles had been endangered—almost extinct—so every birth mattered.
Ed: Where I grew up in Southern Illinois, we never saw bald eagles. That was back in the ‘40s and the ‘50s. I’m—I’m elderly. (Laughs.)
Lulu: Humans had almost wiped out bald eagles from hunting them, cutting down their forests, using chemicals. But, as Ed grew up, he was a part of the group of people who tried everything they could think of to save bald eagles: They protected forests and banned hunting of bald eagles and stopped using chemicals that harmed them. But, looking up at the trees, he realized it was like this trio of eagles had come up with a brilliant technique all of their own.
Christine: To be able to witness it, that's the miracle. You know, it doesn't have to be a traditional family for it to work!
Lulu: And by June, as the forest turned soft with green leaves, one by one, each of the three eaglets, with newly lanky wings, tested the air and leapt away.
(A new song begins to play, starting slow and building, with scritch-scratching of records and a rock guitar coming in over time:
“So long mom and dad and dad
I’ve had a blast now I’m leaving this nest.
So long mom and dad and dad!
It’s been real, it’s been fun, but now I gotta run!
And by run I mean fly!
So I’m saying goodbye!
Gonna start a new life full of wild and excitement and danger!”)
Lulu: (Echoing the song as it ends.) Danger!
Year after year, those three parents stay together, fledging more and more eaglets, and in the process challenging scientists’ notions about what a natural family looks like.
(The wind is back. It sounds weirdly quiet now—too quiet.)
Lulu: Until … [A beat.] One cold evening in March, Hope screams out.
(An eagle cry echoes out into the wind.)
Nell: Eagles, when they alert, they have a certain call to one another.
Lulu: That's webcam-watcher Nell again.
(Music begins, ominous and heavy.)
Nell: I saw Hope looking up into the sky and you could see she was tracking. And then she started doing her alert call to her partners to come, you know—to come see what's goin’ on.
Lulu: And what’s going on is that two stranger eagles were dive-bombing the nest, attacking Hope and her two newest babies.
(Thunder rumbles and a frantic flute line quivers up and down, beautiful but tense.)
Ed: Our phone lines light up …
Lulu: With people saying:
Ed: “Oh my gosh, something terrible has just happened! You've got to get out there and do something.”
Lulu: Ed flips on his live feed of the cam and sees …
Ed: A very large bird, which we believed to be a female, was on the back of Hope.
Lulu: Her talons were digging into Hope’s shoulders.
Christine: There's no dads on the nest.
Lulu: The dads are both down on the ground, fighting off the other invading eagle.
Christine: The two babies, they didn't look good.
Lulu: They looked scared—of this huge eagle attacking their mom.
Nell: I wanted to reach through the computer monitor and grab [Chuckling a little at how silly it sounds.] that other eagle, is what I wanted to do.
Ed: And they struggled for over an hour.
Nell: The last thing I saw was Hope and her going off the nest. They just—they basically dragged one another off one side of the nest and went down to the ground.
Lulu: Ed and his team rush out into the forest to search around on the ground for Hope. But, meanwhile, up in that nest, those babies are all alone.
Christine: It looked like they hadn't been fed for a while. They were ragged, they were weak.
Lulu: And then, suddenly …
(The music changes tone. It becomes a little more driven, a little more hopeful, a little lighter.)
Nell: I saw the dads taking over! Valor 1 and Valor 2, like little troopers!
Lulu: The dads fly back up into the nest to defend their babies.
Christine: It was such a relief that they were there.
Lulu: But right on their tails are the two invading eagles. They return and they keep attacking.
Ed: They wanted to kill everything up there and take the nest over.
(A peal of thunder.)
Lulu: The sun rises. And the attackers keep at it for days—weeks! But those dads?
Christine: They just defended that nest with their lives, not caring what happened to them, but caring for those little baby eaglets.
Ed: And the two dads, Valor I and Valor II, valiantly—very valiantly—fought off this pair of eagles.
Ed: And after about three weeks, the attacks finally ended.
Lulu: Hope was never seen again.
Nobody’s sure exactly what happened to her, but those two dads stayed with their babies as the air grew warm …
(Warmth: Birds twitter in an open space, the sounds of spring.)
Lulu: … As yellow and purple flowers began poking their way up through the dirt, and kids began fishing on the Mississippi River.
The dads kept watch over their chicks, bringing them food and keeping them warm at night. Until finally, come June …
(Magical music blossoms, a harp playing the notes of hope and excitement at the love these two eagle dads showed for their chicks.)
Ed: The two chicks ended up, uh, growing and leaving the nest.
It was extremely happy. Yes, indeed. We gave them the Greatest Dads Award of the Year.
Lulu: Ed says he was totally shocked by how things unfolded—by how caring and collaborative the two dads were together.
Ed: And this is just one incredible survival story that, uh, I would've never fathomed in my career.
(With a few more strums of the harp, the song ends.)
Nataanii: There's a lot that people don't know about eagles.
Lulu: This is Nataanii again.
Nataanii: They’re very compassionate.
Lulu: And what Ed learned from watching the trio, Nataanii learned from his family and culture.
Nataanii: The first time I saw an eagle, he was huge, man, huge! I went home and I told my dad, you know, “Hey, I seen an eagle today.” And then he—he sat me down and he said, “When an eagle chooses a mate, they're together for life. They’re always taking care of the family.”
(Gradually, a soft, contemplative series of chords play in the background.)
Lulu: It was then that Nataanii first learned about the bald eagle’s softer side—how the creature isn’t only about fighting.
Nataanii: But it’s also a symbol of love and relationship.
Lulu: And that’s why, in the Lakota Tradition, you can earn a bald eagle feather if you do something particularly caring.
Nataanii: It could be a lot of things, you know, it could be, you know, being a social worker or—
Nataanii: —Um, a nurse that saves lives. Just anything—anything you do that’s selfless, not for yourself, but for the people, so the people may live.
Lulu: Nataanii gets some eagle feathers out—
(Eagle feathers rustle their way out of a crinkly wrapping with Nataanii’s gentle guidance.)
Lulu: —that he got from different ceremonies and begins brushing them over his face.
Nataanii: (Laughing a little goofily, gently.) Feels good. Gives me ch-chills. (Lulu laughs sweetly.)
Lulu: And he tells me me about a really bad day a few years back when he just felt lonely, like no one cared about him.
Nataanii: I was sitting right here in this spot. There was a bunch of eagle feathers sitting right here. I was like, “I got eagle feathers protecting me. These eagle feathers, protecting me, protecting …”
Lulu: A song started coming to him.
Nataanii: So then I just started writing, and it just came out.
(The chorus of Nataanii’s song begins to play, a hip-hop beat winding around and up and down the call-and-response of the lyrics: “I got these eagle feathers!” “Protectin’ me.” The exchange continues—“Yeah, I got these eagle feathers,” “Protecting me!”—as the song fades out.)
Lulu: He said that when he thinks about how these creatures behave in myths and the wild …
Nataanii: When I fan myself off—when I—when I bring these over my face, you know, it's like, I feel a connection to these birds. And this might sound funny, it might sound off, but I feel a connection to my ancestors. I do!
Like I don't have to be lost because I feel love.
(Nataanii’s song picks right back up at the chorus’ call-and-response before fading back down.)
Lulu: When I tell him the story of how caring those dads in the trio were observed to be, he’s not surprised.
Nataanii: Oh no, yeah. Science—science is catching up to Indigenous philosophy for sure. (A gentle chuckle.)
(One last line of the song before a whirling string line marks the end of the song.)
Lulu: Now, as for the end of our eagle story: When a trio loses one of its members, that’s it for the trio, right?
Ed: Oh no! No. (Laughs.)
Lulu: Because it turned out that the next fall, the two dads returned … With a new female!
(Ethereal music, like clouds floating through a sunset sky, plays up in gentle bursts.)
Ed: And we—we were just going, “How did you do that?” (Both hold a tender laugh together.)
Lulu: So if I went right now, like, could I—could I peek?
Ed: You sure could. Yup.
Lulu: I pull up the live feed of the nest.
Lulu: So I'm looking at it right now. So I see this … It's winter, so it's a tree without leaves and there are all these … (Fades under.)
Lulu: And some 4 years later, that new trio is still together. As Ed and I talked, we could see them up there, in the nest together.
Lulu: (Fading back up.) And I see the white head and the yellow beak of an eagle.
Ed: She—she’s just laying eggs.
Lulu: All told, the two dads have lived together in a trio for about a decade, fledged about 20 eaglets, and been a part of the story that—along with some human help—brought the number of bald eagles back from near-extinction and got them off the endangered species list.
Ed: (Laughing.) Yeah. I look at this as probably one of the greatest wildlife success stories that we've ever had in the United States.
(A deep breath of a synthesizer shimmers up, like light reflecting off a pool of water, reaching back up to the heavens.)
Lulu: And as for that trio being an outlier? Is that the only trio of bald eagles there is?
Crystal Slusher: It is not.
Lulu: That’s Crystal Slusher. She works for the American Eagle Foundation. And, in her spare time, she’s an amateur birder.
Lulu: Do you have a pair of binoculars around your neck?
Crystal: I carry a pair of binoculars in my car!
(Water sloshes against the side of a boat. Softly, underneath, you might hear a fishing pole clicking as it reels in, maybe even birds cawing out in the distance.)
Lulu: Well, one day, about four years ago, Crystal was out fishing with her husband.
Crystal: In Dandridge, Tennessee.
Lulu: On a lake.
Crystal: I knew about a nest there prior to going fishing and I—I’ve checked it out a couple of times and I never really saw anything abnormal. But the day that I was out there, I saw three eagles perched together.
(The fishing sounds give way to one long, suspended chord—a held breath of music.)
Lulu: And they seemed calm, almost familiar with each other. And when she got a better look through her binocs, it looked to her like …
Crystal: Two males and one female.
Lulu: Another trio!
(Plucky strings bounce up and down, full of playfulness and hope, over castanets and a shaken percussion line as it moves back and forth.)
Lulu: And while Crystal says …
Crystal: They’re not really famous. You know, they're certainly not a Valor One, Valor Two—
Lulu: —Level of celebrity? (Laughing lightly at the idea of bird celebrity levels.)
Lulu: She says they do have their own local fans who have photographed them and named the female “Bandit.” And she hopes one day they, too, can get a webcam!
Lulu: And so, those two trios—that’s it, though, right, that we know about?
Crystal: Oh, definitely not. There were some observed in Alaska in 1977, in Minnesota in 1983.
Ed: There is a trio in New York.
Crystal: And then California in 1992.
Ed: There’s one in Arkansas.
Lulu: Both Crystal and Ed, after first learning about their trios, started geeking out on research about bald eagle trios and found, buried in the footnotes of science books and history books, these occasional sightings of other bald eagle trios.
And they realized that maybe this quote-unquote ‘cooperative nesting,’ as the scientists call it, was not as uncommon as they thought.
Ed: I think we'd probably be amazed if we really knew all of the unique things that happened with wildlife, because we just don't know the secrets in their life.
(The music fades down and out.)
Lulu: Ed says this whole experience really flipped his understanding of bald eagles. Helped him to see that, in a certain way, he had been blinded by the eagle on the quarter—blinded by the story of the bird as a ferocious and independent being.
Lulu: Would you ever call what—what’s happening between these birds “love”?
Ed: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Lulu: Oh, you would?
Ed: Oh, absolutely.
Lulu: (Shocked.) You would?
Ed: Yes indeed.
Lulu: You don't shy away from that—[Stuttering a little in surprise.] that word?
Ed: Not whatsoever.
Lulu: Between animals?
Ed: No, no. It's family bonding and that happens … You know, love is family. I see nothing wrong with saying “loving animals.”
(Delicate music drifts down, cherry blossoms or maybe auburn leaves floating on a soft breeze.)
Lulu: Alright. Thanks so much, Ed.
(A new song begins. The tone is very … different.)
Lulu: Oh no. Songbud’s got a mohawk and an electric guitar.
(Alan’s next song plays, heavy electric guitar and a hard-rock attitude:
“I wanna hear the eagle!”
An eagle cries, a solitary cry.
“Now multiply that by three-gle!”
Another cry! This one comes three times.
“Yeah, I wanna hear the eagle!”
One more cry, more of a chirp.
“Now I wanna hear all three-gle!”
Several eagles chirp and chitter together.
“I know it’s not only me-gle!
I’m sure you agree-gle
Would be awesome to see-gle
All that up in a tree-gle,
Or in the sky flying free-gle.
So I’m down on my knee-gle
I’m begging them plea-gle.
I wanna hear the eagles
Not a hunting beagle
Not a manatee-gle!
Yeah, I wanna hear the eaglessssss!”
Back to the chorus:
“I wanna hear the eagle!”
A cry like the first!
“Now multiply that by three-gle.”
Three cries together!
“I wanna hear the eagle!”
An eagle chirp.
“And now I wanna hear all three-gle!”
One last collection of eagle cries as the song ends.)
Lulu: Alan Goffinski, everyone!
(New music here, bouncy and a little jazzy.)
Lulu: Terrestrials was created by me, Lulu Miller, with WNYC Studios. It is produced by the very talon-ted (Like talons? Talons?) Ana Gonzalez and Alan Goffinski (and me), with help from Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Sandbach, Natalia Ramirez, Miriam Barnard, Joe Plourde, Diane Kelley and Sarita Bhatt. Sound design and additional editorial guidance by—[Lulu tweets a few times here.]—Mira Burt-Wintonic.
Our advisors are: Theanne Griffith, Aliyah Elijah, Liza Steinberg-Demby, Tara Welty, and Dominique Shabazz.
Terrestrials is supported in part by Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation. Special thanks this episode to Abigail Miller, Laurel Braitman, Stan Bousson, Molly Webster, and Maria Poz Gutierrez.
Lulu: And that’s it! You should stop listening. Why are you still listening? Who listens to …
(Interrupting Lulu, a big horn flair plays, then …)
Lulu: Oh! What’s that?
(The badgers are back! Speaking in silly voices, they overlap one another: “Excuse me! I have a question.” “Me too!” “Me three.” “Me four!” One last whispered word signals the start of the segment: “The badgerssss!” Then, jazzy music plays.)
Lulu: Listeners with badgering questions for the expert!
Lulu: Are you ready?
Huxley: Hi! My name is Huxley and I’m seven years old. And my question is: Why don't bald eagles have butts?
Ed: Well, they—they do have butts. I've seen many bald eagle butts. (Laughs.)
Ed: I’m not proud of that, but I have seen many bald eagle butts.
Cyan: Hi! My name is Cyan, and I’m twelve. My question is: What is an average wingspan of an eagle?
Ed: Eight feet!
Lulu: Whew! That’s like a person and a half.
Woody: My name is Woody, and I am 6 years old. Can I have a pet bald eagle?
Ed: Only if it’s, uh, a stuffed animal! (Laughing at his own joke before Lulu joins.)
Jamie Lee Curtis: Hi, it’s Jamie Lee Curtis! What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on the webcam?
Ed: We got these little mice that run around.
Ed: And they just aggravate the heck out of the eagles. (Laughs.)
Lulu: Wait. [Ed punctuates Lulu’s shock with one last laugh.]There’s actual mice—are up there?
Ed: There's mice in the nest. Yes.
Lulu: But why don't the eagles eat them?
Ed: They're too fast!
Lulu: Why would a mouse live up there? Of all places, that feels so dangerous!
Ed: There's lots of food up there. It’s kinda like a hide-and-seek game, I think, for the mice.
Ed: I think they enjoy it.
Lulu: You—You’ve buried the lede, maybe the story here to tell is about these mice!
(Dreamlike music plays, sparkling and spiraling a syncopated synthesizer melody that lands in pillows around Lulu as she narrates the end of the episode.)
Lulu: Gonna leave it there, with the world's most brazen mice that choose to live inside a bald eagle nest and not tell you the super gross thing that, because eagles don't have teeth, they [Slurping sound.] slurp down the creatures they eat whole and then [A hacking sound.] spit out the bones, hair, and scales in a lovely pellet. And some people even theorize they swallow rocks to use as gross rock teeth inside their gizzards.
Not gonna tell you that, [Whispered.] ’cause I’m nice!
If you wanna badger our next expert, visit our website at terrestrialspodcast.org! We also have activity sheets there and drawing prompts and funny videos of the Songbud and we’d love if you stopped by! Thanks so much for listening.
Catch you in a couple of spins of this lumpy ol’ planet of ours. [Whooshing, Lulu spins the world around a few times before saying …] Bye!
(The music keeps playing for just a little bit longer before it fades to nothing.)