Jim Dubois’ favourite bald eagle

Community and eagles lose a treasured friend

High atop a towering spruce, from their enormous nest now decades old, Campbell River’s famous Bald Eagle pair must know something is amiss.

High atop a towering spruce, from their enormous nest now decades old, Campbell River’s famous Bald Eagle pair must know something is amiss.

Beethoven, the aging male, and Shifty, his life-long mate, no longer look down on the kindly, devoted photographer and faithful visitor. With the May 18 passing of Jim Dubois, the community and the eagles lost a treasured friend. For years, Jim chronicled the lives of Beethoven through the seasons and mused about the bird’s frequent inelegance. With tousled brown feather coat, mangy white ‘wig’ and stern look, Beethoven seemed an appropriate name to bestow on the old eagle that piqued Jim’s interest.

Through his photos and narrative, hundreds observed as the eagle pair bonded beak-to-beak, repaired their nest in late fall, and mated in February. We rejoiced when Jim reported the start of egg-brooding, and oh, the jubilation when the eaglets fledged, healthy and strong! Back in 2006, I first met Jim when he was struggling with his old lungs. Tethered to an oxygen tank, he spent most clear days down by the shore, camera on a tripod, all rigged up to the car window. Three years ago, Jim bid us all “So lung for a bit,” as he underwent a successful single lung transplant.

Then it was back to photography, and, with renewed wind in his sails, he embarked on three full years of cycling, canoeing, hiking and always, photography. In Dec. 2007, I wrote a column entitled “Waxing eloquent about eagle inelegance” to introduce Beethoven’s antics and Jim’s photo website to the world (www.theineleganteagle.com). Jim’s photographic passion, kindness and sense of humour enriched countless lives, including hundreds of Flickr photo-fans and online friends who circled the globe.

Gone…the joy and comfort of a friend…but not forgotten. Rest in peace, Jim. Soar with the eagles and enjoy that birds-eye view from above.


E-mail Christine at: wildernesswest@shaw.ca.

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