I still remember, quite vividly, a time in the backyard with my family at our previous home when suddenly we all heard a very loud and unfamiliar sound overhead getting closer and closer. We looked up to see an adult bald eagle, seemingly skimming the tops our our heads! When an eagle soars that closely above your head, it’s a moment in time you never forget!
As early as I can remember, seeing a bald eagle has always been a special treat. At one time in our country they were very much endangered, but regulations to protect the waning population…banning the pesticide DDT and placing them on the endangered species list, has brought them back from the brink, and they are now a very regular, though still quite spectacular, sight. In fact, according to reports, the bald eagle population has quadrupled since 2009 and they were removed from the endangered species list in 2007…WIN!!
Since moving to our present home, which is located along a creek, the eagles have been a very special sight, each spring especially, as they glide gracefully up and down the peaceful waters behind our house, busy with nest-building activities and searching out their daily meals. It is very few kayak rides I take that I don’t see one or two gliding high above me, competing with the herons and osprey for the catch of the day.
A treasured memory was the special kayak ride with my dog Princess as together we went in search of a suspected nest on a nearby peninsula. Yes, they have always been a delight to behold, until… this spring.
This spring instead of one or two, it is six and sometimes more in a single day. They camp out in our backyard trees competing, quite feistily I might add, with each other and other bird species for their daily catch.
They put on quite the show and were the topic of neighborly conversations, with one neighbor referring to them as simply “vultures with white heads.” Well, that’s certainly a new take on this majestic bird, however true it may be. Indeed, one morning it was truly like a horror show as I counted up to 17 vultures and eagles emerging simultaneously from their hidden places among the bank-side trees, heading down the creek for what must have been a rather large meal. Eww.
Another morning I watched with baited breath as our old friend “Tail-less” jumped from tree to tree, with each leap getting dangerously closer and closer to the spot where an eagle was perched, looking very intimidating.
I couldn’t sit still and watch, and neither could my son as he leapt from his seat and raced down the yard yelling things at the eagle that neighbors should not have to hear. Despite his tirade, I had to thank him for saving our dear Tail-less as the eagle flew off for quieter hunting grounds.
The next morning I had to chuckle as a heron couple both took a break from their fishing and with up-turned heads watched with rather indignant expressions the eagles who had dared to enter their territory. Two days later I watched as three eagles flew by, seemingly being chased by a Blue Heron…that was indeed a first!
Yes, I am glad the eagle population had escaped the endangered list…but the old saying, familiarity breeds contempt, is starting to apply to the eagles who share this creek with me. I am hoping the wood ducks, which I look so forward to seeing each spring do not leave us for quieter nesting spots as the owl pair has done, which neighbors attribute to the eagles’ presence. Then again, it may be better for them if they do, though I will be beyond sad to not have them grace our area of the creek anymore. Time will tell. Yes, there are definitly two sides to this eagle comeback success story. Nevertheless, they are still spectacular to behold, and I hope I never lose the awe they inspire in me.
Until next time,
I hope your are enjoying the natural beauty in your little corner of the world!