Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nature Notes: Bald Eagles

Visit Michelle at the home of Nature Notes.

Saturday morning, I went for a walk at Red Rock Dam over near Pella and I let some eagles look at me. They were beautiful soaring overhead and ignoring me. At the end of the morning, we were all walking along (4 adults, a 3-year-old and a dog) when we spotted two eagles in a tree along the path. I went ahead alone and they stayed put. They were just up in the tree above my head.

Looking at me.

Like I was dinner.

They're strong, you know. Don't laugh.

I had just read a headline about starving eagles dropping from the sky in Canada. That stuff makes me sad. They should come to Iowa.

Their nests are huge. This is a zoomed shot, but it is on the other side of the river. You can spot their nests from quite a distance.

For information that is actually interesting and educational, check out the National Geographic website here.

It says, in part: The bald eagle, with its snowy-feathered (not bald) head and white tail, is the proud national bird symbol of the United States—yet the bird was nearly wiped out there. For many decades, bald eagles were hunted for sport and for the "protection" of fishing grounds. Pesticides like DDT also wreaked havoc on eagles and other birds. These chemicals collect in fish, which make up most of the eagle's diet. They weaken the bird's eggshells and severely limited their ability to reproduce. Since DDT use was heavily restricted in 1972, eagle numbers have rebounded significantly and have been aided by reintroduction programs. The result is a wildlife success story—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has upgraded the birds from endangered to threatened.


Rose said...

Aren't they thrilling to see??? I always feel a tingle when I see one...even if it is too far to photograph.

When I was young, I would never have dreamed of seeing an eagle in the wild. Now, it is not uncommon at all. We saw one Sunday, but it was in flight and too far for my poor lens.

Jedediah said...

Amazing, I really want to see a Bald Eagle in the wild. Birds of prey always have that disdainful look when they look down their beak at you.

Rambling Woods said...

What a honor Caren..I would love to see one. I didn't know of their problems in Canada. I think a lot of wildlife died this winter...You got some great photos.. thanks for all the well wishes..this has been a awful month, I hope to get my energy back soon...hugs... Michelle

Carver said...

These are fantastic shots of the beautiful eagles. What a treat to see them.

Arija said...

I find it awe inspiring to see hush huge raptors. I am so glad they are recovering from the ravages of men. People deplete fish stocks so much more than eagles. After all, the eagles only fish to eat, people fish to sell and make money. If people respected fish like eagles do, there would be no problem with fish numbers.

Great captures.

Leora said...

I'm glad they are happy in your area. I've only seen them behind bars.

KaHolly said...

And that eagle WAS looking at you!! Wow, it's almost scary. I didn't hear about the Canada eagles and learning of their plight makes me sad. A few years ago the Barred Owls had a similar problem in Maine. But the ice is leaving the harbors now, so hopefully they are finding enough food. Great post. ~karen

MyMaracas said...

Great shots! It is disconcerting when predators look at you that way, isn't it? Suddenly you realize that this creature would literally have you for lunch if it could.

Marvin said...

Nice shots of the eagles. We seldom see them up here on our ridge, and if we do they're flying at a height that puts them well out of camera range.

Carver said...

Wow, these are fantastic shots of the bald eagle. They are such majestic looking birds.