Our Eagle Friends

About five years ago, when we were still only visiting our Lake Superior place occasionally during the summer, we began to see a family of eagles in the vicinity on a fairly regular basis. We would often see one or two of them perched in a tree overlooking Lake Superior, presumably watching for a juicy morsel of some sort to come along. Here’s a picture of one of them flying away from its perch after I blundered into the area.

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It seemed clear that they had a nest somewhere nearby, but we couldn’t find it. Last year, after we moved here permanently, we continued to see the eagles throughout the fall, though we still had no luck finding their nest. Here are two of them perching on a tree in our front yard last September.

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We stopped seeing the eagles once winter actually arrived, but we then made an exciting discovery while out snowshoeing – the great nest was located! No birds were in residence; presumably they had migrated south for the winter.

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Our first eagle sighting of 2017 occurred on February 27. I was eating breakfast when I looked up to see a deer staring me in the face, and then I noticed an eagle in a tree in the background. The great birds were back!

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Since we now know where the nest was located, we would periodically trek into the woods to see how they were doing. Here’s a picture taken on March 24. One bird sat vigilantly in the nest while the other was presumably off hunting for food. I’m guessing that one or more eaglets had been hatched at the time of this photo, but I couldn’t tell for sure.

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Here are my most recent photos, taken on May 31. With the increased vegetation, it was really hard to even see the nest, but again, one bird was standing guard. Based on the noise level coming from the nest, I’m quite sure there was at least one eaglet in there, though I wasn’t able to see it.

We’ve seen the birds flying and perching along the shore several times this spring, and we often see one flying past our house and into the back woods, heading home for the evening after a day of hunting. Pat even saw one scoop something out of the water and fly along the shore as we were driving back from town one day. Hopefully I’ll get some more eagle pictures during the summer and fall, and maybe we’ll see the juveniles when they get big enough to leave the nest.

I am so thankful for the wise people who decided that these magnificent birds were worth saving. Once nearing extinction, in the 1960’s, they have flourished since the government enacted much-needed protections. On August 9, 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. I can only hope that the current crop of right-wing politicians who believe that nothing matters except jobs – even those that have become irrelevant in today’s economy – will be deposed before they cause irreparable harm to our environment and the many remaining endangered species. We are all diminished when we allow nature’s beautiful creatures to perish due to the constant pursuit of the almighty dollar and the cynical quest for votes.