07 October 2005

Where Eagles Fly

Over at


Mike left a comment about flying with me over the Illinois River valley,
seeing the remarkable recovery that has been made by our Bald Eagle population.

In January and February,
breeding pairs can be spotted every 50 feet or so in trees alongside the river where there is open water.

In trees with no leaves, a three foot tall bird perched on a limb sticks out like a sore thumb!

Before my Dad passed away, my folks lived on lakefront property in Southern Indiana. High in a tree in the hills above their home, my Dad noticed a breeding pair of Eagles in a big nest, and called the Department of Natural Resources folks to insure they were aware of the birds.
The very next day, and for several days thereafter, a helicopter circled the nest.

When the pair of chicks hatched, the DNR folks came out for a closer look.
Dad accompanied them on the hike up the hill, and took pictures as they scaled the tree and lowered the eaglets to the ground.

I was surprised to learn that Eagle parents put up NO FIGHT AT ALL against this raid on their nest........
they flew off a short distance and watched quietly as the Conservationists weighed, measured, and took blood samples from their offspring!

Also surprising was how docile the hatchlings were while being stuck, poked, and prodded!
My previous perception was that our National symbol would have been pretty aggressive in protecting itself, and more so its' young!

Over the next several years, Dad and Mom took great pleasure in watching this pair of Eagles raise several families in that same nest.

I'm thrilled to watch the birds soaring over the river in January in large numbers...........
acrobatically jousting with one another.......
six foot wingspan and oh-so-obvious white head and tail on the mature birds!

It's also gratifying that some Government programs work.
The protection of our "endangered" Bald Eagle certainly has!

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