We are fortunate to live in a place and time where we can see bald eagles. Everyday!
Spring is the time we usually have one or two landing in the overgrown tree in the dry creek bed beside our house. They come before leaf out, while the branches are still bare, finding their perch for a late lunch or early dinner. Again, this happened yesterday. I just happened to look up from my desk and there were two large, mature bald eagles sitting high in the tree. Of course, I ran for my camera.
When I was a little girl, living in Western New York, seeing an eagle was rare. They were an endangered species back then – in the 1960s and 1970s – with their decline largely blamed on the indiscriminate use of DDT. With the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, the path to conserving these symbolic and majestic birds was begun. Added awareness brought by Rachel Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring, and the continued demise of eagles heightened conservation efforts in the continental United States.
Bald eagles have made a comeback! Their conservation story is one of success! During the winter months, scores of them can be seen near any open water on the Mississippi River, fishing for food, soaring against the periwinkle blue sky, or perched in the bare trees. This is especially true on the river near Wabasha Minnesota, home of the National Eagle Center. We’ve been able to visit there three times over the twenty-two years of our residence in Wisconsin. It’s a fun and informative center where you can see some disabled Bald Eagles up close as well as those in the wild that call this part of the Great Muddy home.
One source I used stated that in 1963 there were only 417 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the contiguous United States. Once DDT was banned nine years later, this conservation success story started to gain traction. By last year, 2021, the Department of the Interior (DOI) reported more than 71,400 nesting pairs of bald eagles! Incredible!
I never tire of seeing these large, beautiful birds. Where was the last bald eagle you saw?
Resources for more about Bald Eagles: