Friday, April 22, 2011

Regal Visitor: Bald Eagle

       This morning for a few minutes I had a regal visitor just above my house. A juvenile bald eagle was making a few turns just above my house at a fairly low altitude. The eagle was about 200ft up and slowly made about 6 turns. It's somewhat surprising to see a bald eagle in an urban area but not impossible. I live in a small subdivision which is surrounded by other subdivisions. I do see bald eagles a few times a year but they are usually much higher and r probably on the spring or fall migration.

      Now some people will say, "Where's the picture?"  With my little camera you would have seen a small black bird in a big blue sky.

      So what was this bird doing in my neighborhood? It could have been using a thermal current to gain altitude. Heat from pavement may have caused a small thermal.  Maybe it had spotted a cat or small dog that looked like possible prey. Bald eagles also consume a fair amount of carrion which probably wasn't in my neighborhood. It's not likely that the bald eagle was migrating but there is a large ravine about 500 meters west of my house and the river valley is about three km north of my house.

      No matter what this bird was doing, it was a treat to see it right above my house.

      Bald eagles are large and impressive fliers. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States. Many other groups use the eagle as a symbol. Then there's one of my favorite groups the Eagles. The bald eagle is also featured in poetry and songs. So it's a very influential  bird.