“I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an Eagle fly….” ~ John Denver
This line is my favorite one from Rocky Mountain High. Every time I hear it on my iPod I want to see a Bald Eagle again. And yesterday, thanks to my friend Kevin, I finally got to see one practically in my own backyard. I had just spent two hours on the Inwood Trails at Stony Creek Metropark and was heading home when a message popped up on my phone. (I guess I didn’t hear it ring because I had John Denver cranked up too loud…) It was Kevin telling me he’d just spotted two Bald Eagles at Inwood! He gave me the exact location and I turned the car around and headed back to find the adult (Kevin said the juvenile had flown away while he was watching them). It was 20 minutes later by the time I drove back to the park and fast-walked the half mile to the right spot, but the adult was still there. Victory! I hesitate to post this picture because the eagle is partially hidden by branches, but he was there and I saw him, and this is my proof!
The word “majestic” is so often used to describe Bald Eagles that I feel the need to find another word. Dignified? Magnificent? Breath-taking? Stunning? All of those are appropriate, even when the bird is just sitting in a tree like this. And as John Denver knew, if you ever see a Bald Eagle in flight or diving for prey, you’ll be using words like awe-inspiring, mind-blowing, or awesome. Or maybe you’ll just be left speechless. But you’ll never forget it, I guarantee that.
My first Bald Eagle sightings were in Alaska in 2003 and 2007. I saw a couple more in Yellowstone in 2010. About a year ago I saw one fly over the freeway west of Lansing. And last summer as we walked on the shores of Lake Superior, a Bald Eagle flew low over our heads, maybe 30 feet above us. Now that’s a fantastic memory. But now that I’ve seen one here at home, I feel they’re more a part of my real world, not just my vacation world. Does that make sense?
Even though I still rely on others to find out where the birds are sometimes, I’m having more success finding birds on my own lately too. Here’s an adorable little Blue-gray Gnatcatcher I spotted yesterday:
And this Red-tailed Hawk too:
Next weekend is the start of the Biggest Week in American Birding in the northwest part of Ohio. Here’s what I wrote about this event last year, our first year to attend. As a relative newbie to birding who’d never seen a warbler before, I was stunned at the variety of colorful birds that stop on the south shore of Lake Erie during the spring migration. I added 37 species to my life list on that single weekend and became seriously hooked on birding. I’ve been eagerly watching the Tweets, Facebook postings and emails from people already watching the early arrivals at Magee Marsh, and I’m so excited I can hardly wait to get down there. This year I should be able to ID many of the birds without help from others, but it’s nice to know that there will be so many friendly birders around just in case. I hope to have some warbler pics to share with you in my next post — stay tuned!