I'm betting that most of you are ready for a change of seasons. Make that more than ready! We experienced bitter cold temperatures that went on for days on end. Schools closed and kids stayed home a lot this winter. It was so cold that many times it wasn't safe to play outside.
I looked forward to my Fridays off from my full-time job to go with my friend Diane out to our "Eagle Shack". Going to our shack is something that we both look forward to in the winter.
Our "Eagle Shack" is located on a piece of private property that I had stumbled upon a couple of years back. A neighbor who is a trapper, has been feeding the Bald Eagles for several years now. I approached him and asked if my friend and I would be able to put up a blind on the property to take pictures of the eagles. We met with the owners and were given exclusive rights to be on the property and to put up a blind. What a privilege!
This was our 3rd winter photographing "Our Eagles". They are addicting. We brave tromping through the snow in all kinds of wicked winter weather. I am usually the one pulling our gear in a sled to our shed, while Diane is usually dragging a road kill deer or hauling a bucket of fat left outside by our trapper friend for the eagles. We have a small propane heater to help keep us from freezing to death as we sit and wait for the eagles to arrive. Sometimes they don't. We sit and sit for hours on end waiting.....we whisper and we watch....and we hope.
Some days we go home with nothing in our camera but "test shots" of perhaps a Raven or a Seagull. But Oh! What a reward we are given on other days when our beloved eagles do show up and come to fill their bellies on the feast we offer them. Sometimes they come in at the first light of day, other times they have been in search of a feast by running the river looking for fish. This winter has been tough, for most of the lakes are entirely frozen over and some of the slower moving rivers as well. They know where we are, and they know we have food to sustain them.
This winter we counted 21 Bald Eagles that had arrived back in the tree line of our field. We were in awe! The usual number that we are more likely to see at one time is 3. We have been blessed. We know it.
I am honored to share with you a little bit of our experience and our view from our "Eagle Shack.
Stalking his Prey.This is an adult Bald Eagle, he is at least 5 years old. It takes a Bald Eagle 5 years to be fully mature. That is when the head and tail feathers are fully white.
3's a crowd!Ravens and Eagles both are meat eaters. The Raven has a healthy respect for the Eagle and often can be seen with them.
With the changing of the seasons I once again have to say good-bye to "Our Eagles". The lakes are opening up, and the rivers are flowing. The Eagles once again spend most of their day soaring over the water in search of a catch. Courting is beginning to take place and the nests will soon be home to new eaglets.
I am in awe of "Our Eagles" and feel God has given us a gift to be able to witness the interaction of these majestic Raptors. Perhaps I will be fortunate to see one of "Our Eagles" soaring over the river while I am enjoying it's cool waters this summer. I hope so. Until then. Be well our beloved eagles!
I hope I have given you a little bit of a view into these fantastic Birds of Prey. It is no wonder they are our National Bird.
Till next time,