View Full Version : Bald Eagle sighting

Mike Cruz
03-19-2010, 10:42 AM
While in some parts of the country, many of you might see them on a daily basis, around here in MD, they are present, but sightings (at least at my house) are fairly rare.

Over the past 6 years, I have seen one soaring way overhead twice.

Yesterday was a treat.

While coming home from a lunch date with my lovely wife, about 3 miles away from home, a circling bird caught my eye, and I immediatly knew it wasn't a vulure or buzzard. We pulled over and watched it as it swooped down and got a ground hog (or something). It took off with its big beautiful white tail beaming...fanned out.

THEN, while walking my dog in the woods behind my house, I scared up a big something in a tree about 100 feet from me. Yup, it was the same Bald Eagle with that dead whatever grasped in his talons. He flew up a couple hundred yards ahead of me, perched in another tree and resumed his lunch.

As I slowly meandered my way along the old railway path, I got within about 150 feet of him again. I stood in awe...watching him rip and swallow, rip and swallow.

One of my dogs broke her "stay" and jogged ahead of me scaring up the Eagle. It flew out of the woods and into the adjacent field, circling back towards my house. I called my wife and told her what just transpired. And told her that it reperched somewhere very near the house.

She went outside to get a gander, and sure enough, there he was, right in an big oak that sits not 40 feet from our house!

What a rare and beautiful day...

Unfortunately, I didn't have my nice camera with me, just my cell phone. I got a bunch of pics, but without optical zoom, they are very fuzzy when you zoom in on the image on the computer. So, no pics...

Chuck Saunders
03-19-2010, 10:45 AM
No Pics but a heart warming sight just the same.

Lee Schierer
03-19-2010, 11:25 AM
We recently spent part of a day at Kinzua Reservoir in NW PA. The lake was frozen over and the water below the dam tends to congregate eagles over the winter we saw eight eagles at one time. Most were too far off for normal camera shots, but they were still interesting to watch through Binoculars and telescopes. Some of the regulars we talked with said they had seen more than a dozen at once on some days.



Paul Wilson
03-19-2010, 11:45 AM
They are common in Oregon, and always spectacular to observe. My wife took this pic through the sunroof of our car. We sat and watched him devour his meal for about 20 minutes.

Brian Kent
03-19-2010, 12:45 PM
Welcome Paul.

I've only seen two in a lifetime. Once while visiting Alaska and once at Big Bear Lake in California. Despite fishing there often, where they have a bald eagle nesting area, I have had the privilege just once. But that motion picture is in my memory ever since.

Aren't you glad they didn't select the wild turkey as the national bird?

Matt Ranum
03-19-2010, 12:47 PM
They are a magnificent creature to watch. Not very common in my immediate local area but on occasion in the past year or two I have seen them. I hope their numbers increase around here. Last summer while driving down a county highway there was what I thought was a kid walking down the road, until I got closer and it flew up right at my truck. These birds are huge when you get close to them.

Better teach the small dogs and the cats in the area some self defense moves. ;)

Bruce Page
03-19-2010, 2:09 PM
Alaska's got a few of the magnificent creatures.

This is from a couple of years ago.

Tom Godley
03-19-2010, 3:29 PM
Mike: Maryland has a lot of Bald Eagles -- especially around the Chesapeake Bay-- they nest in the Loblolly pines.

I have a place not far from Blackwater NWR in Cambridge MD -- Blackwater has one of the largest concentrations of breading pairs west of the Mississippi.

We had a few spectacular days around the new year holiday this year at Blackwater.. Lots of birds .................. no people! :)

Kent A Bathurst
03-19-2010, 3:46 PM
........Maryland has a lot of Bald Eagles -- especially around the Chesapeake Bay........

Bingo, Tom. Good friend has a house on the VA side of the lower Potomac - 20 min by boat from the Bay. Ospreys nesting all around, and eagles cruising through on a constant basis - never seen a nest, but now I know where to look. If I could fish as good as those critters, I'd pack it in in a heartbeat. Wonderful to watch. Heading up there in a few weeks - you've got me thinking about it again - thanks.

Ken Fitzgerald
03-19-2010, 4:21 PM
Congrats! They are, indeed, a beautiful sight.

They are common in Idaho especially in the winter. They migrate to our area from points farther North...like Canada, etc. In one 40 mile stretch of US-12 I have seen as many as 8 while driving. I'm sure there were more but you don't dare take your eyes off the highway in the 40 mile stretch or you could end up swimming in the Clearwater River.

While jet boating with a Boy Scout troop into Hell's Canyon on the Snake River...we had a bald eagle fly along side the boat for nearly 1/2 mile...

They are, indeed, beautiful.

I have had the opportunity to watch bald eagles and osprey fish on lakes in OR and ID.

Joe Pelonio
03-19-2010, 5:16 PM
I see 2-3 of them nearly every day along the lake on the drive home from work, but I never get tired of them, truly majestic birds.

We did once have a great blue heron in our yard, unfortunately he was there to snack on our pond goldfich.

Charlie Reals
03-19-2010, 9:07 PM
We have several nesting pairs in the area, we see them all the time when we are on the lake. It is fantastic to watch them on the thermals in the river canyon. Osprey also are very abundant.

Jim Becker
03-19-2010, 9:58 PM
What a wonderful surprise...they are magnificent birds.

I've occasionally seen one or two in this area, especially closer to the Delaware River...which is about 6 miles away, give or take. Their population is really recovering from where it unfortunately got to a number of years ago, so it's likely that many more folks will get to see these beautiful creatures in the wild and more often, too.

Leigh Betsch
03-19-2010, 10:46 PM
They are moving through our area in fairly large numbers right now, following the the snow goose migration. I saw about a dozen this week. I live about 100 miles too far east now but where I grew up the geese would stretch from horizon to horizon during the spring migration.

Mike Cruz
03-20-2010, 2:40 PM
Then I would have been telling you the story about the 9 little peepers I almost ran over with my mower! Their mom was screaming bloody murder at me. That is what got my attention and got me to stop. As I found each one, I picked it up and placed it gently in the woods where their mother was squaking. Cutest little boogers I've ever seen.

Mike Cruz
03-20-2010, 2:44 PM
That must have been a nice time... no people...

Yeah, I know they are around. They nest pretty much all up and down the Potomac River. I am about 5 or 6 miles as the crow flies (or in this case, the eagle) from the Potomac. So, they don't often venture overhead. It was just really cool to have one perch right next to me at my own property. THEN to perch in an old oak RIGHT next to our house. I feel like the house got blessed somehow...

Mike Cruz
03-20-2010, 2:49 PM
Funny what we take for granted. We have Great Blue Herrons like robbins around here. Okay, not that many, but in the summer months it is not uncommon to see 5 or more a day. They fish in our creeks. So when I walk the dogs, I scare them up from time to time. Man those things are big and will scare you something awful if you are daydreaming... We have one that flies by every evening... we call him 5 o'clock charlie.

Charlie Reals
03-20-2010, 2:55 PM
I have had them take Kokanee salmon at the back of the boat. The Eagles and Osprey both have a ball during Koke season. Some have pics of the battle.;)

Rod Torgeson
03-21-2010, 1:00 PM
Here are a couple of pictures I took about a year ago by the Klickitat river. I have counted as many as 11 at one time. So needless to say I take my camera with me when I go to town.

Rod<---in Appleton, WA

Clarence Miller
03-21-2010, 1:57 PM
Up until about 14 years ago I never had seen a bald eagle in real life. They are becoming more common every year. They have to compete with a large population of red tail hawks in my area at least but there is a huge population of pheasants, cotton tail rabbits and the like to support them. Things have changes a lot in the past decade. We now have weekly cougar sightings as well. I remember as a boy seeing really large cat tracks along the river and suspecting something bigger than a bobcat was passing through but it seems that the population has grown enough for sightings. I have even heard rumors of timber wolf sightings. It makes sense. When tillable farmland was being put into the federal set aside program a dramatic amount of land became available for the re-habitation of certain species.
I love nature and love to camp. However, I am grateful for the fact that there are no prairie grizzlies roaming the area any more as they were as reported in the journals of Lewis and Clark. I would like to see a change in some of IA's hunting statutes. Particularly the ban on carrying a pistol while bow hunting. I realize that a cougar is not likely to attack a person but at dusk when I am field dressing my deer and have the scent of blood on me will the big cat try to determine the difference? also if I climb into my tree stand and find one of them on an adjoining branch I really don't want to fend off a frightened wild cat with a pointy stick from my quiver.
Chances are if one were to even have a .22 with bird shot (mini shot gun shells to shoot pigeons in a barn w/o putting holes in the roof) would be enough to deter it w/o causing mortal damage.
But back to the eagles, I was fortunate enough to be about 30 yards away from one diving down to about 12 foot off the ground and pick out a bob white quail. At first I was confused by the big black thing falling from the sky but when it opened it's wings to make the catch and carry it off, what a site.
Well that's way more than I intended to write but oh well.

Mike Cruz
03-21-2010, 4:50 PM
Great shots, Rod. Thanks for sharing. The one on the left is close enough to what I saw, sans the kill in talons, that I might tell everyone that that is my photo! Hehe, just kidding. Again, thanks for posting.

Chris Kennedy
03-21-2010, 5:25 PM
I have seen them three times in my life. Once, at an airport they were transporting some captive ones. Also, our local living museum has one (previously injured), and you can see it up close. I have seen one in the wild as well. There is a car ferry near here, and in the late afternoon in the summer months, there is a bald eagle that regularly perches on a channel marker as the ferry goes by. It was impressive.


George Sanders
03-21-2010, 6:22 PM
There is an article in the paper today about the remarkable recovery bald eagles have made. I used to live on the Mississippi river in Buffaloe Iowa. I would sit at the picture window in my apartment and watch them fish in the power plant warm water discharge across the river.
Last fall I watched them as they rode the thermals on their migration. It isn't just eagles that have made a comeback. We have an abundance of red tailed hawks, all kinds of owls, falcons and kestrels in my area now.
I think by federal law, all birds of prey are protected. In Illinois herons are protected. My brother could only watch as one cleaned out his coi pond.

Michael Weber
03-24-2010, 9:46 PM
The Little Rock zoo has two bald eagles that have permanent wing damage that occurred in the wild. Thus, they cannot fly out of the very nice habitat the zoo has for them. Saw then this week end. Magnificent looking but its very sad to watch them hop around.:(

Barry Nelson
03-25-2010, 2:26 AM
We have the Wedge Tailed Eagle here in Aussie, its as big as the Bald Eagle ,my wife and I were driving across Western Australia,and one flew down from a tree and across the highway,what a magnificent creature, looked like a jet strike fighter in full flight,I never forgot that image,wings fully spread, talons hanging down,etc .Nature is a marvellous thing.:D

john brady
03-26-2010, 5:04 PM
Hi Mike,

I live in South Central PA in a gated community on a lake. We're priviledged to have a nesting pair as residence.

I've also seen them frequently while fishing on the susquehanna river. Lower (around the "flats") and more north in an area below one of the dams (I'm told their's a no fishing zone around one of the island where they nest).


Mike Cruz
03-26-2010, 7:16 PM
I guess no one told the eagles about the no fishing zone, huh? ;)

Mike Cruz
03-26-2010, 10:07 PM
Thanks, everyone for chiming in. It is nice to see that these beauties are commonplace in many areas accross the U.S.. Thanks for sharing your stories and sightings, and pics.

It seems as though the eagle I spotted the other week may be taking up residence nearby... I saw him/her again yesterday, soaring overhead, along the mountainside. I live in a valley between two ridges, one of which is South Mountain, where the Appalachian trail stretches. I am nested up against the one ridge with South Mountain (actually a long stretch of a ridge) as the view out my front door in the distance... and this creature looks like he chose our ridge...:p

John A langley
03-31-2010, 10:20 PM
Guys this is awesome - hope there is some daylight left in CA so you can see it.


Charlie Reals
03-31-2010, 10:30 PM
Thank you for that John, awesome. It is 7:28 here and plenty of daylight.