Yesterday on my morning coffee run to my happy place I saw an eagle. In the very same tree the birds above were on back in 2008. Then on the way back I saw another trying to grab some ducks in the river behind the store. Very cool. But he\she was denied and flew away. Some history:
Ive always been interested in birds. Even considering studying them at one point of my life. Im pretty good at I.D.ing birds in the field. I still enjoy seeing a bird for the first time.
I remember the first time I saw a Bald Eagle in the wild like it was yesterday. It was 1986. I was 27 years old. I was riding in a boat with my father in law around a lake that they vacationed at up in Conover,WI. We came around a bend and I could not believe what I saw. The large bird sitting in a tree along the shore. These guys were still far and few between back then having taking a pounding in the 60’s and 70’s with DDT making their egg shells too thin. But its 1986 and there he\she was. Its been 20 years since I was on that lake but I bet I could find that tree again. Its burned into my brain.
Fast forward to 2008. Thruout the years Ive seen many eagles in northern Wisco every year as we head up there on vacation. Over the years they were more and more.
And then that pic above happened. I was just heading down for my happy place (local State park) for my coffee (Ive been doing that most mornings for a long time) and there they were. Sitting on a tree right next to the main parking lot. And once again I could not believe what I was seeing. Eagles in my happy place. In my hometown. Just a few miles from my house.
I took about a hundred pics. There was some guy parked in the lot sitting in his car eating his lunch. He had no idea. Im glad I had my camera. I think no one would have believed me. In fact, I submitted the pic above to the local paper and they printed it with a short story on when and where.
Again, that was 2008. Fast forward to today. I know of at least 5 nesting pairs in the area (20 square miles). I see the birds only once in a while in summer as they go inland to fish. But in the winter the inland lakes are froze so they spend a lot of time along Lake Michigan and thats when I see them several times a week. And things are going well as I see several immature eagles now and then. Offspring from the nests. They dont get their white head\tails for several years.
Mostly when we are riding south of town on the beach do we see them. I must have 200 eagle pics now. All local and in the 5 or so years since I first saw them have become pretty popular around town. The DNR knows where the 5 nests are but do not publish their locations. Mostly they want to leave them alone but also most of them are on private land and you cant get to them anyway. I personally only know where two are.
It’s awesome how these birds came back so strong.
To this day I still stop what Im doing if I can, to watch an eagle fly until I cant see it anymore. Still seems surreal to watch them fly past the store. Just another awesome aspect of moving the store down by the river. I could live here.
Well, I kinda do.