Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the magnificent bald eagle...

We have had eagles coming to our farm every winter for many years now. I actually don't recall seeing eagles in our area when I was a kid...but maybe I just wasn't paying attention!
One day there were nine near the ditch behind our house...but they aren't all that easy to photograph. When they see me coming with the camera, they make a hasty retreat. On Sunday morning I noticed there were five in a tree...not too far from our house. I just kept snapping pictures as I walked towards them & actually managed to get a few. They apparently do not care to have people within 200 I was definitely in their space.
I had to do a little homework on eagles, just to be sure I had my facts straight. (Although I know my good blog readers would set me straight if I pass along misinformation!) Every fall one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles returns to the Fraser Valley to spend the winter. They come to feast on the remains of spawning salmon along the Fraser and Harrison Rivers...and when that food supply diminishes, they move further afield (that's where we come in!).

Sometime in December they take up residence here...usually in the trees behind the barns.
Their main food sources are fish and carrion, but they will also catch and eat small mammals, waterfowl and seabirds. My granddaughters are a little suspicious of the seems the kitten supply on the farm is diminished whenever the eagles are around!
But, unlike the trumpeter swans, ducks and starlings which inflict a lot of damage on the farm, the eagle is a welcome friend. I just love watching them swoop and soar...they really are a magnificent bird.

Some of them do not have the distinctive white head. I was hoping that it wasn't the homely female with the dowdy colouring (isn't that how it works in the bird kingdom?). What I discovered is that it takes five years until they develop the adult colouring...the one in this picture is a youngster! Eagles live to be about forty years old in the wild....and weigh between nine and twelve pounds (the female is bigger than the male). They have a wingspan of about 7 feet and are the largest raptor in British Columbia.

Since I've been 'under the weather' for the past few days (the car has been sitting in the garage un-moved since Sunday!), I've had a lot of time to look out the window. The only problem is that I don't have eagle eyes (their vision is about 6 times better than that of a human) I have my handy Bushnell binoculars lying nearby. The eagles have been putting on a show every day...they are out there as we speak!

So that is your 'Audubon' lesson for today! Some things are just meant to share. The sun is shining & it's a new day...lets' see what it brings.


  1. Great pics Judy...I love majestic as they soar through the air!
    Get well soon..

  2. Such gorgeous photos - your persistence paid off! I especially like the last one showing the entire tree with eagles perched in it.

    And thank you for all the good information about them. I learned something.

  3. That was very interesting. Good to know that eagles are not harmful to the farm...oops...just to poor sweet, little kittens. "My" vultures look a lot like the eagles from a great distance. They soar. They swoop. They sit in trees and look melancholy. That's where the resemblance ends. Thank goodness they're only interested in already deceased kitties. ;)

    Hope that you were feeling better today than yesterday. I'm hoping I'll feel much better tomorrow. I'm going to bed with a Nyquil tonic.

  4. Well, I hope this finds you feeling so much better!
    Thank you fo such an informative post! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Eagles fascinate me and I loved the pictures! Such a regal bird! You are so fortunate to live there and be blessed with such beauty!


  5. What a majestic sight - you are so fortunate!

  6. Hey, I love your pictures of the bald headed eagles. One day they came from your house to mine and were sitting right on our lake view property. I edged to take some pictures, but as you said, they don't want to be disturbed.

    They are beautiful.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson