KNOCK KNOCK. “Sir would you mind if I take a picture of a bird in your tree?,” I asked. “Sure,” the homeowner replied. “What is it? A cardinal? A blue jay? A woodpecker?” “No, it is a bald eagle!,” I told him. “WHAT! Are you joking?!”
On a cold, wintery day Walter and I headed down to the Leslie Street Spit to look for owls. At the intersection of Main Street and Kingston Road, I spotted a huge shadow in a tree out of the corner of my eye. I quickly realized that this was something special; but what was it?
We immediately stopped, parked the car and climbed out to look in the tree. Right there was a juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalu) deftly preening itself.
We happily spent over an hour looking up at the bald eagle. Neighbours and other friends made their way towards our post to see what had captivated our attention.
The eagle was quite content to perch there and to stretch its wings, when suddenly we heard a shrill sound approaching us. Krrrrrrrrrrrrrr errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! A red-tailed hawk swooped right at the eagle; our discovery had encroached on the red-tailed hawk’s territory. The red-tail circled the bald eagle, screaming as loud as he could. Within moments, the eagle had enough of the noise and activity and stretched out his ginormous, powerful wings and disappeared in a blink of the eye. Our last glimpse of the magnificent creature was of its jagged talons unclenching the tree branch.
A typical bald eagle is 35 to 37 inches tall with a wingspan of 79 to 90 inches with a lifting power of about four pounds. The plumage of the immature bald eagle is brown, speckled with white until the fifth year when it reaches maturity. With age, the bald eagle will acquire its renowned white head and tail. The beak, feet and eyes are bright yellow.