Hawks and eagles

Photo: Ann Brokelman

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.

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Ann, great story! And wonderful shot of our immature bald eagle! Raptors have magic, for sure. It was nice the owner of the home was kind enough to allow you to go and photograph the raptor. I hope you share more stories in the future :_). Happy Holidays, Lindsay McKenna, New York Times bestselling author

I will NEVER forget this! How lucky were we to see a roosting eagle in the city? We’re so used to them migrating past and we’re lucky if we see them for half a minute. This was a treat and I’m so glad your eagle eyes spotted it!

I had to write. Early December, late afternoon I was in my kitchen with my husband when something caught my eye in the back garden a huge bird flew into our oak tree. I spent what seemed like ages trying to pin point it to my husband (it was dusk) when the next minute it spread its wings and flew off. We had no idea what it was except that we never saw anything as big as that ever before. About a week and a half later your newspaper arrived at our door and my husband told me he had a gift for me… the picture of the eagle, we live on Southwood Drive, (directly south of where the eagle was spotted) when he flew off I think he flew straight into our tree, what a gift!

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