Eagle Encounter

by Lyndon Zook | Dec 31, 2021 | 0 comments

Bald Eagle flying into nest
Bald Eagle approaching nest. Photo © Kevin Shank.

On May 24, a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my dad, my brothers, and I headed off on an excursion. After hearing about a Bald Eagle nest about fifteen minutes from our place, we were eager to see it for ourselves. Although there are a few Bald Eagles in our part of Massachusetts, our family have seen very few in the wild and had never seen a nest.

Arriving at our destination, we disembarked from our van. With binoculars and camera in hand, we hiked along a set of railroad tracks. As we rounded a curve, we spied the nest in the top of a tall pine. I was impressed with how large it was. Built of sticks, the nest was nearly 6 feet (2 m) high and about 60 feet (18 m) off the ground. Just beyond the row of trees where the nest was located, a river flowed. The ground under the nest was littered with bones.

We had hardly settled in when suddenly an eagle glided in to the nest, clutching a large fish in its talons. With our binoculars trained on the nest, we watched the eagle feed the eaglets. With its formidable beak, it tore the fish into pieces.

After the fish was gone, the eagle flew heavily to a nearby branch. There it sat, watching us with a masterful eye. At last it lifted its great wings and glided away. Reluctantly we headed back home.

The next evening we returned, hoping to get a second look at the occupants of the nest. As we waited, we could see flapping wings inside the nest. Through our binoculars, we spied the eaglet’s head, covered with dark feathers.

After a long wait, during which the eagle failed to appear, we finally headed to the van. Almost there, we looked back at the nest just in time to see an eagle dropping in for a landing with a string of smaller birds in tow. Needless to say, we made a quick U-turn! Back at the nest, we watched the eagle sitting on a limb. After taking turns with the binoculars, we at last headed home with lots of pictures and memories.

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