This will be two consecutive Cottage-Life posts focusing on eagles, and that’s OK because they’re at the center of the thing. Herewith a nest with an eaglet in residence; not the greatest picture but it’s something that I feel blessed to have seen and can’t not share.

Bald eagles like to hang out where there are tall trees right next to the ocean so the fishin’ is easy, and Keats Island has lots of those; also relatively few permanent human residents to bother them.

Eagle’s nest with juvenile Bald eagle

Enlarge for a better look at the young bird.

A small family of eagles lives somewhere in the trees right next to our cottage; they’ve appeared in this space before. These aren’t them; this nest is ten minutes walk down a pleasant woodland path. This young bird is really pretty big, not visibly smaller than his or her parents. Those of us in the neighborhood who visit the nest a lot worry that it should be flying by now; maybe there’s something wrong with it.

There’s nothing in the picture for scale, but that nest is huge; easily six feet across, built not just of twigs but of some pretty big branches; I regret profoundly not having been there to see how the big eagles hauled them in and put them in place.

In case it’s not obvious, these birds aren’t exactly rare around here. That doesn’t mean they’re not special; every time one goes by our deck I drop everything and look to see what’s up.

And their calls are part of the sonic backdrop; instantly recognizable with a little practice. Previously I wrote “The harsh dry melodic fluting sounds like nothing else”; we hear it almost every morning at breakfast.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.


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From: Paul Clapham (Aug 08 2011, at 08:09)

Or as Roger Tory Peterson said about the Bald Eagle in his Field Guide to the Birds in about 1980: its call sounds like a "rusty clothes-line".


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August 07, 2011
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