A Bald Eagle

WHEN I WAS a little boy, it was a rare and beautiful thing to see a bald eagle. On the annual family vacation to Lake Kabetogama in what is now Voyageurs National Park, grandfathers and grandmothers and parents would say, in hushed and excited tones, “Look, Dougie, it’s an eagle!” And we would all gaze in rapt attention and amazement. It is still a beautiful thing to see an eagle, but thankfully—thanks to Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) and many others—not nearly so rare.

For years now, at our island on Rainy Lake, big sister to Kabetogama, we have been privileged to watch eagles fishing, nesting, and caring for young, just 100 yards from our dock. And starting 3 years ago, a pair of eagles came to our Pine Point woods here on the Mississippi, and began building a nest, again less than 100 yards from our cabin. It was a joy to have them come, after years of silent entreaties, to choose one of the tallest pines in our forest, to begin carrying branches and building. And to watch those first two eaglets hatch, fledge, and begin to fish, a thrill—almost like boyhood once more.

The National Eagle Center ( in Wabasha, MN) reports that some of the first nesting sites in the upper Midwest are now reporting eggs! And here at Pine Point, after several weeks of chirping and flying by, ‘our’ eagles returned to their tree 3 days ago to begin rebuilding and housekeeping. We await the warm breezes of spring, the sight of dark heads poking up out of the nest and loud voices shrieking for food, and the excitement of those first flights over the river. After all these years, it is still a thrill to see an eagle.
(Photo National Eagle Center. Drawing DW)

Leave a Reply