As I look out over the street smothered in white and watch the big snow flakes falling fast, I am reminded of the Bald Eagles in winter. There was a time, when I was traveling in southern Illinois and driving toward Clarksville, Missouri. My car’s defrosters were working overtime. After an hour or so, I pulled over to where a number of parked cars set. It was freezing, but I secured my hat and mittens and got out. I walked to the edge where the land started its plunge in a straight vertical plane. In January, the river yet flowed in that winter world of white. I stood in deep snow on hill set about 20 feet above the river’s surface. There were quite a few other people standing in the deep snow with me. We were watching a gathering of Bald Eagles. Not just one soaring in the air, but a group of at least 50 BIG birds (birds about 1.5 feet long with even longer wing spreads) whose posing alternated from in the snowy branches to on the light blue water or snow covered rocks. We could see their yellow legs and feet! The white ruff around their white “bald” heads was fluffy. They dove for fish and came up like they didn’t notice the cold. In the trees, they kept a still perch looking like they were closely observing all at the same time. (It is said Bald Eagles have eyesight 5-6 times sharper than people.) They seemed fearless and competent. (Some of them could have been 30 years old or older.) I was utterly taken in by their majesty. If they could stand the cold water, I would ignore my numb feet. I highly recommend you consider a trip to see the Bald Eagles gathering in the winter.
For a photo of wintering Bald Eagles, click here.