Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bald Eagle on the Umpqua River near Reedsport, Oregon

I guess this was my week for Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). I hadn't seen any for the better part of a year, and then I see two in the space of four days. This one was a lot closer than the bird I saw flying with the pelicans on Tuesday.
We were on our way to our Thanksgiving gathering in central Oregon, and stopped for a few minutes at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing area on the Umpqua River near Reedsport on the coast. We were there to see the elk, but there are almost always some birds about as well. We were leaving when I noticed very large bird in the tree down the highway. There were some Ravens nearby, but this bird seemed larger. Much larger. Although it was silhouetted in the sun, my zoom lens confirmed the shape of the beak and the white head. 
It's no surprise an eagle would be found here, as the river is a haven for salmon. The eagles are expanding their range in the lower 48 states after nearly being extirpated by DDT and illegal hunting. There are one of just a few conservation success stories.

It would have been a shame to drive our national bird to extinction...

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