The Eagles Have Landed!

I heard a slight knock on the door about 5:00 pm Wednesday night, August 3rd. Thinking it was another neighbor wondering if we had power and what the police scanner was saying, I was a bit surprised to see Karen Reidy with binoculars in hand saying, "Jimmy, what do you think this bird is with a white head?"

I grabbed her binoculars, looked through and was amazed to see a mature Bald Eagle sitting on a branch just over the edge of the Emerald Canyon less than 500 feet from the road. I turned and yelled for my wife to get the camera and off we went to look at this truly magnificent bird.

It was at the very top of a tree without leaves which offered a clear view of the rapids and shallow areas of the Rocky River. A perfect place for a bird that lives on fish. He would be able to see salmon, trout, catfish, even the occasional carp as they make their way up river, or sit in the rapids gathering oxygen.

After a couple minutes, I turned to get the telephoto lens for my little Nikon, and realized that it was back at the World Headquarters of Lakewood Observer Media. Jumping into the car, I made a mad, but legal dash to the office, got the lens and headed back to Riverside Drive.

By this time, my wife and Karen had attracted a small following of eagle watchers. I attached the lens and started to shoot in the failing light. Seconds later, one of Lakewood's serious bird watchers and fellow Observer, Bill Davis pulled up and got out. "It is a Bald Eagle!" exclaimed Davis. Over the next hour, over 100 people stopped, watched, and were amazed as the bird sat almost motionless.

Davis mentioned, "He's used to being a star" and you could sense that was true, as the eagle seemed to pose as flashes went off. Cars slowed and stopped asking what was happening. Neighbors would say, "It's a Bald Eagle!" Motorists would pull over get out and watch the eagle, take pictures and call their friends and family. Not even on the 4th of July, when people living along the Canyon can see fireworks from five cities, have I ever seen this many cars stop.

Suddenly, there was a flash of brown and another large bird flew right next to the eagle, buzzing it twice then flying off to a tree up river. "Probably his mate or offspring" mentioned Davis. "They do not get their white feathers until they have matured, at four years of age. Could be a younger mate and or younger eagle, but from the size, it is another raptor for sure." Davis also pointed out that if you listened closely, you could hear what sounded like a dinosaur calling. "Did you hear that! That is definitely the call of a raptor."
As dusk fell on the Canyon, the eagle gracefully flew down from his perch and went up river, while the crowds stood and talked for another half-hour. "This was really great! I can't believe it," said Alan from Fries Ave. "Lakewood's got Bald Eagles, and Rocky River doesn't." said a young girl from West Clifton. Davis turned and reminded her that we also have Peregrine Falcons, Red Tail Hawks, Cooper Hawks, Turkey Vultures, and other rare species.

The Emerald Canyon is something that every Lakewoodite should enjoy and share with friends. We are very lucky to be living in Lakewood.
Read More on Flora and Fauna
Volume 1, Issue 4, Posted 05.30 AM / 04th August 2005.