Watching the majestic eagle
I sat stunned in a staff meeting a couple of years ago when Editor Scott Angus said he couldn’t recall ever seeing a bald eagle in the wild. It reminded me how different our lives and interests are. I’ve seen dozens if not hundreds of eagles.
I’ve fished in Ontario perhaps 25 years and on about a dozen different lakes. Each time I go, I see eagles. One year, on Rainy Lake, we watched a dozen or more soaring in a flock for some reason we couldn’t imagine.
An eagle’s nest is a couple of blocks from my parents’ home in Minocqua, and I usually walk the pup under it each morning when I’m visiting to see if I can spot the occupants—and often do. Another eagle’s nest is across and just downstream from our Wisconsin River property near Muscoda. Often, I’ll see these or other eagles soaring or sitting on a sandbar.
When the sun is shining on those white heads, bald eagles are easy to spot and identify.
My wife, Cheryl, and I once joined friends in boating under an eagle’s nest in the Chetek chain of lakes and watched as an eagle grabbed a fish out of the water. Heck, on my drive to Siren in northwestern Wisconsin for a Wisconsin Writers Association conference last spring, I spotted four eagles—two sitting in trees near the highway and two joining vultures dining on a deer carcass in a field adjacent to the road.
A story in today’s Gazette details upcoming eagle watching events in Prairie du Sac and Sauk City on the Wisconsin River, a new one in Kaukauna on the Fox River and two more in Cassville and Ferryville on the Mississippi River. Cheryl and I went to Prairie du Sac and Sauk City one recent winter to see the eagles, though if there were close-up viewing spots, we didn’t pursue them after arriving late in the day.
Sometimes you don’t have to venture far from home. Residents in the Janesville area have spotted and photographed an eagle wintering around here in recent years. If anyone has seen that eagle again this winter, I haven’t heard.
Below are two photos I snapped in the last few years while fishing out of Pickerel Arm Camp on Minnitaki Lake near Sioux Lookout in Ontario. Janesville’s Lee and Julie Edwardson own and operate the camp, and my friends and I are planning another trip there this July.