The Bald Eagles

Gosh, this jet lag means no sleep at the “right” times…so I decided to post the bald eagle photos before going off for my walk…Photos by KM. The camera had a lot of trouble midway through and we were lucky to get any pics at all.

We went to Alton and before we were taken to the eagle habitat by bus, we went to see a captive bald eagle on the hand of his trainer, at the Visitors’ Center.

Here he is, McGuire the bald eagle, in all his majesty…he is named after the famous baseball player. He lives in Milwaukee.

Bald Eagle, Alton, 21 Jan 07

Several captive eagles are named also after American Presidents; many of them are released to the wild after a time. But here are more views of McGuire…what a magnificient bird he is!

Bald Eagles 2, 3, 4, 5, Alton

Quite unconcerned with the watchers, he preens himself; look at the thick leather glove his handler uses; apparently bald eagles can deliver quite a bite!

Bald Eagles 2, 3, 4, 5, Alton

And here, he is looking exactly as he would on the American currency!

Bald Eagles 2, 3, 4, 5, Alton

The poster behind says, “Flock to the Lock to See the Bald Eagles”.

After this, the bus took us to the riverine habitat of the bald eagles…the confluence of the Mississippi and the Piasa rivers. We had to stand nearly a mile away from the trees to watch the birds flying, perching, strutting on the ice, and occasionally, fishing. Added to this was the snowy day, with low light conditions, and the fact there was some loose contact in the Canon battery case, which frustrated KM no end…..

First of all, the guides took us to see an eagles’ nest pretty close to the highway. The birds were away, but we were told that the largest nest had been 9 feet across, 20 feet deep, and weighed 2 tons…and that the tree in which the nest was, collapsed under its weight! We were allowed to take photographs as breeding would not begin until a month or two later and because the birds were not disturbed by the proximity of humans….

Bald Eagles 2, 3, 4, 5, Alton

Then we went to the area from where, with the help of binoculars, we watched the faraway birds, spreading their magnificient wingspans and soaring, then coming in to perch on the bare trees. The pictures are less than perfect, but I am including them for documentation.

Bald Eagles 8, 9, 10

Bald Eagles 6, 7

Here are the outlines of some bald eagles in flight (would you know it, they flew AWAY from us, and never in our direction!)…

Bald Eagles, outlines

Bald Eagles, outlines

Bald Eagles, outlines

And here’s one taking some nesting material to a tree…

Bald Eagles, outlines

We took a last shot of some of them together, and left…

Bald Eagles 6, 7

Well, you will probably get much better pictures elsewhere…but the experience of seeing them was awe-inspiring!

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