By Mary Reid Barrow
This photo of a bald eagle was taken recently by B. James when he and his wife were walking near one of the ponds in their Spence Crossing neighborhood.
“It was feeding on fish from the pond,” James wrote. “We stayed on the walking path and did not approach it, but it decided to walk up the grass hill to us (within 15 to twenty feet). We stayed very still and just observed it until it flew off.
The Jameses probably saw a male bald eagle fishing for his mate and youngsters back at a nest somewhere in the area. It is bald eagle nesting season and male eagles are in charge of bringing home the bacon.
You may not only see a male fishing, but you may also see one perched in a tree, dining on the fish head before carrying the rest back to the nest!
Eagle nests are often located/disguised in the top crook of a big pine tree, unlike osprey nests that are usually at the top of a tree out in the open.
This area around Independence Boulevard and Holland Road has had a lot of eagle activity. Recently Vince Bowers, LRNow’s Restoration Coordinator, was outside of the office on the sidewalk along Holland Road.
“I spotted a bald eagle being mobbed by four crows over the LRNow office building,” Vince said.
He ran into the office to alert folks about the eagle which he was pretty sure was an adult male. He went back out in time to see the eagle, still pursued by crows, and eyed by a vulture, “swoop down into the intersection, grab a piece of roadkill and fly off to have lunch, perhaps with his mate.”
Vince was surprised that the eagle was “willing to settle for roadkill instead of fresh fish,” given the number of ponds and waterways in the area.
“I guess any opportunity to eat is okay in our urban environment,” he said, “and I am just happy that one of the cars racing by did not turn the eagle into a meal for the vulture or the crows.”
Other staff members in the office also have seen an eagle perched in one of the big pines behind the office.
Raptor expert Reese Lukei, who keeps tabs on eagles around the city, thinks there is a new eagle nest in this area. He has been looking for it for two years. The closest eagle pair is in Kempsville, and he doesn’t think these are the same birds.
“I occasionally see them on the cell tower close to Best Buy on Independence and sometimes on the cell tower on Rosemont near I-264,” Reese said. “I have not found the nest, so would welcome some help locating it.”
Keep your eagle eyes peeled. You might be lucky eagle sighters, like the Jameses and Vince. You might even spot a nest!
LRNow would love to hear your nature news. Whether it’s about unusual plants or critters you see on your walks or find on the beach, or tales of good folks who care for the environment, let firstname.lastname@example.org know.