Several of them, actually, although I do realize that my little point-and-shoot camera means that you’ll have to take my word for it. There have been eagles on the north side of Des Moines for several days now, taking advantage of easy fishing in the low water.
This is only the second time in my 30+ years that I’ve seen eagles in the wild. The first was on a National Wildlife Refuge near Cedar Key, Florida, which, while incredibly cool, is somewhere I expected to see protected animals. Beside a gas station and a driving range on my way to get a hair cut was not.
Why is seeing a bald eagle such a big deal to me? Well, for one thing, it’s the national bird of the United States, and seeing them, even surrounded by suburbia, makes me appreciate the wide open spaces that the country has. Bald eagles can live anywhere from Mexico to Alaska, which is impressive when you think of the difference in climates, temperatures and vegetation that are encompassed in that range.
Plus, they were on the endangered species list for most of my life. I can honestly say that I never expected to see one in the wild. Too see so many, well… it just kind of fills me with hope. For all we hear about the impact humans have on the environment, here’s a time where we got it right. They were taken off the list in 2009, and now I get to see them almost in my back yard.
Way to go, us! Not a bad feeling to start the new year.