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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

World Bird Wednesday XXXV

                                Bald Eagle: No Big Deal?

"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed."
                                                                                                                             Albert Einstein

   I was 19 the first time a Bald eagle soared into my world. My career as a vagabond had begun the year before with hitchhikes from Detroit to Florida and then from Motown to That new summer I was back in the American West. My hiking partner and I were traipsing through the high country around Estes Park, Colorado when across the distance we saw a black spot cutting through the air between the peaks. Even at that great distance the speck soon took on the white/brown/white spectrum that let us know a Bald eagle was in our midst. To our astonishment the bird flew directly at us and without as much as a single beat of it's wings crossed directly over our heads. I fell on my back side and gasped in awe at the shear size and presence of the creature above me. It's curiosity satisfied, the eagle drifted off and was lost to my eye. I was lucky to see an eagle that day and I would not see another for thirty odd years.

My eagle sighting took place in the summer of 1973 the same year the Endangered Species Act was passed. A survey was completed the next year and only 791 breeding pairs of Bald eagles were found in the entire lower 48 states. From sea to shining sea so to speak. That was good news since just 10 years earlier in 1963 a remnant of only 487 nesting couples were counted from the estimated population of 100,000 pairs thought to have existed in 1782 when the Eagle won a fierce battle with the turkey to become the national symbol of the United States. A lot of blood was spilled in the 19th and 20th centuries both literally and figuratively as human beings began drinking deeply of our planet's treasures and both the turkey and Bald eagle would come close to landing in nature's scrap heap.
   The concept of "Better Living Through Chemistry" came into it's hey-day during WWII when the miracle insecticide DDT was scrubbing the world clean of the yucky little creatures that inhabit the margins of our civilization. It seemed like a good idea at the time, after all, who hasn't wondered in a secret moment about the Lord's wisdom in creating the mosquito and we certainly wouldn't attempt to anthropomorphise the best of human nature using a malaria carrier as our totem. And so the domino's began to fall as the poison swept up the food chain until it threatened to finish off the revered Bald eagle once and forever. Fortunately we Americans required the charismatic raptors as a metaphor to describe our own grand illusions and could not stomach the obvious grim symbolism of its impending doom. We would not tolerate the shameful loss of our national icon even if it meant our potatoes, apples, chickens, and cows could no longer dance with us ecstatically on a bug free world stage. In 1972 DDT was banned in the U.S.  Brilliant move.

  When I first moved to the Pine River seven years ago and began to appreciate the marvelous variety of bird life around me I struck up a conversation with an older head who predicted that we would again have Bald eagles back in our area within five years. At the time it sounded like a hopeful bit of nonsense. I am elated to report that the old timer's premonition was right on the money. These days, 'round here, you'll see an eagle every day if you keep your head up. Bald Eagles were taken off the endangered species list in 2007 when nesting couples had reached a population of nearly 10,000. Whew, that was close!
  There is even an official Bald eagle day here in the U.S. celebrated June 20th when we're asked to wear B.E. tee shirts and rejoice in our patriotic ideals. I made a motion we also wear mosquito tee shirts in a subtle effort to empathise the larger circle of life lessons learned from the recovery of our majestic eagles. That motion was squashed!

   It is a great world, what's left of it. And I'm grateful to to the energetic and devoted people who did the heavy lifting back in the year 1940 to get the Bald Eagle Protection Act passed that made any human interference with the life cycle of the Bald and Golden Eagles illegal, like shooting them for target practice as an example.
  Survival of the fittest is the way of this world, no question, I get that. Summing it up unpoetically; we live to eat only to be eaten. My Grand Hope for Homo-Sapiens is that we might someday see ourselves as a buffer to that Darwinian harshness and help to preserve our planets vastness instead of being so enthusiastic about consuming it. I would like it if we humans thought of ourselves as planet Earth's librarians, cataloging and preserving its wonders. I realise that for some "Librarian to the Planet" might sound like a demotion from our current lofty position as self-proclaimed Lords of the Universe.

   Awe, that simple, vastly underrated emotion humans feel when confronted with a force or thing immensely greater than themselves, might be the natural worlds, and in that our own, best salvation. I felt awe the first time I saw waves break on the Pacific Ocean, caught sight of the snow capped Rockies, and observed the Northern Lights. Awe inspires respect and puts the order of things in their proper perspective. To experience awe changes a person. It is the emotion that can energises our best intentions, guide our principles, and help us to pay closer attention to the Big Picture. The feeling of awe gives us hard evidence that the world is not here for just "us guys," and that seeing a Bald eagle floating in the mountain air can and should always be a big deal!

 Now it's time for World Bird Wednesday!

   This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
   World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.
   You are invited to link your blog with other bird photographers in a weekly celebration of these most diverse and intriguing of Earth's residents.

                                                  CLICK THIS PICTURE!
#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry. It contains a link for your readers to share in WBW. Or you can copy this link on to your blog page to share W.B.W.
#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with Linky.

#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compadres!

Come on it's your turn!


  1. loved this post. absolutely stunning photos and an even more wonderful message to go with them. thank you.

  2. Great post, Springman. For most of my life I had never seen a bald eagle even though my family had been camping every year since I was a small child. While still not common here on the edge of California's central valley it is not a surprise to see one either.

  3. You thought the eagle was just checking you out, to my way of thinking it was much more than that, it was a wake-up call from whatever power the is and the overwhelming awe that one feels on such an occasion is one I fully empathises with as I had two very large swans fly within less than a foot of my head and whenever I think of it, I still hear the roar of their beating wings and recapture the awe and wonder of the experience. The oddest thing was that I was walking with a friend who took no notice of the birds at all where for me it felt like I had been touched by an angel.

  4. Loved the story. It wasn't just a historical statistic piece but it made you think about what was going on with the big birds. It made me think back to when I first saw one, only 3 years ago. When I turned and saw it flying towards me, my heart started pounding. Beautiful shots, love the juve.

  5. Well done post with equally stunning photos. A nice read, thank you.

  6. It is amazing to see the flight of these big birds and these pictures show it very well.
    Tanks for sharing,

  7. Springman, great shots and great story! I'm with you! I stand in awe whenever I see an Eagle. I'm fortunate in that there are a lot of Eagles in this area. In the spring, they are literally, everywhere and often in numbers!
    I dearly hope they make it in "our world" but I think they deserve our every bit of attention. There seems to be always something or someone evil lurking in the shadows that will exploit them unless discouraged!

  8. Whoa! My mind soars high seeing these. :)

  9. Hey Everyone and welcome to WBWXXXV! It is good to be back in the mix this week. Thanks be to your lovely comments, another good reason to be awed! Suzanne and I were off helping to put on Riverfest our own little music festival that takes place on the Pine River. We partied,cooked,and jammed hot and heavy for six straight days! I am feeling my years this week.
    I can't wait to get to the blogs so I will keep this brief for the time being and see you there!

  10. Amazing set of eagle shots. It's one of those posts I can't decide which one I most like. Great work as usual, Springman!

  11. A lovely post... wonderful images and I really felt your "awe" during the read.
    Man has a lot to answer for but hopefully with knowledge we can drag it all back.

  12. Beautiful birds and a great post about how these birds have come back from the brink of extinction. I just wish we could do the same thing with other birds and animals that are going the same way.

  13. Great photos and great essay, Springman. I saw my first BE during a hawk watch on a mountain. With the steady slow beats of its wings it floated past us at eye level. I was profoundly moved. An awe-inspiring world if we pay attention to it. Thank you for your post!

  14. As usually great, both photos and story!

  15. Great post and your photos of the the Eagles are awesome.

  16. FABulous images Springman to support an excellent post. I definitely remember my first sighting of a Bald Eagle and our own majestic Golden Eagle.
    There certainly needs to be some serious joined up action from right around the globe if we are to just hold onto what biodiversity we have left so that the next generation can experience the AWE factor of these magnificent species.

  17. Some gorgeous shots of our national symbol and a great bird! IF only we could all agree at least on this subject wouldnt the world BE so much better! Imagine that-- a world wide blending with the SAME opinion that all creatures of the Earth are deserving of the right to live in peace and be protected under stewardship and not used to benefit economies.

  18. Stunning photos and I loved reading your post.

  19. An excellent read and wonderful photos!

  20. Fantastic post and photos.
    You gave me goosebumps and a little bit of hope that there's a chance for us humans to turn the tide.
    Best wishes from far away Kuwait, which has a long way to go down the learning curve,...

  21. I did not forgot you, I will come back! I love this site. And your shots and what you write - I am enjoying so much!!

  22. Hi there - much of what I wanted to say has already been said in the other comments - but I think that its always a bit special when we meet a large predator in the wild - bird, mammal or fish and your eagles are no different.

    Cheers Stewart M - Australia

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Excellent post Springman. Seeing Bald Eagles was one of the highlights of my visit to the US.

  25. Fantastic post! I saw my first bald eagle in the wild this summer. It was indescribable.

  26. Awe .... is actually the reason for life I think. Without it, life is meaningless.

    Great shots of the eagles.

  27. Springman, Love the message and love your wonderful photos!

  28. Marvelous photos... marvelous post! We came so near to wiping these beautiful birds out... I too am in awe when I am lucky enough to see one. Your photos give me a similar feeling of awe... awe at your talent in capturing such lovely images!

  29. Great shots. I love the last one of the immature bald eagle! Beautiful color.

  30. This is a beautiful post. And comes under the category of "wish I'd said that" (wish I had the talent to!). Thanks.

    (I am birdless (photo-wise) this week, all the more reason to come visit you and yours!)

  31. What a beautiful post,glad you`re back springman.I have not seen a bald eagle,but have had a golden eagle here in our woods.I suspect what drew the beautiful bird were dead deer on a hunting reserve above us.It was a heartstopping moment for me,especially when he flew at me with that call of the wild west piercing sound that they make.Hmmm,have to go hunt up that picture I took of him..,great pictures & post!phyllis

  32. Very well written. I am one who remembers riding my bike behind the DDT trucks. Perhaps that is why my skin now falls (yeah, that is true.)
    Your photographs are beautiful and unique perspectives. The second from the top is particularly unique.

  33. Excellent post as always Dave. Your Bald Eagle images are fabulous and your concept of the importance of every living thing being part of the whole is right on. I long for the day that the majority of human beings realize that we are not the end all to life on this planet but we should be the guardians of biodiversity since most of the planetary problems are human caused.

    On a similar note, if WBW readers would be so kind as to help stop the impending eastern Sandhill Crane hunt, I would be very appreciative. You can get more information HERE.

    and sign the petition HERE

  34. PS
    Can anyone advise me....

    I have been trying to leave comments on many peoples blogs but keep getting nowhere... This is the first one That I have been able to leave comment on for ages.

    Any advise greatfully received

    Dave (Bfbsoutdoorramblings)

  35. In awe of your photos... Was happy last September to see bald eagles both on the Chesapeake Bay and along the Susquehanna River in PA... My goodness, one day I'm going to ask you what lens you are using...

  36. NFBOCR....


    I should have guessed it. I might use it myself. :)