Monday, February 13, 2012


I recently had the opportunity to do a bunch of driving with my family one weekend. It had just snowed a lot in the area, and my wife was noticing quite a number of geese in flight. We didn't know if they were going to or coming from, but there were hundreds in different bunches in flight.

The next day, as we returned from our prior destination, I noticed one bird in flight, off to our left, flying east to west. At first I thought it was a plane, as the thick shape was very different from the geese we had been watching the day before. There did not appear to be any other birds in the sky.

I glanced at it as I drove, watching it fly. The wingspan was impressive. I pointed the bird out to my family and commented on its size. They were impressed as well. We didn't have much time to watch as our paths were intersecting, but my mind started wondering what bird would be that large, in this area, flying solo. I usually see large crows, but this bird looked large from a distance, and crows only seem large once they get near. The hawks in this area are much smaller that this bird appeared to be.

I wondered if it could be...I've never seen one in the wild, much less in flight. "I think that's a bald eagle," I told them. The bird grew enormous as it drew near, and I could see the large, dark body...and the faint outline of a head. "It is, it's a bald eagle!" It appeared massive now, hundreds of feet in the air, the distance not diminishing the perspective of size.

I watched as long as I could, it moved over the car and out of my sight. My family watched out the other windows as it moved into the distance.

(Wikipedia lists the wingspan of an adult bald eagle as between just under 6 to 7.5 feet. See here for a photo by Ken Schneider of a bald eagle in flight over Nelson Lake, WI.)

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