Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Three bald eagles on a Sunday February 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 4:12 PM
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AS OBSERVANT AS I AM, and I’m quite detail-oriented, I don’t profess to have an eagle eye. That would be my husband. Randy possesses an uncanny ability to notice birds of prey in the wild.

A few weeks ago he pointed out an owl perched on a fence post as we traveled along a state highway around dusk. He’s always spotting hawks circling overhead, riding the wind.

See the two eagles in the distant trees here on the west side of State Highway 13 near Waseca?

But this time, this past Sunday afternoon, he saw two bald eagles in a stand of trees several miles north of Waseca along Minnesota State Highway 13. Now typically nothing much raises Randy’s demeanor to a level of excitement. However, he was excited enough to swing our van into a U-turn, backtrack to the grove of trees and pause so he could gawk.

Although we’d seen eagles in the wild before, we’d never seen them this close—about 60 feet away horizontally and another 30 feet away vertically.

Parked along the wide shoulder of the highway, I shot this image of the eagles.

Stopping within feet of a deer carcass, the road kill that we figure drew the eagles to this grove of trees, Randy watched the birds while I photographed, wishing all the time for a telephoto lens.

After our brief eagle-watching, we continued on to Morristown, missed our turn and spotted another bald eagle. This time I requested we backtrack because I was, by then, already formulating this blog post in my mind.

We had just passed Veterans Memorial Park, a new memorial to veterans in this Rice County town of 1,000 residents. It features a bald eagle as the focal point.

This time, without highway traffic passing dangerously close, I exited the van and captured close up our nation’s majestic symbol of freedom.

The bald eagle, flanked by flags, at the vets park in Morristown.

A broad view of the new memorial, which includes pavers honoring veterans.

Shooting into the sun, I took this shot of the memorial eagle.

HAVE YOU EVER seen a bald eagle in the wild? Tell me about your experience.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

18 Responses to “Three bald eagles on a Sunday”

  1. ceciliag Says:

    This is fantastic, can you crop in and get a closer image? I am SO ENVIOUS! Good girl for having your camera with you at all times! Those two sitting up there with their white heads like beacons! wow.. c

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yeah, I thought of cropping, but figured the eagles would be too much out of focus. So I thought best to present them in this perspective, although now I’ll just have to go and crop the image and see what I get. I’m seldom without my camera. And when I don’t have my Canon with me, I inevitably miss a photo opp.

  2. Michele Says:

    Ohhh I love the last shot into the sun, very nice!! We drove down to the Lake Pepin area a long time ago to watch the eagles, it was back in the days of film cameras and mine actually froze up. I would love to do it again because although we get a lot of eagles in our area we don’t get them in the groups they get in the river valley there. Every time I see them up here in or near Duluth I never seem to have my camera with me.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks, Michele. I like that eagle/sun shot, too. Sometimes those don’t turn out at all, but this one did.

      Have you been to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha? We visited the old center, but have not yet made it to the “new” one. It’s on our list.

      My husband and I both think bald eagles are becoming more common in the wild. Readers, what do you think?

  3. Michael Says:

    I’ve had several eagle experiences. I got the closest when on a trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
    There used to be an eagle’s nest about 10 miles from here until the wind took the old tree down.
    We saw many eagles when on our trip to Alaska.
    Like your hubby I also watch everything while I’m driving. I just cannot understand how you can not see the things I notice. A life on the farm has allowed me to keep a watch on the sky while driving machinery. I’ve watched hawks hunt while I work the fields in the fall and celebrated their kills of mice and gophers.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, farming certainly does bring you closer to nature and give you a deeper appreciation for your environment.

      My husband notices different things than me, which is great. He tips me off to his discoveries and I tell him about mine. I’m always watching for photo ops while traveling. But I don’t happen to notice birds like he does.

  4. Greg Phelps Says:

    We just returned from a few days in the pacific northwest from Portland to Astoria. We saw FIVE http://www.flickr.com/photos/thatcar/6884151449/in/photostream

    Such a majestic bird…..unless she/he was coming after you!

  5. Cosmos Says:

    There’s an eagle nest next to a friend’s house in Bloomington. Two eagles just returned last week, I’ve been watching them quite a bit. If I don’t see them, I usually hear their squawking. They are majestic and fun to watch. I have a perfect view from the deck, and the view is even better without any leaves on the tree. I’ve seen an eagle there at least four times in the past week, and one day I saw both.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Wow. This has to be so much fun to have this close-up view of eagles. I’m assuming they become somewhat accustomed to humans?

  6. LOVE the eagles around our house, here – and I’m excited to have a new telephoto lens when they show up this spring! We had eagles on the island in Washington. We saw them all the time – and my dad, who was a semi-professional photographer, has some wonderful shots. I really need to get them from him!!!

  7. Susan Says:

    When I moved from urban to rural Minnesota, the onetime novelty of seeing a deer quickly became “Oh yeah, there’s another deer.”

    But a bald eagle sighting never ceases to awe.

    One morning I drove my son to school on a forested county road. A bald eagle flew in front of us at windshield level, leading the way as if it were a police escort. It soared up and away after a few seconds, but Wyatt and I still talk about it.

    You and Randy make a great team, Audrey!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Wow, a sighting like that would be impressive.

      And, yes, my husband makes a great teammate. Thank you.

  8. Matt Says:

    Ohhh I love the last shot into the sun, very nice!! We drove down to the Lake Pepin area a long time ago to watch the eagles, it was back in the days of film cameras and mine actually froze up. I would love to do it again because although we get a lot of eagles in our area we don’t get them in the groups they get in the river valley there. Every time I see them up here in or near Duluth I never seem to have my camera with me.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yeah, I thought that last shot turned out pretty sweet. Hopefully you’ll catch some eagles in photos. I’ve learned to carry my camera with me at all times. When I don’t, I regret it.


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