Driving to work this morning I saw a Bald Eagle sitting on a log jam in the Little Swatara Creek a few miles from my home. Normally, I don’t drive along the creek, I take a different road. But this morning I changed my route to take the road that runs along the creek because of a very slow truck in front of me that was headed the way I usually go. Frustrated by his slowness, I veered off and took a different route. I think it’s a good reminder that even when I feel frustrated, there are good things all around me if I just keep my eyes open. I know it’s hard to see in the above photo, but the Bald Eagle is there, sitting on that log jam. Although all I had to take a photo with was my smart phone and although it was pretty far off of the road, I had to try to get a photo.
I cropped the photo and although blurry, you can see him, above in the center.
As a child of the 60’s I love to see any kind of raptor, but especially Bald Eagles, because there was a time when I was a child that we did not see any birds of prey. It was the time of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, DDT, a widely used insecticide. In 1962 fellow Pennsylvanian Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, which she said was responsible for the depletion of birds, particularly birds of prey. It is believed that DDT caused cancer in humans and the severe decline in many animals, but especially in raptors, by causing thinning of their eggshells. Despite Rachel Carson’s warnings and her advocacy, DDT was not banned in the United States until 1972, a full ten years after Silent Spring was released.
After the DDT ban, recovery began, but it was slow and I did not see a Bald Eagle in the wild until I was an adult and made a trip to the Conowingo Dam in Northeastern Maryland. Bald Eagles gather there in the winter and survive by taking fish out of the Susquehanna River that feeds the Chesapeake Bay.
Immature Bald Eagle, Conowingo Dam.
I live in Central Pennsylvania and for many years have followed the recovery of Bald Eagles on the Susquehanna River in the Harrisburg area and at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in southern Lebanon County, and I have seen Bald Eagles in both places. But today I am happy to report that I now see Bald Eagles in the area where I live with more frequency. In fact, this is the second Bald Eagle I’ve seen in the past month as I saw one on March 26th in the eastern part of Lebanon County PA, not far from the Limestone Springs Fishing Preserve while driving down Route 422. It was sitting in a dead tree not far from the trout hatchery, which if you’re a Bald Eagle, is a good place to find lunch.
– All photographs are mine.
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