The same day as the fabulous sunset, I went out with Tom in his little boat. I took this picture of a bird on the channel marker in the river. I was too far away to see what it was. Marilyn instantly spotted it as an American Eagle. It’s the white chest and head, not to mention its size.
After she cropped the picture, you can see not only the eagle but his nest. That is the big pile of twigs.
Most people don’t realize that American Eagles are fishers. They need to live near water because their main diet is fish. On the Merrimack River located on the northern edge of Massachusetts, there are a lot of boating people who fish. They have gotten used to pulling out a big fish and having a huge eagle fly down and steal it. While these aren’t as big as Golden Eagles, they still have a solid 10-food wingspan and talons you don’t want to mess with. Eagles get lazy when they know all they have to do is wait and a human will provide dinner.
I know there are very large eagles in Africa who migrate to Asia and occasionally Europe in the summer. I think the American Eagle is the largest bird we have in this part of the country unless the Black Vulture is bigger. They are about the same size and rather closely related, though the eagle is a lot more handsome. You need to be a very good birder to tell the difference between them when they are up in the sky. There’s a minor difference in the feather configuration of their wings. To me, they look the same.
We used to have a pair of eagles nesting in our woods, but they have moved on. We can still see their nest. There are quite a few of them — or were, anyway — in the valley. Lots of water and fish.
As for light, it was such a bright, clear day. Which makes the amazing sunset even more unusual. It was a very special day.
Leslie said she thought it might really be a hawk, but it isn’t a hawk. No hawk will nest on a river like that, but I think she is right that it isn’t a bald eagle. It is probably an Osprey, a slightly smaller eagle that lives almost entirely on fish. There is a similar bird, the Sea Eagle. Except they are rare and live in the Solomon Islands, so I don’t think that is one. But an Osprey? Definite possibility. A different eagle. Bald Eagles are bigger and more aggressive. They hunt for fish by diving into the river.
Osprey’s hunt with their talons, flying low over the water and grab fish with those big hooked talons. Bald Eagles attack Osprey to steal their fish. Lazy bums, those baldies.