Sunday, January 19, 2014

Inside a Bald Eagle's Nest

© 2014 Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. 
Thank goodness the founding fathers went with the beautiful bald eagle as the symbol of our nation rather than the much less photogenic turkey! The bald eagle is truly an awe-inspiring bird but one that many of us never get to see in real life. It is only through hard work by conservationists and citizens who were determined not to allow this majestic bird to go the way of the Dodo that the bald eagle survives to nest in our nation's capital and other areas. By about 1960 eagles were rare and nearly extinct, victims of DDT, habitat changes, and hunting. Indeed I recall as a child wondering if I would ever get to see a bald eagle outside of a zoo. Legislation banned DDT and protected the remaining eagles who, miraculously, are making a huge comeback in many areas of the country, including urban and suburban areas. 

Inside a Bald Eagle's Nest: A Photographic Journey Through the American Bald Eagle Nesting Season by Teena Ruark Gorrow and Craig A. Koppie is a gorgeous coffee table type of book that takes readers on a
© 2014 Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. 
photographic journey through one full nesting season in suburban Washington D.C. The photographs, most taken by Koppie or Gorrow, are often amazing and even startling. As a budding photographer I can only hope that one day I have the opportunity to take a photograph half as good as these. It's hard to pick out a favorite but rarely will you get to see such an up-close shot of eaglets without being ripped to shreds by protective eagle parents! 

© 2014 Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
While it is tempting to focus entirely on the photography, that would be unfair to the book. The text is filled with interesting facts and  information about the eagles. Beginning with nest preparation, we learn about mating and egg laying and nest building. We also watch as the eggs incubate (the male will sit on the eggs for brief periods of time to give the female a break) and hatch, marveling as the eaglets start to learn about life outside the nest. We also learn about current threats to the eagle. For example, wires from utility lines and towers threaten the birds and wind farms have caused the death of 68 eagles since 2008. But even with these dangers, life goes on. One of the last photographs is of two proud-looking parents surveying the area as their family moves on, hopefully to return the next year for another cycle of nesting.

Last Chance Forever conservationist
with young Bald Eagle
Thanks to conservation efforts it is now possible to see bald eagles in every one of the lower 48 states, as well as Alaska. (When Jim and I visited Alaska many years ago the best place to see the eagles was at the town dump!). Closer to home for us, we've visited the eagles near Burnet and at Lake Buchanan. (Last Chance Forever brought out a young male that is being rehabilitated for release so we were able to get a very close view.)  Maybe next year we'll got to Emory, TX (billed as the Eagle Capital of Texas) for the 19th Annual Eagle Festival. To find eagles near where you live or are visiting, check out the Bald Eagle Viewing Directory

And it if you can't get a personal eagle fix, check out the webcams listed in Inside a Bald Eagle's Nest that offer readers the opportunity to view live and recorded footage from several sites. My favorite is probably the National Geographic camera that features highlights from the birds we met in the book.

Oh, and I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, who hoped I would review it.


  1. Eagle mailbox

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    Models : dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, wild animals, birds, vehicles, fish, snoopy.

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    “ … This mailboxes will do turn the heads of the passers-by”.

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  2. These look like very nice mailboxes Michael, although I would have liked to see some of the birds. Unfortunately so many houses in the US now have the ugly mail centers so we can't customize.