Paris Goodnight: I wouldn’t really be a poor man if I never saw that eagle fly

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2023

If you’ve ever seen a bald eagle fly, you know it is truly a majestic creature. But I don’t know that I’d be a poor man if I never saw one fly since we have our own treasured and beautiful winged creatures around here.

Maybe folks who get to see bald eagles often and in great numbers even get tired of watching them, which I can imagine happens with any rare thing that becomes less special over time. If you’ve ever seen the clusters of eagles feasting on carcasses of piled up dead fish and things like that, as I did many years ago on a magical trip to Alaska, you can see why even the wild turkey was another option in the running to be the emblem of our nation.

There was another wild turkey federation that some of my cohorts wanted me to join at a certain age, but I didn’t take them up on that right away.

Seeing a single eagle flying overheard remains an awe-inspiring sight. And I bring this up because I recently spotted one over our neighborhood. At least as close as I could tell it was one, but since my eyesight is not as good as it once was and the video and still images I captured with my phone don’t really help decide if it was an eagle for sure. While those cameras we carry everywhere we go these days do some things better than you could have imagined just a few years ago, they still don’t have a good track record for capturing moving images like that at a great distance. The bright blue sky background didn’t help either.

I know we’ve also got ospreys around the region’s lakes, and several times the turkey vultures or crows can appear to have something other than black feathers if the sun hits their wings just right.

But as best as I can tell, this one had the perfect white feathered head and was slowly circling enough where I could get a good look at him.

Since bald eagles spent 40 years on the list of threatened and endangered species, many people thought they’d never see them in such numbers again in the lower 48 states. But after some concerted efforts, they were removed from that list in 2007. The birds were first spotted in the Yadkin region in the mid-1990s when they migrated south to avoid the harsh winter weather, according to a Post report in 2011.

I’m also convinced that even as cool as it might be to see an eagle, our more common hawks are just as amazing when they’re perched on a line or squawking in flight.

We had a computer trainer once who regaled us with tales of what the falcons of Utah looked like when debreasting a pigeon in midair. I’m sure that was something to see like other natural wonders out west, but I’m just as happy with our birds of prey and would put them in the ranks of any other wild creatures as far as what you’d like to see before you leave this place.

Hopefully all this talk of the natural wonders on display will be evident again this weekend as the rain moves out and the chimes ring for Easter sunrise services. If the sun comes out and skies turn clear blue, take a peek up if you get a chance and whether you see an eagle or not, enjoy what the good Lord has provided for us. And let’s try to protect it all so one day any such creatures that could be on the decline will instead return in numbers that will give our children and grandchildren something to thank us for instead of questioning why didn’t take better care of all that’s around us.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Post.