People's Forum: Local woman finds Bald Eagles in Elkhart
My fiance, Douglas Decker, and I have an immense love for the natural world.Consequently, we are always looking out the windows of our house to see what local wildlife we may discover. On one such occasion, we chanced to see 2 VERY large birds fly over our house. They were heading towards the St. Joseph river.
Instantly the chase was on! We tracked the pair to a large tree overlooking the river. With our camera and binoculars we zoomed in on the pair and began to speculate, "What could they be? Turkey Vultures?They're too big to be hawks. Could they be Eagles?!? No, they don't have white heads." Not coming up with any answers, we watched them for a half an hour before they flew away. When we got home we did a little research and found out that Eagles don't get their "Bald" heads until they're 4 or 5 years old.
We believed, but were not certain, that we had photographs of immature Bald Eagles. Proof would come 2 months later. Doug would drive by that tree everyday on his way home from work. He saw at least 1 of the Eagles in that tree for the next 13 days in a row! Sometimes he'd call me and I'd meet him in the driveway to go and watch the bird(s) for as long as we could. ( On average the birds would remain for 45 minutes before taking flight ) On day 14 and for the next 6 weeks the Eagle(s) were gone. The next time the bird(s) appeared they had white plumage.. Proof positive that they were in fact Bald Eagles. What a treat!
From that day to the present we are always looking out for our avian friends. That 1st year they were last seen late in February. They returned this year by October 23rd. We continue to see them on and off throughout the winter. We have also seen a new immature Eagle as well. Besides Eagles, we also enjoy watching birds around our feeders including our neighborhood hawk that "dive bombs" said birds from time to time.We also include 3 feral cats, 5 black, 2 gray, and 1 brown squirrels as part of our strange but exciting extended family.