Sunday, April 15, 2007
Local resident Amanda Hendrix was in the right place at the right time this past Friday when she digitally captured this magnificent specimen taking a branch break at Watershops pond in Springfield. Absent in Massachusetts since around the turn of the 20th century, Bald Eagles are regaining a talon-hold in the western part of the State, a direct result of their re-introduction to the general area on July 29, 1982, at Prescott peninsula in New Salem. Some indication of this can be found in the fact that Amanda's Saturday morning post on the local online forum about her eagle sighting was quickly responded to by five other Springfield folks who had also spotted eagles in the area recently. Not unusual in the Ware or Franklin County, etc. online forums perhaps, but Springfield is the third largest city in Massachusetts, and to draw a hunting eagle (or likely, more than one) speaks of the bird's local numbers. The eagle re-introduction program ended in 1988, a total of 41 chicks from Michigan and Nova Scotia having been released into their new domain, the beautiful hills and valleys and sparkling waters of the Bay State.
I personally have been fortunate to have seen many eagles, both Bald and Golden, mostly in the Quabbin area of western-Central Massachusetts, where it seems like if you sit still long enough, one is bound to glide over. The most memorable (and meaningful) sighting I can recall is also the closest I've come to a wild Bald Eagle. So close, in fact, I thought it might hit my car as it swooped low in front of me while I zoomed up I-91 North during a family crisis that had set my nerves on edge. Something about that eagle coming out of nowhere, passing me like a beautiful omen with it's crisp contrast, the bright, white head a crown befitting it's regal and transcendent beauty, calmed my spirit. I was able to relax. When I got to my destination, I found my fears had been overblown. Everything was going to be alright. Not every bird gives us a 'feeling,' or summons an emotion within: Eagles do.
For more eagle information, the Massachusetts Audubon Society web site has a great page titled, 'Eagles in Massachusetts.' A couple of other resources are WGBY's web page 'A Natural Focus: Bald Eagles,' and FirstLight Power's 'Eagles Online,' a web site that hosts the 'Eagle Cam' on Barton's Island in Franklin County. Unfortunately, the Eagle Cam seems to be inoperable for the time being.
Exploring Western Massachusetts would like to thank Amanda Hendrix for sharing her awesome eagle photograph with us here. We certainly appreciate it! Thank you.