Well I wish I was posting an actual photograph, but instead I am posting a page from The Sibley Guide to Birds, written & illustrated (beautifully) by David Allen Sibley, on the occasion of have seen a bald eagle sitting on a limb above me while walking my dogs this morning. He was easily 7 inches in diameter and looked to weigh maybe 8 lbs, with a huge wingspan. When he took off to continue hunting along Harford Road, I could see that he was a least 4 years old with a pure white crown, a solid brown body, and a beautiful fan of solid white tail feathers. He looked like the eagle on the bottom right of Sibley’s page.
The reason I saw the eagle was an odd series of events. I had been on an upper trail when I heard some very unusual bird sounds in reply to someone’s dog. The sounds came from below, along the creek somewhere. There were repeated bursts of noise from the dog and then the bird. After 5 or 6 of these outbursts, I decided to try to find the source of the racket. We walked down the hill and as we came closer to the noise I realized that what I thought was a bird in distress was in fact some guy with a chainsaw. Go figure! It was, however (in my defense) a really loud & whiny chainsaw, easily mistaken for some large bird. At least that’s what I’m telling myself!
We began to walk back up the hill along another path when I heard a bird that sounded like a Northern Flicker. They sound almost exotic, as though you’re in the tropics somewhere. Sibley describes the call as “long, strong, relatively low-pitched series kwikkwikkwik . . . continued steadily for up to 15 seconds.” I looked up to find the Flicker and instead there was the eagle, sitting on a branch of a tree about 60 feet in the air, looking right back at me. Amazing.