Eagles I have Seen

They say that eagles are making a comeback now that DDT is not as common. I think they're right.

Eagles filled the sky over the North Oromocto River, gorging on the spring run of smallmouth bass.

Especially bald eagles. They patrol the whole 113 km length of the Nashwaak, waiting for the sea-run fish to run. Each pool promises an eagle patrolling from a snag or a treetop, lifting off and soaring as your boat approaches.

On the Oromocto, we saw dozens of bald eagles in the air at one time, time and time again, with others perched over the water, from the North Branch Falls all the way down to Tracy. They were assembled for the spring run of smallmouth bass, and a feeding frenzy was on.

Then there is the bald eagle who nests on the last island in the Nashwaak and often flies over the neighborhood when the breeze is right. He's an expert at soaring, especially at hovering still high above. I saw him only yesterday, as I fished on the Saint John a few paces from the join of the two rivers. (no fish.)

Eagle at the mouth of the Nashwaak.
Pic by Steve Allaby

Twice in my canoeing days so far I've seen an eagle flying with a salmon in its talons, on the Renous and on the lower Nashwaak. One of the eagles was being hounded by crows as it flew behind the elms and out of sight.

The eagle I remember best was the one I saw for the briefest moment. Scooter and Hal and I were enjoying the late afternoon sun at our campsite on the Nepisiguit when a golden eagle flew upriver before us in the deep blue sky. It may have lasted only seconds, but I still see the bird clearly in my mind's eye. I hear Scooter calmly saying, Guys, did you see that golden eagle? Ironically, this was just after we had seen a pair of beautiful blue ptarmigans sitting on a nearby rock as we were paddling past.

I could continue, but each eagle story is as meaningful and different as it is personal. I now have an appreciation of the patient and passionate bird-watcher, and am thinking about becoming one myself.



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