Sunday, September 09, 2007

Eagles, Raptors, Owls

There is an interesting article today in our local newspaper about the resurgence of the eagle population in Western Michigan. There are now nesting pairs in the Grand River flats, along the lower Muskegon River, in Mona Lake and (most amazing) a nesting pair on Spring Lake. I haven't seen any over our house (we're approximately a mile west of Spring Lake; a mile east of Lake Michigan) but will be keeping my eyes open. I remember 15 years ago making a special trip into the wilds of the Au Sable River to see one of the few breeding pairs in the lower Peninsula. There are now an estimated 480 breeding pairs in Michigan.

The general raptor population (hawks, falcons, ospreys, etc.) has also made a stunning local comeback. It is not at all unusual to see several hawks on my way to work in the morning. Last Tuesday afternoon, a Cooper's hawk was standing on the bank of my neighbor's pond, hunting frogs.

We also have a large barn owl who spends several hours every now-and-then in one of our white pines.


Blogger jenni said...

A barn owl? Wow. That is totally neat! We have a coyote on the loose, but I've only seen his tail.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Nin Andrews said...

We have an eagle that hangs out on a tree in our backyard in Maine. The bird seems so regal and completely nonchalant about our being there. At first I was afraid to go outside for fear it would fly. But it seemed to take an interest in watching my pups. I was told there were so many fish in summer, I shouldn't worry. Come winter, cats and small dogs beware.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I used to see barn owls all the time in Duncan Woods. Not sure if they're still there, as it's been a few years since I've walked through. I had a close encounter one day -- a little too close, in fact. An adolescent owl came crashing down out of a tree, right next to the path and not even five feet from me. It flapped in the underbrush & peeped & looked horrified. I think a branch broke from underneath eventually flopped into the air (it was a clumsy owl) & disappeared in the trees.

6:28 PM  
Blogger david dodd lee said...

They're everywhere. Used to
be you'd be standing in downtown
Marquette and see them over the city, a toothpick fresh in your
mouth from having lunch. I have written more poems about that dubious body of water, Mona Lake, ten, tweny, thirty? It was long ago a sewage pit, and it's cleaned up. I've seen eagles along the
White River and the Muskegon River for the longest time, but grew up
near Turtle Bay and no eagles
hovered about. I wonder where they
hang out (it's quite populated).
There's still nothing like seeing
a bald eagle soaring along amidst the mountains in Montana/Idaho.
Nevertheless I saw one in south of Grand Haven a couple years ago, just coasting along the beach . . .

4:10 PM  
Blogger david dodd lee said...

and put up a few bird feeders,
a Cooper's hawks will be dive-
bombing your yard in no time

4:15 PM  

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