Welcome to my new blog!
Although I may feature some more winged animals, this blog is dedicated to documenting the eagles at Shiloh National Military park. I decided that, since I enjoyed sharing so many images from the 2009 eagle nesting season, I'd start a blog with that special purpose.
This way I can not only share images but information, exciting moments and interesting experiences as well.

If you visit the eagles, I would like to ask that you please respect the rules.
There are designated areas to park and PLEASE always be respectful.
Viewing these birds is a unique privilege...Please don't get that privilege taken away from everyone!!!

Two Turtles

Since I get asked often about the image of an adult eagle bringing two turtles to the nest, I have decided to post the link so that it can be easily found.
"Two Turtles"

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some interesting facts:

Hiram and Julia (an American bald eagle pair named after General Grant and his wife) made their nest high in a pine tree beside a road in Shiloh National Military Park. They raised a pair of eaglets during the 2008 nesting season and then two more eaglets the following season. The pair have been photographed carrying fish, turtles and small rodents to their young.

*American bald eagles mate for life.
*The female American bald eagle is slightly bigger than the male.
*Females and males can be distinguished by the depth of their beak.
*The American bald eagle was taken off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants list in June 2007.
However, the bald eagle is still a protected animal.
*Young eaglets do not have the white head and tail feathers of their parents. Their white feathers will grow in somewhere around five years of age.
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

molting time

The young eagles are eating quite frequently and growing bigger. The adult pair have started molting which gives them more rugged look.

*sb*

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

mouth open

It's not uncommon to see Hiram flying in with his mouth open, sometimes calling out during his arrival.
*sb*

Monday, April 27, 2009

under protective watch

The young ones are looking out from the nest more now. The parents are being very protective. They take turns sitting at the nest to keep a watchful eye on their eaglets at all times.
*sb*

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

delivering catfish

Tonight's meal came in the delivery of a large catfish.
*sb*

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

feeling patriotic

The eagle and the flag represent symbols of American patriotism. The combination of the two seems only fitting.
*sb*

Monday, April 20, 2009

The presence of youth

As I arrived to view the eagles and stepped from my vehicle, I was greeted with a flurry of noise and excitement. I looked to see another bird circling near the nest and hear the parents vocalizing their disapproval. I quickly grabbed my camera without even taking time to check my settings (this moment was unraveling so fast). Once I could focus on what I was seeing, I was stunned. For the first time to my knowledge, I was viewing a juvenile eagle in flight!
It was determined that the juvenile was probably one of last year's young which had returned to the nest much to the disapproval of their parents who were defending their new brood. After a few very tense minutes of verbal altercation, the juvenile flew away.
After some time of caution by the protective parents, the food flights resumed.
*sb*

Friday, April 17, 2009

Catch of the Day

This image represents a defining moment in my learning. Action nature photography was all new to me. Sure, I'd captured many animals before...but the action added such a rush. Having a perfectionist streak gave me the strong desire to succeed. I didn't yet have all the knowledge of a seasoned nature photographer (and still don't) but I did have the willingness to learn everything that I could. My mind was opened in order to try and absorb every ounce of information that I could about the eagles, about photographing birds in flight, about pushing my camera to its limits, about everything!
As it happened on this night, the evening meal was a very large fish. Several photographers responded capture the approaching flight of the eagle. The flight pattern was following a steady pattern lulling us into a sense of comfort...Then, with a quick upward motion, the eagle caught us off-guard. Some of the photographer's lost the shot altogether. A couple of us managed to catch the meal, which gave us a good laugh for the night.
It was at that moment that I felt accepted. I realized that we were all working toward the same goal. Sometimes we'd get the shot...Sometimes we'd miss it...And sometimes we'd just almost get something wonderful. But whatever we captured, we were not only recording images...We were recording memories! Memories which can make an "almost shot" into something that makes you smile.
Sometimes photography isn't as much about the perfect shot as it is about the emotion behind the shot. This image makes me happy remembering all the laughter and the many jokes that would follow! ;)
*sb*

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009