Returning Bald Eagles
by Jacquie Thomson, Fraser, Dr Chris Murfin, Mark Fraleigh, Patti, David, Lana McDermott
(Whitby, Wasaga Beach, Grand Bend, Dundas, Burlington, Mississauga, Everett)
Jacquie Thomson from Whitby, Ontario, wrote to report ..... My family and I were driving home on February 17th along highway 401 going west. We had just stopped at the OnRoute at Mallorytown and were getting back on our way. I was just looking out the passenger side window and noticed a large bird circling ahead and on my side of the car. It was not very high up and I noticed the wide white tale and white head. I looked at my husband and then back up a t the bird to make sure I had seen the white head and tail. My husband asked what was wrong and I said " We don't have Bald Eagles up here do we?" he responded yes we do! Well then I just saw one! This would have been between 2 and 2:30 pm.
Fraser wrote to tell us of his magnificent sighting ..... I live in Wasaga Beach Ontario on Nottawasaga River. My property sits high (60 feet) above the water across from Provincial forest. This morning around 7:30 a.m. I startled something big in a smaller oak tree at top of bank and watched in awe (about 10 seconds) as a magnificent Bald Eagle soared over the river and glided out of sight around the oxbow. This is the first Bald Eagle sighting for me in over 30 years in Wasaga. My wife mentioned on a couple of occasions this week that she has caught just a glimpse out the corner of her eye of something unusually big gliding over river when looking out our front window. We now assume that it was the Eagle and will keep a camera ready for the next time.
On February 27th, Dr. Chris Murfin from Grand Bend, Ontario, wrote to report ..... Driving from Grand Bend to Waterloo today we saw our second Bald Eagle flying overhead. We were just west of Exeter on Highway 83. He was huge and his dark brown body, white head and white tail feathers looked amazing against a pure blue sky. Our first sighting was on the way to Bayfield on Highway 21 about 2 years ago. Both times I almost drove off the road - such an amazing sight!
On March 1st, Mark Fraleigh from Dundas, Ontario, wrote to tell us ..... I was driving eastbound on the 403 in the Burlington area yesterday at approx. 4:20 p.m. I got off at the Waterdown Road access and proceeded to head north. As I rounded the ramp I noticed a large bird flying overhead just east of my location. Once I got a better look I could see that it was a very large bird with a distinctly white head and dark brown/black body feathers. I recognized it immediately as an American Bald Eagle. I previously spotted an Eagle over Hamilton in 1989. I didn't know who to report it to at that time, but a story in the Hamilton Spectator which appeared the very next day confirmed my sighting.
On March 3rd Patti from Burlington said ..... Yesterday I saw a family of Bald Eagles soaring over Lake Ontario approx 100 metres off the Burlington shoreline near Brant Street ..... spectacular! There were 5 or 6 in the group. It looked to be 2 large adults and 3 or 4 small younger birds getting a hunting lesson over the lake. They soared in large circles for 10 min or so until they moved on ..... made my day!!
David from Mississauga reports ..... On March 4th, I was driving up to Huntsville on hwy 11 and noticed a large bird being chased by two smaller black birds. As they came closer I couldn't believe my eyes as I saw it was a Bald Eagle! It actually came to within 50 feet in front of me and I was able to take in the beauty of this bird. This is the most amazing sighting I have witnessed in my lifetime, and I have witnessed many species of animals and birds. This 20 seconds will never be forgotten.
On March 4th - Lana Mc Dermott from Everett, Ontario, wrote to say ..... I was driving down the road, about half a kilometre from my house near Everett, Ontario. A large bird was flying towards me, and in my head I said, hawk? turkey vulture?.... Oh my gosh that's a white head! It's a BALD EAGLE!! Sure enough as it flew by I saw the white tail as well. All I had was my blackberry, which has a pretty lousy camera. I threw my van in reverse (hoping no one was going to come flying over the hill). I got out of the van and snapped a few pictures but unfortunately he was far away, and when I zoom it in it gets distorted. Oh well, I know it was 100% a Bald Eagle. Fantastic sighting and one I never would have expected. I have been keeping my eyes out for Snowy Owls and had this lucky sighting instead!! Yeah!Thank you all so much for sending us these excellent reports of your Bald Eagle sightings - they vary in location but most of these have been sent to us in the past ten days, so the Eagles are heading back to their nesting areas from the southern part of their range.
I notice that all the above sightings are on, or close to, water - Whitby, Burlington, Mississauga, Dundas, are all close to Lake Ontario, and Grand Bend, Wasaga Beach and Everett are all close to Lake Huron.
Expect to see more Eagles in the near future and keep sending us your information - I know that our readers love reading them as much as I do!
You can see more reports of bird and animal sightings on our Facebook page Discover Southern Ontario!
Photograph of Bald Eagle is courtesy of Aaron Blanshard