Monday, July 12, 2010

The Eagle has Landed - in the York Neigborhood

Sunday morning I took a look out our window to the west to see how far the marine push had come. After a few warm days (hot by Bellingham standards) the hot trough had shifted to the east and marine air was pushing into western Washington. The fog came all the way into Bellingham but short of my neighborhood. I took this picture of the fog front.
Fog front to the west 

But a careful look at the Douglas fir on the left of the photo shows that a bald eagle was paying a visit to my urban neighborhood and that is really why I took the picture.
Bald eagle with a prize in an urban Douglas fir

I was not the only one that noticed the eagle. The local clan of northwest crows were complaining loudly. I don't have a camera setup to get a good wildlife shot. The picture above was shot through a binocular lens and I had managed to stabilize the binoculars, the camera and my hands to get a reasonably clear image. The picture below is not so clear but gets across the idea that the local crows were not pleased with having an eagle in the neighborhood.
Northwest crow harassing bald eagle

The variety of birds has increased in my neighborhood over the past 20 years. This is in a large part due to trees in the neighborhood growing large enough to appeal even to passing eagles. Nearby Whatcom Creek is now lined with mature cottonwoods and Youth Conservation Crews plantings of native brush along the stream has further increased habitat. The close by Sehome Arboretum is moving into a mature forested condition. And finally a more people are planting trees and bushes versus all lawn. However, the biggest break for eagles has been the ending of the use of DDT that decimated their numbers as the pesticide moved up the food chain. Many other fish eating birds have rebounded as well. Bald eagles are now a common site in northwest Washington, but is was still a thrill to see one form my own window in an urban neighborhood.

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