The sight of a bald eagle stops anyone dead on their tracks. It makes you just shiver a tad –its razor sharp hooked beak, cold jewel eye staring from its snow white head rising from its muscular feathery dark bulk. The eagle just looks as if it could rip you apart. And it does — large salmon fish, rabbits and rodents.
Nevertheless, they are magnificent birds to behold – in flight or standing as a proud, watchful guard over its kingdom.
Riveting and Fearsome Bird of Prey
While living in Vancouver and travelling along the Pacific west coast, I’ve seen bald eagles at least annually. Some years more often. Bald eagles are riveting to watch.
I’ve seen them wheeling slowly in the sky with their widespread wings overhead or just perched elegantly on top of a weathered totem pole. Other times, a solo parent or two, are guarding eggs or a few eaglets in a large messy nest of twigs high up in a tree. Usually the tree is well over 30 metres high.
My Eagle Sightings- City and Islands
Yes, bald eagles do have their favourite perch locations in the heart of Vancouver. We’ve seen them not far from Granville Island, near Vanier Park or sitting on top the Mungo totem pole by the Maritime Museum. One day I even hope I’ll spot, just like Jack did, a live bald eagle on top of a totem pole that includes eagle carving.
Occasionally you might be lucky enough to spot them on high tree top in Metro Vancouver’s parks or overlooking a vineyard on Vancouver Island while you plough through a delicious luncheon with wine. A wonderful memory treat to treasure for vacation stories.
Eagle- Freedom, Nobility and Wisdom
Not surprisingly, the eagle occupies a high status in the pathenon of animal spirits across different North American native Indian groups. Though there are differences among various Indian groups, how the eagle is revered and what it symbolizes, there are common characteristics of the eagle as intermediary between the Spirit and man and as a manifestation of nobility, freedom and wisdom.
Soar in Our Imagination and Ecosystem
I was stunned to learn that an eagle can fly speeds of 50-70 km./hr. and dive, though not straight vertically down, up to 120-160 km/hr. The gripping power of an eagle can be up to 100 times more than a human being ( lbs. per square inch). Its normal lifespan is 20 yrs. They are monogamous and breed with same partner unless the partner dies.
There is much to be intimidated but awestruck by the eagle soaring widely across the sky and waters. We hope for the eagle, lives long across North America –an emblematic talisman in our imagination and in our ecosystem.
This blog post is dedicated to my father who passed away in 2014.