— Adam (@avance88) March 17, 2021
There is a long list of things I take for granted. Some are deeply important like clean running water. Others are not, but make my life significantly better: good pizza and microbreweries, for example. To some degree, I could live without pizza and beer, but certainly not water. I’d argue that bald eagles fall somewhere in between this hierarchy of needs. But that doesn’t mean I necessarily love bald eagles. They feel more like an oil change.
Just under a year ago, my favorite undergraduate professor and dear friend passed away. His personality and impression on generations of ornithology students was so indelible I can’t help but quote him on a regular basis. One of my favorite statements during field outings was in relation to young eagles: “They look like they are rotting” — which summed up his feelings on bald eagles quite well.
I’m not quite to the point of accusing young, mottled individuals of being flying corpses, but I cannot call myself an eagle fanboy either. They are deeply aggressive bullies that scare other birds and alter their behavior. This can be impressive but also frustrating when you are birding and every other species in the vicinity is cowering under the frown of the big bald tyrants. Their presence soaring this late winter above Capitol Hill is, at best, a mixed bag of excitement and dread. Continue reading