May 10, 2004

Eagles over Washington D.C.

Not quite, but closer than you might think.

When folks think about American Bald Eagles, they often picture the birds soaring through majestic mountains and nesting atop barren, craggy peaks far above the treeline.

What you might not know is that there is a bald eagle preserve in northern Virginia, about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. Set along both shores of the Potomac river, this preserve is home to up to 50 bald eagles at a time and has three active nests. George Washington himself may have watched an eagle or two, since his Mount Vernon home overlooks the Potomac river just north of today's preserve. It's not unheard of for boaters on the Rappahanock river to spot an eagle circling lazily overhead as eagles continue to make a comeback from their endangered status.

Much of the preserve's land remains in private ownership, and not open to the public, but there are also several parks where hiking, boating, and camping are allowed.

You may remember when President Clinton released an adolescent eagle named Freedom at July 4th ceremonies in 1996. The eagle flew directly over an Osprey nest, and the territorial osprey (four of 'em) attacked Freedom and knocked him into the water. Freedom was rescued by the Coast Guard and re-released a couple of weeks later after recovering from minor injuries.

Posted by Ted at May 10, 2004 06:36 AM
Category: Square Pegs

You'd be surprised to know that southern New Jersey has a very large bald eagle population. Nearly 175 bald eagles have been spotted throughout the state, mostly at nature refuges near Cape May at the southern tip of New Jersey. I went on a boat ride a few years ago which went past the nature preserve and we saw one.

Someone in Princeton, which is in the central part of the state, has an eagle nest near his home, he took a picture which you can see here. link:

Posted by: roberto at May 10, 2004 11:16 AM

We were at River Bend Park, just upstream from Great Falls Park last week. During a presentation to the kiddies on the local fauna, the two lefty park rangers had to admit, much against their will, that bald eagles were making a significant comeback in the region. But they consoled themselves by pointing out that it Would Not Last unless the most strident conservation efforts were taken.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at May 10, 2004 11:58 AM
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