Author Archives: Justin Cale

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT : BALD EAGLE

Bald Eagle

 

The Bald Eagle is one of the most recognizable and well known birds in the world, and when one catches a glimpse of this amazing bird it’s not hard to see why. I saw my first Bald Eagle in the wild just five years ago and I’ve been enthralled with birds ever since.

 

Bald Eagle

 

In 1782, the United States looked to nature for inspiration, and made the Bald Eagle it’s national bird. It marked the beginning of a tumultuous relationship between the country and this majestic bird. While many folks saw the Bald Eagle as a majestic symbol of freedom, others viewed it as a pest and a nuisance. Bald Eagles were often shot, and the trees where they had nests were cut down.

 

Bald Eagle

 

After World War 2, things got worse for the Bald Eagle. DDT use was widespread across the country, and the Bald Eagle population that was already in decline, plummeted. The pesticide made egg shells thin and frail, drastically reducing the number of hatching chicks. In the 1960’s, only 400 nesting pairs remained in the United States.

 

Bald Eagle On Nest

 

Yet the Bald Eagle also represents one of the better success stories for the United States. In 1978 it was put on the endangered species list and received protections. After the banning of DDT, their numbers started growing consistently and now one can find Bald Eagles in most part of the US. Taken off the endangered species list in 2007 these birds are faring very well!

 

Bald Eagle

 

Over the past two years I’ve had the privilege of watch an amazing pair of Bald Eagles in eastern Ohio as they pair bonded and nested. Those moments have proven to be some of the most memorable in my short five years of birding. Their nests are massive, and grow larger each year. A new layer of sticks, brush, and anything else these birds find useful is carefully and strategically placed each new nesting season.

 

Bald Eagle Pair On Nest

 

I watched as the Eagles bonded, often comparing it to human rituals. It was wonderful to watch them come together, preen each other, and even talk to one another. Like many other things about this bird, their call is something to behold. Unmistakable, I liken it to hearing a dinosaur. It is both beautiful and haunting at the same time.

 

Bald Eagle Chick

 

There are so many interesting facts and mannerisms about this bird that I could most likely write a book. However, this is a blog, so I’m going to wrap up with a little insight and suggestion. If you have the opportunity to go out and view these birds in the wild (and thankfully these days MANY of you do!) I implore you to do so. Some of my best time spent birding was observing this amazing bird. Learning how they feed, how they nest, their character. Their courtship rituals are among the most amazing in all the world, and watching them soar always brings a sense of wonder and inspiration. If you want to find these Bald Eagles, there are many resources available. But generally, head towards water. These birds love fish (and waterfowl I’ve come to find!) and always nest around rivers and lakes. Their nests are hard to miss, many weighing a ton or more.

 

Bald Eagle Calling It’s Mate

 

This September, Wildside will be going to Alaska on an amazing photo cruise! This is a once in a lifetime kind of trip and if you can make it, I promise you will not be disappointed. Check out the itinerary and be inspired by photos from previous cruises on our website! There’s just about no better place to view and photograph Bald Eagles than in Alaska. What an adventure! As always, be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram posts for daily updates on our current travels and amazing wildlife photos. We hope you love them as much as we love showing them to you! Have a great week folks!

GUIDES FROM THE WILD SIDE

  Greetings everyone! Another week has come and gone, and here we are for my next blog. After having such an amazing experience at the Biggest Week in American Birding, I thought I would create a new blog series highlighting our amazing guides and staff! From time to time I’ll be writing these blogs asContinue Reading

LOOKING BACK: THE BIGGEST WEEK IN AMERICAN BIRDING

  In my last blog, I wrote about the magic of the upcoming Biggest Week in American Birding festival. Looking back over that ten day span, it was a very big week indeed! From front to back it was an exciting, fun, and exhausting ten days.   While the Biggest Week in American Birding hasContinue Reading

LOOKING FORWARD : A VERY BIG WEEK

  In just a few days, birders from all over the world will converge on northwest Ohio. They will observe, photograph, and marvel over myriad spring migrants. Young and old alike will gleefully tick life birds off of their lists and share stories and photos of what they have seen.   The Biggest Week inContinue Reading

BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN: A STORY OF PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS

  With spring migration now well underway, I thought, what better subject for my next blog than the Prothonotary Warbler! One of the earliest of spring migrants, these bright yellow balls of awesomeness stole my heart years ago.     Magee Marsh and the black swamp hold a special place in my heart, as formativeContinue Reading

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: YELLOW WARBLER

  Spring has sprung! As we shake off the cold and welcome in warmer weather, I thought I’d share a story and photos of one of my favorite neotropical springtime visitors. The Yellow Warbler!     Each year I visit The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival along the northwest shores of Lake Erie. ThisContinue Reading

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: MEXICAN JAY

  As winter is leaving us, and we usher in spring, I am reminded of my trip to southeastern Arizona two years ago. I often long to go back to that area, as there were so many amazing things about it. One of my favorite birds throughout the entire trip, was the Mexican Jay!  Continue Reading

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: EVENING GROSBEAK

  One of the most colorful denizens of the north woods, Evening Grosbeaks are on many a birder’s target lists when visiting northern locations, and they’re a favorite of the locals. I’ve made two trips up to Sax Zim Bog, and they were high on my list for each trip!   While it can beContinue Reading

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: COMMON REDPOLL

  My father and I arrived at our first destination in northern Minnesota on a cold but sunny morning in mid February. Stopping in a church parking lot just east of Meadowlands Minnesota, we hopped out of the car to gear up as it was only 1 degree outside. Greeting us as we opened ourContinue Reading

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL

  Owls. There’s just something about owls. They are mystical birds that often capture the minds and hearts of all who behold them. They inspire a magical feeling within me, and while I am a nature lover in the most traditional sense, I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t have some favorites.Continue Reading