We saw several perching and flying up and down the spillway on Friday and Saturday. When I write about my love for bald eagles, I always feel I need to clarify what I love about them because I am weary of the symbolism attached to them and the emptiness of the label “national symbol” while they are being driven to extinction. Yes, they are powerful, but they are also shy. I love their grace and their thoughtfulness. They are amazing parents who share equally in the responsibility and feeding of their young. They will sit on the nest protecting their young even when the very structure of that nest is threatened by blizzard or tornado. While I love these things about them, I must add that I am truly amazed and in love with all of nature. Every species is unique and wonderful. While I feel a connection to bald eagles that I cannot quite explain, it is not a longing to fly, a need to attach a “great nation” or power symbol to them, or a desire to watch them hunt and kill because “that’s cool.” Like many other nonhuman animals, they have meaning attached to them that I imagine they neither understand or care about. As we get further away from DDT (and a few other chemicals) and through conservation efforts, bald eagle numbers are increasing each year. While the return of bald eagles is amazing and should be celebrated, we must also keep in mind that it is only a matter of time before they are threatened again because we humans cannot seem to get it through our heads that we’re all connected. Professing to worship the bald eagle as a national symbol while poisoning the water and destroying habitat isn’t working out too well. Click on picture to enlarge.