Well Hello, Baldy

Posted by Rebecca

So, I had an interesting Saturday morning.  It started out like an ordinary Saturday with a short run at Virginia Lake, a small man-made lake less than a mile from my home and right in the middle of Reno.  But this time turned out to be a little different….

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I was running along, top-speed, like a bullet train, setting new world records….  Not really.  I was moseying along at my usual running pace, trying to stay out of the way of toddlers and the elderly who were passing me, when I came across a small group of people with their eyes fixed high up in a tree.  As I got closer one of them told me that, lo and behold, there was a Bald Eagle up there, just hanging out.  Wowza!

I was so excited!  I’m not much of a bird person.  I mean, I like birds, but most days I can’t tell the difference between a sparrow and a chicken.  However, when I glanced up and caught sight of ol’ Baldy, I knew immediately that I was looking at 1 of only about 18,000 that can be found in the lower 48.  And in the middle of the city, no less.  AND I was standing right at the bottom of the tree where it was scoping out its next meal (or maybe just laughing at the lousy runner struggling by).

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The Bald Eagle is a special bird.  While it is no longer on the endangered species list, as I mentioned, there still aren’t an awful lot of them around, and it’s the only eagle that is unique to North America.  And they’re big – averaging 30-37 inches in height, with a wingspan of about 72-90 inches.  They are found mainly on the coast or in the vicinity of a large lake – not rinky-dink Virginia Lake – and they like to eat fish, but will also settle for other birds and rodents, and maybe even an unfortunate cat or chihuahua.

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So this was a rare and exciting sighting, indeed.  And it made for a way-better-than-usual Saturday morning jog.

Rebecca Knabe

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14 thoughts on “Well Hello, Baldy

  1. I am so happy for you, they are an amazing sight. Several years ago, the husband of my good friend called me and simply said “get over here now” and hung up. I flew fearing someone was seriously injured, when I got there my friend smiled and remarked she hadn’t expected to see me. We both looked at her husband and asked why, he said “just wait” A little while later he pointed up and said “now” He called me over to witness a mother bald eagle who was teaching her little one’s to fly. I’ve never forgotten that moment. Where I live now, just a few miles from their home, we have one that flies overhead and sits up in the trees over the apartment almost daily. Everyone comes out to watch.

      • It may return to that spot frequently if the locals don’t interfere too much so you may still have your chance. Around here, when people learn they have a nesting bald eagle they keep the news quietly between those they trust to not spread it around to allow the eagles to have peace and stay.

      • Apparently it has been on the lake for about 10 years, but is rarely sighted. I found that out on Saturday. I’ve been going to that lake for 8 years and hadn’t heard that before. I guess it has mastered the art of living incognito!

  2. Being from Alaska and seeing a million of them on a daily basis, I *still* think it is so cool to see eagles and think it’s special! That is so awesome that you saw one on your run!! They’re such pretty birds! (Also because of being from AK, it is so weird to me to see your photos of an eagle sitting in a pine tree of some sort. We don’t have that type in my part of the state! :D)

      • They are scavenging birds! You see them a lot around the fish processing plants and streams where salmon are spawning and dying. They are always just kinda out and about, though. It’s neat to go fishing sometimes because if you get a fish you’ll notice a couple eagles in the trees and they’ll be waiting. If you gut the fish quickly you can hold it above your head and wave it a bit to get their attention. They’ll often start flying toward you and when they get close you can toss it to them and they’ll get close to you and swoop by and get it from right next to the boat! It’s pretty neat.

  3. I love having my first comment eaten! ;o)

    Being from Alaska and seeing a million of them on a daily basis, I still think it is so cool to see them! They are such awesome-looking birds and I still think it’s special to be able to witness one. Looking at your photos, it’s so weird to me to see one sitting in a pine tree of that sort, because we just don’t have those in my part of the state. Congrats on your extra-special run!

  4. There have been several sighted here (Bodega Bay, CA) as well. I understand they’re nesting here and quite happy. We get quite giddy here in CA when we see bald eagles. When visiting my cousin in Alaska we saw dozens on the beach . . . quite an overwhelming site!

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