Janesville52°

Watching the majestic eagle

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Greg Peck
January 8, 2013

I sat stunned in a staff meeting a couple of years ago when Editor Scott Angus said he couldnít recall ever seeing a bald eagle in the wild. It reminded me how different our lives and interests are. Iíve seen dozens if not hundreds of eagles.

Iíve fished in Ontario perhaps 25 years and on about a dozen different lakes. Each time I go, I see eagles. One year, on Rainy Lake, we watched a dozen or more soaring in a flock for some reason we couldnít imagine.

An eagleís nest is a couple of blocks from my parentsí home in Minocqua, and I usually walk the pup under it each morning when Iím visiting to see if I can spot the occupantsóand often do. Another eagleís nest is across and just downstream from our Wisconsin River property near Muscoda. Often, Iíll see these or other eagles soaring or sitting on a sandbar.

When the sun is shining on those white heads, bald eagles are easy to spot and identify.

My wife, Cheryl, and I once joined friends in boating under an eagleís nest in the Chetek chain of lakes and watched as an eagle grabbed a fish out of the water. Heck, on my drive to Siren in northwestern Wisconsin for a Wisconsin Writers Association conference last spring, I spotted four eaglesótwo sitting in trees near the highway and two joining vultures dining on a deer carcass in a field adjacent to the road.

A story in todayís Gazette details upcoming eagle watching events in Prairie du Sac and Sauk City on the Wisconsin River, a new one in Kaukauna on the Fox River and two more in Cassville and Ferryville on the Mississippi River. Cheryl and I went to Prairie du Sac and Sauk City one recent winter to see the eagles, though if there were close-up viewing spots, we didnít pursue them after arriving late in the day.

Sometimes you donít have to venture far from home. Residents in the Janesville area have spotted and photographed an eagle wintering around here in recent years. If anyone has seen that eagle again this winter, I havenít heard.

Below are two photos I snapped in the last few years while fishing out of Pickerel Arm Camp on Minnitaki Lake near Sioux Lookout in Ontario. Janesvilleís Lee and Julie Edwardson own and operate the camp, and my friends and I are planning another trip there this July.

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Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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