I had eye surgery a couple of years ago and I have been thrilled with how my vision has improved. Not only can I see better than I have ever seen, but I see distance better than many other people can see. I struggle to see things up close, but for distance it is fantastic! For someone who loves to spot wildlife, it has been an absolute joy and sometimes my husband will ask me to use my eagle eye to read something in the distance that he is struggling to see.
An eagle can see four to five times further than most of us can. They are amazing creatures and I was thrilled when on our second weekend at the cottage I got to witness a bald eagle swoop down and pluck a fish out of the lake. It felt like I had just won the lottery to witness that happening in the wild! I had seen bald eagles in captivity before, but never in the wild.
Since then we have had glimpses of bald eagles, but we had a real treat one day when we took our kayaks out into the lake. We got to see not one, but two bald eagles sitting in a tree and were able to get quite close. We then watched while a small bird chased one of them off, while the other stayed glued to its perch.
They are huge birds and have a wingspan of just over two meters. I was surprised to see they are listed as a species of special concern in Ontario. They are not endangered or threatened, but have been identified as having the possibility of that happening. They were almost wiped out in some areas because of pesticides such as DDT. It caused the shells of their eggs to become thin and break. Today they are impacted by development of shoreline habitat and pollution.
Eagles have about 7000 feathers and although we have found a number of feathers on our property, I think they were mostly wild turkey feathers. I think I might have found a red-tailed hawk feather one time too.
Apparently, it is against the law to pick up an eagle feather and take it home unless you are of Native American ancestry. You could face fines up to $100,000 and a year in prison if you possess an eagle feather. It does seem excessive to throw people in jail for bringing home a feather. However, I guess there is no easy way to determine how people obtain feathers. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a pact signed by USA, Canada and Mexico to prevent the killing of birds by plume hunters. As I can’t tell what bird a feather belonged to, I had better just leave them where they are!