A Symbol of Freedom: The Bald Eagle

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Jan 22, 2009 | by Kevin Loughlin

Bald Eagle fishingWe have a new President. A shaking of hands, a few words spoken, and our former Commander-in-Chief peacefully relinquished his place as the “Leader of the Free World.”

The world is watching as history begins a new chapter for our country. The first minority, a man of color… of immediate African lineage is in charge of the United States of America. I hope this media title does not overshadow his important title of President. He is a person. The person for which our nation voted. Hopefully the person that will lead us out of the economic hole we are in.

Bald EagleAn appropriate symbol, the Bald Eagle’s range is restricted to North America. Bald Eagles takes about four years to reach maturity, going through several stages of plumage before becoming the majestic, unmistakeable, brown bird with white head and tail we all recognize. Interesting that our presidential term is four years.
During the 1970’s, Bald Eagles seemed to be restricted to Alaska, the only place where the effects of DDT were not as apparent. At the top of the food chain is where the deadly pesticide took its greatest toll, causing eggshells so thin that they cracked when the birds sat to incubate them.
Thanks in large part to Rachel Carson’s incomparable book, Silent Spring, conservationists and environmental leaders were able to turn the tide. With DDT banned, all raptors, especially Bald Eagles, began to make a comeback. In my home state of Pennsylvania in 1980, only 3 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles were found. From 1997-1999 the nesting pairs grew from 20 to 43. In 2005, 96 nests were recorded!
We have an eagle’s nest on the lake near our cabin in the Pocono Mountains. For the past eight years they have tended the nest, usually raising two young. Appropriately, the fledglings at “our” lake take their first flight around the 4th of July! It has happened too many times to be coincidence. 

Bald EagleOur recent, violence-free change of power shows the world that, like our national symbol, we are free. We are strong. We are capable of rebounding… making a comeback. Good luck Mr. President. With your leadership, like our Nation’s symbol the Bald Eagle, I hope we will soar to new levels of confidence, compassion, pride and prosperity.

All images taken by Kevin Loughlin using a Canon 30D and 40D with a Sigma 50-500 EX lens. Photos taken during our Wildside – Alaska Inside Passage Cruises.

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