The Eagle Has Landed…at the Holler!

I have never spotted a Bald Eagle in Hollerdom before so this was a most rockin, eagle-watchin, day!
I travel to Canada and Alaska to try to spot these beauties up close. Bald Eagle populations in Southern California have been decimated in the past decades from residual DDT, habitat destruction, and human persecution.
I know there are a few Bald Eagles in the area, but having never seen one here in my lifetime, today was an epic day!
This eagle is tagged with a number 83. As far as I can ascertain she may be an eagle bred in Channel Islands National Park as part of a Bald Eagle restoration study/project. I am not at all certain of this. If anyone knows the identity of this tagged eagle, and if she is from The Channel Island Project, please let me know.
The study reports Bald Eagle K83, tagged in Channel Islands National Park, was spotted in Mission Bay in 2012 which is around 75 miles from The Holler. Check out this table from the study and note eagle tagged K83:

Table 4. Status of bald eagles released or fledged from nests on Santa Catalina Island, CA prior to 2012 and seen
in 2012.

629-29499 F K-02 West End 2000 Alive, Lake Hemet, CA
629-02780 M K-10 Twin Rocks 2001 Alive, Pelican Harbor pair, Santa Cruz Is.
629-02793 F K-26 West End 2002 Alive, Pelican Harbor pair, Santa Cruz Is.
629-47371 F K-47 Seal Rocks 2004 Alive, Rattlesnake pair, Catalina Is.
629-47398 F K-56 Seal Rocks 2005 Alive, Pinnacle Rock pair, Catalina Is.
629-52425 M K-00 Pinnacle Rock 2007 Alive, Twin Rocks pair, Catalina Is.
629-52428 M K-73 West End 2007 Alive, Pinnacle Rock pair, Catalina Is.
629-52434 F K-03 Seal Rocks 2007 Alive, Lake Elizabeth, CA 3/8/12
629-52442 F K-83 Two Harbors 2008 Alive, Mission Bay, CA 3/7/12
629-52443 M K-88 Twin Rocks 2008 Alive, San Clemente Island 12/19/12
629-52446 F K-67 West End 2008 Alive, Santa Rosa Island 6/20/12
629-52449 F K-87 Two Harbors 2009 Alive, San Clemente Island 4/22/12
629-52450 F K-91 Two Harbors 2009 Alive, Catalina Island 9/12
629-03429 F K-97 West End 2009 Alive, Catalina Island 5/17/12
629-03431 F K-05 Seal Rocks 2010 Alive, Santa Cruz Island 4/20/12
629-04104 F K-15 Rattlesnake 2011 Alive, Catalina Island 9/28/12
629-04106 F K-12 West End 2011 Alive, Dillon, MT 2/18/12

Most of the eagles seemed to stay in the Channel Islands National Park as of this 2012 survey, but one was found all the way in Montana, another in Hemet which is a desert community in Central California, and K83 was seen in Mission Bay which is on the ocean in San Diego County.
I saw another Bald Eagle in the sky today, so there seems to be a pair!
I wonder what the Holler Hawks make of the Holler Eagles!
Cheers to you from the Holler Eagles and a very thrilled birdie photographer~
For a link to the study I found online, click on the link below. You will note that attempts to successfully restore Bald Eagles to Southern California has been challenging and difficult:

Click to access Montrose-bald-eagle-report-2012-final-031913.pdf

309 thoughts on “The Eagle Has Landed…at the Holler!

  1. Bald Eagles are so beautiful, unfortunately, we had several to die in Delaware recently but we also had the opportunity to watch the live birth of two in Philly. They had a camera trained on the nest and it was awesome!

  2. They are incredible creatures. I have never seen one, except in captivity, which bothers me like nothing else, but I would love to see one soar above me. Beautiful photos, Cindy!!

      1. she has such keen, intelligent, wise eyes…just something so alert, calm and judicious in her demeanor…u captured her so beautifully…I’m getting a new camera with a super zoom for my birthday tomorrow…I’m really looking forward to these kind of pics Cindy😍😍😍hopefully somewhere near as professional as yours

  3. Thanks for sharing these phenomenal moments with us Cindy! Number 83 is gorgeous!

    I haven’t seen a bald eagle this up close since the time I volunteered at the UC Davis raptor rehabilitation center some years ago. We sure are missing their presence here as video footage of them in Alaska reminds us of how plentiful they can and should be! I just love hearing their chatter! ~Lynn

    1. Yes, I have gotten very close in Canada and in Alaska, but here? I was just blown away! She is beee-yut-eee-ful! And there was another high up in the sky!

  4. Great photos of your handsome specimen! We had a pair circle over our house last week, close enough to throw a rock at ( not that we ever would!) but we didn’t get any photos of them.

    1. Oh wow, how wonderful! I just figured living near eagles was not in the cards for me. I don’t really want to reveal too much of her location as I am already feeling protective. I want her to live, and breed, in peace!

  5. What a glorious opportunity, Cindy! There are a few pairs who spend their summers near our cabin in northern Minnesota, and I treasure every chance I get to admire their elegance. I’ve wondered, a number of times, at the unfortunate decision to name them “bald,” for they certainly are not. The name tends rather to conjure up an image of a rather homely buzzard. Not that bald can’t be beautiful (thank goodness), I hasten to add!

    1. Was it because they looked bald from a distance which is probably the only way most people saw them back in the day? How wonderful to have two pairs by your cabin. Sounds glorious~

  6. What a magnificent creature! I used to dislike the idea of tagging wild animals, but tags for the restoration project gives me a different impression. It’s like a prayer, isn’t it? May this individual live, and let us know that it is doing well~ It’s would be awesome if you do have a pair of bold eagles moving in close to you!

    1. It would be incredible to have them nesting here. I will definitely be checking. I know, the tag bugs me to. I wonder if it bothers the eagle. It ruins the symmetry of her feathers and I wonder what it was like as she grew. But she has lived, and we can maybe identify her, Plus those wildlife biologists are saving eagle lives, like hers, in SoCal, so they have my support.

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  8. We saw some bald eagles in Lake Arrowhead last year. One resident’s dog was almost snatched from her by a bald eagle while she was trail hiking.

    1. I have heard two different explanations for this and so I combine them both. One is that in the old days bald also meant white, the other is that the white heads appeared bald from a distance, so I just combine both those explanations. The first one does have some merit because we have a famous Mt Baldy, which is always snowcapped.
      There were be a test on Monday, so please read this carefully! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  9. I can just imagination the excitement when you captured these images. And such a kind bird to help with perfect lighting. Perhaps a touch vain? Or am I doing the camera person a disservice, Cindy?!

    1. I think you are completely right on all accounts! Plus, she sat perfectly still long enough for me to click off around 50 carefully focused shots. I am sure she felt that was enough to ensure I got her best angles! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    1. I would be ecstatic if “a couple of owls” landed near me for 5-10 minutes. This has never happened to me. Maybe you give off owl positive vibes! Lucky you!

  10. I have chills. I can rarely say I know exactly what something feels like but I can still vividly describe the first time I saw a bald eagle in our town over a decade ago. The numbers are slowly increasing. πŸ˜€ Did you report the siting so that they can add you location to the list?

    1. I am going to. My son suggested I do so. This really was a major experience for me because it happened here. I have lived all my life in about a 75 mile diameter and I have never seen a bald eagle here. I knew a very few of them live in the area, but like a mountain lion, I never expected to see one. I am still completely stoked!

    1. I was wearing my lucky animal sighting shoes. Fashionista shoes, totally inappropriate for hiking. I wear them when I am not expecting to be following some animal through the brush. While wearing these shoes I am come upon a momma mouse with twin calves, a flock of around 50 sand hill cranes, and now K83! I gotta wear these fashion pumps while on serious hikes!!! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  11. Fabulous photos, they are such amazing birds. A North American bald eagle flew across the Atlantic and landed exhausted in Ireland back in 1987. It was found near the southwest coast after it had flown 3,000 miles across the ocean, with the help of strong winds. Astonishing but true. I remember watching it on tv at the time. Once the exhausted bird had recovered he was flown back in a plane – first class, I hope.

    1. Oh my God! What an incredible story! Truth is always so much stranger than fiction. Thank you for telling me! This may be part of the explanation for the eagle that flew all the way to Montana. He must have been surprised by all the snow and the grizzlies when he got there, considering he was Southern California beach-boy eagle! πŸ˜‰

  12. Major sweet! I would love to see a Bald Eagle some day too! What a magnificent bird! Sounds like the pair have independent spunk in leaving the National Park! Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. I think spunk is a perfect eagle descriptor. The Channel Islands are so incredible, but maybe the eagle just got tired of his relatives and needed some space! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    1. Yes. I go thousands of miles to see this species. Seeing her is like seeing a mountain lion, which I have never done, and I have lived in this area all my life. I know a few (eagles and lions) are here, but I never expected to see one. Quite an amazing day! Thanks for understanding~

    1. I can see it clearly in the zoom photographs. The tag has faded from orange to sort of a peach color and the digits 8 and 3 are broken up a bit but still fully legible.

    2. Ahh. The light colored area on the left wing/shoulder. I thought it was a light feather but now that I know what it is it’s obvious. Thanks.

      1. When I first saw the eagle on full zoom I saw this weird spot which made me think my lens had a problem. When I hiked closer, I could clearly see the tag, so I had to google the number to see if I could find any information. I could only find one lead online which was unusal.

  13. Such a well deserved privilege for you to have and boy, Cindy! You shared your lucky and rare photographs with us! Now, we are blessed, too. Happiness abounds when healthy eagle arrives. We have Eagles along two local reservoirs here in Central Ohio. I would not presume to try and capture photos but have dated a fisherman who saw Eagles while we fished and it did make a beautiful view in my “mind’s eye.” Free flying and soaring Eagles are such beautiful, majestic birds!!

    1. I watched eagles fish in Canada and eat their catch. I came upon a pile of fish bones and was puzzling over it, when an eerie feeling came over me. I looked and a very annoyed and very large bald eagle was glaring down at me. Needless to say, I got away from the bone pile and proceeded to watch Mama, Daddy and juvenile eagle enjoy a fish dinner! What incredible animals!
      You are so fortunate to have eagles where you live Robin. I would love to see them!

  14. What a marvelous experience–not too far from my small town is an area where we can view scores of eagles. It’s the most emotional of experiences to view such majesty in large numbers. But it doesn’t matter, because one eagle is a testament to Mother Nature magnificent glory. One eagle is enough to make smiles for the entire day.

    1. Seeing scores of them is something I would love to do. I went to the Tantalus Mountains to see the river where they congregate, but our timing was slightly off. It must just be incredible to see tons of them nesting and flying. How wonderful!

    1. Well this eagle was bred in Channel Islands National Park and spotted in Mission Bay in 2012. There is a population of bald eagles in Channel Islands which is definitely coastal SoCal, albeit offshore on the islands. I doubt this eagle stayed for long in Mission Bay, so I think you are correct.

  15. What GREAT photos you captured of this majestic eagle, Cindy!! You’re soooo lucky to have spotted her — I see hawks soaring overhead here quite often, but have only seen eagles in photos. No wonder it’s our national bird!!

  16. I bet you could hardly believe your eyes, Cindy! Hard to understand people harming these magnificent creatures, but I suppose they prey on flocks where they can.

    1. It is hard to understand a lot of the cruel things both big and small, that some people do, but heartening to also see how many people care and try to help. Happy weekend Jo!

    1. That would make me far more important than I actually am, but it is a nice thought. Maybe they didn’t see me as a big threat and that is cool enough for me. You should hop over the pond Graham and visit The Holler. I can show you rattlers, and roadrunners, hawks and Hollerites. You could come in the winter. It would stop you from getting homesick really quickly! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    1. There are a variety of non-bald eagles. At The Holler we have golden eagles, although I rarely see them. They call them bald because bald used to mean white, hence snow capped Mt Baldy. Also the white head in the distance can blend with the sky and clouds making them actually look bald. Juvenile bald eagles are brown speckled all over with no white cap so they shouldn’t be called bald at all!!! Glad I could complicate this for you! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    1. I got close to some in Canada and was acting full bore star struck. They are so numerous there that people were looking at me like, “Whats wrong with you? We have them all over the place.”

  17. Beautiful and breathtaking! I’ve seen eagles up close, all of my life, but there is just something about those magnificent raptors…and yes, they are scavengers too!
    I have a feeling that the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex is the original ‘velociraptor,’ LOL – they just kept on getting smaller as the Earth’s climate changed!

    1. I agree with you completely. Birds often remind me of feathered, flying dinosaurs, particularly the herons and egrets. I had a Great Blue Heron at the glass front doors of The Holler. I had no idea it was there, and as I was walkiing by, before my brain could process what it was, the message relayed through my cortez was, “There is a dinosaur at your door!”
      Considering the size and habits of this birdie, which stayed here for awhile, that initial assessment still seems right! It sure cleaned out our lizard and snake populations! πŸ˜‰

  18. Rich Proctor

    I love those magnificent birds. I consider it an honor just to be in their presence. This must have been an absolute thrill. Beautifully captured Cindy!!!

    1. Lucky you Resa and your Canadian eagles! Who expected to have some in Hollerdom? I used to have to travel towards you to see them. I am pretty jazzed! I am returning to Canada in the fall (of course, I do everyear) to hang out with the grizzlies during the salmon run on the Knight Inlet. I expect to see lots of eagles. I will try hard to act nonchalant (like a Canadian), since I have seen two at The Holler! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

      1. Are you going to Churchill to see the Polar Bears? They are now an endangered species, eating garbage from human waste bins. I’m so sad.

      2. You are psychic. We are going this fall to Knight Inlet to stay with the grizzlies. We have been before but not to stay in the Inlet. The following year (2017) we are either going to Churchill or Norway/Iceland to see the polar bears. I am researching and trying to decide now. Our sighting chances are better in Churchill and there are belugas and snowy owls.
        It is beyond disgusting what we are doing to the polar bears. We think we can kill off all these species and continue to live. We are too stupid to realize (hello Trump & Palin) that we are also killing ourselves, as they go, so do we. They are the canaries in the cave. Look at our cancer rates and look at our environment and our food.
        I just took photos last night of our “cage and cruelty free” local chicken farm smashing the chickens into crates for transport. They were packed in like sardines. About 40% were alive after the smashing, I photographed their eyes looking at me. Considering they are jammed so tightly into their cage free environment that they can’t move BEFORE this transport nightmare, are fed antibiotics, and God knows what else, it is amazing any human who eats this regularly doesn’t contract some chronic disease. If people drove by this like I do, they would be appalled.

  19. So exciting to see an eagle where none have been seen before. Restoration projects have been largely successful, thankfully. The CT river shed near me has seen their numbers increasing. I saw one in a tree last fall behind my house and I was jumping up and down, I was so excited, so I can imagine how you felt! The closest nest that I know of is about 20 miles away. Let’s hope you have a nesting pair there!

    1. Yes, and I saw them in the sky yesterday! Nothing like having them near, when they are so endangered here, to ramp up my protective feelings. It’s good this place is in the boonies.

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    1. Yes! It was such an incredible day. A bird person like you can fully understand how I felt. If they have a nest, I will give it lots of space. They are so very endangered here.

  21. Wow, I do not think of Bald Eagles in California, by why not? We have a breading region about 20 miles from us, in the Trough along the South Fork of the Potomac River (between Moorefield and Romeny, WV). As the region has become populated, they are moving our way. Two flood-control dams/resevoirs near us have been created in the past 15 years. These now have breading pairs of Bald Eagles. We see them pretty regularly now.

    As to the Hawks and Eagles, they eat different food sources. Hawks are superb hunters of rodents, as you know, while Eagles tend to go for fish (any year-round streams or ponds in your area?). Also, Eagles will eat dead stuff that Hawks bypass (e.g. road-kill, downed animals, etc.). This is one reason that Ben Franklin preferred the Wild Turkey over the Bald Eagle as our national bird. He had seen enough political-predators eating political-roadkill.


    1. I love the combination of tolerance (I know you are walking slowly towards me human and I will allow it) and disdain (but now that you have seen me I will never once acknowledge your existance!) Love her!

  22. Those piercing eyes are quite something….glad you got to meet this eagle. We’ve got quite a few bald eagles and a few rarer golden eagles in our county (VA mountains) but I rarely get close enough to them to get the really sharp pics I want.

    1. We have Golden Eagles too, more of them certainly than Bald Eagles. Still I have only seen them a few times in my life. They are all such impressive creatures!

  23. What a treat that must have been… We occasionally will get eagles around our place on Hood Canal, and when one is sighted we all flock out to see it. Majestic and beautiful, just as you have captured here. Wishing you a great week ahead Cindy ~

    1. I had a dream about the roadrunner last night. I wonder how Freud would interpert this, especially since he wouldn’t know what a roadrunner was! Maybe the eagle will show up at your place next Brenda. Look for number 83~

  24. Wonderful photos and news Cindy. I’m excited with you! I’ve only seen eagles from a distance. These close ups are fantastic and even better that they are surviving, and blessing your land. πŸ™‚

      1. We live at a large lake in Oklahoma in a migration fly way so we see lots of different birds. I don’t have the right kind of lens for my camera to get really good bird photos, but we have some priceless memories.

  25. These are such magnificent birds! We have a bald eagle colony at Jordan Lake, about 20 miles from where I live, There is an observation point from which you can watch them – they are very protected – but the spot is overrun with enthusiastic birders! Great close-ups!

    1. How wonderful! A colony would be incredible to see. I do not want to give any specifics on where this eagle is for just this reason. I don’t want her to be spooked away by people.

    1. Thank you, and you’re right about the hawks. They challenge everything in the sky out here including kites, balloons and drones, but challenge eagles? No way! πŸ˜‰

    1. I was using my SonyHX400 which has an adjustable up to 1200mm equivalent lens, but I was not at full zoom, except for the middle photo which ironically may be the best (most focused).

  26. Wow Cindy!! You must have persistence to be able to find a beauty like this. So majestic. I took the grand-girls to the zoo and we were fairly close to a bald eagle and it’s nest. We couldn’t believe how large it was. Thanks for your vivid pictures!!

    1. When you get close to a Bald Eagle you get this sense of contained power and mass. They are big, powerful birds. Magnificent creatures. So glad you saw them up close Rhonda~

  27. Have to wonder why people keep calling them “bald” ??? They’ve got feathers on their heads. I’M GETTIN’ BALD !!! Great pic’s though. πŸ˜‰ Hugs

    1. Awesome possum! The only thing that Hitch failed to do here was to model the hats, which is truly a shame. He may have lacked the, errrrrr, sexual confidence for that. He certainly does explain, with good reason, why the birds in his movie were so p.o’d with people. I watched every one of these shows several times as a kid. They are SO AWESOME! And “The Birds” was true brilliance! It really gave ravens a bad name, but Poe did that too!
      Loved this!! Thank you!

  28. Beautiful eagle protraits. I remember the excitement I felt the first time I saw an eagle near our home on the Chesapeake Bay. I’ll never forget it. And, your captured such beautiful images!

  29. Cindy, Great photos. I grew up on a farm in Virginia where we had resident eagles. Even as a kid, I was fascinated by them–and seeing them was always an event. One question: how were you able to determine the identification number.
    Merlinjr01 / Renaissance Musings

    1. Eagles are just incredibly thrilling to see, so I fully understand your feelings. I enlarged the photos, saw the number, and googled tagged eagles, and the whole amazing mystery unfolded, including where this eagle hatched and the program that enabled him to live and thrive!

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