Monday, February 16, 2009

Pennsylvania Bald Eagle

Canon 30-D: 500mmF4-1.4 extender- ISO 125- 1/320 sec. f5.6

Years ago it was unheard of to see Bald Eagles in Fulton County, Pennsylvania. They were the subject of much folklore. According to these tales, eagles were fearsome birds. In the most frightening of these tales an eagle carried a young lad named "Dave" away to their nest and raised him as an eagle. His name became "Eagle Dave". I think the purpose of the story was to frighten naughty children, who were apt to roam too far from the farmhouse, into staying close by where their parents could keep watch over their actions.

It is generally accepted that using DDT to control insects, and pest was responsible for the decline in eagle numbers, not to mention that they were often shot on sight because of the perceived threat from them. Eventually DDT was banned, strict penalties were imposed for killing eagles, and populations slowly recovered.

I saw my first eagle in the county in the late 1980s or the early 1990s. The resident eagles are ordinarily very shy and fly before one can photograph them, unless they settle for long distances shots. I have met with some success filming them at George B. Stevenson Dam in Northern Pennsylvania and did get decent footage of an immature eagle at home a few years ago, but these shots were the result of using extremely powerful telephotos on video cameras, which are capable of delivering acceptable results at much longer range than still cameras.

Not until yesterday, was I able to get close enough to a local eagle to get a decent still photograph.

Canon 30-D: 500mmF4-1.4 extender- ISO 125- 1/320 sec. f5.6

Today I was able to get much closer and took my best Bald Eagle photographs to date.

Canon 40-D: 500mmF4 ISO 200-1/1000 sec. f5

This bird was staying in the area because it found a dead whitetail deer that had been washed to the shore of a small stream by high water , and was utilizing it as a food source.

16 comments:

ASH's Eye said...

WOW! That's superb!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It is a pity they did not find out how harmful DDT was until not too long ago. Here it has been banned for many years too.

At one stage we used to go a lot to a small coatal town and the cousin of the Bald Eagle is our Fish Eagle. At first there was only one breeding pair, then another, then another. Now it is a dream to go there and see them all flying around. Waking up to the sound of them calling has got to be the most beautiful sound in Africa.

These are fantastic shot Willard. They are beautiful birds.

Sara G said...

AWESOME photo's Willard! I seen my very first bald eagle in the wild while on a trip to Iowa over Thanksgiving. WOW, they are awesome.

Ken Conger Photography said...

Eagles are such majestic birds and always a pleasure to see let alone photograph. Congrats on your capture. Blue Skies.

Stacey Huston said...

So glad you got the opportunity to get these pics Willard. Good to see these beautiful birds returning to areas where they have been gone for so long..Thanks for sharing.

Philip said...

Your persistance paid off these are fantastic shots !Willard and great to see them returning to their rightfull place !

Bradley Myers said...

Great shots and story Willard. The last photograph is just fantastic and tack sharp. I am assuming you are sitting on the whitetail to photograph and or video tape the Eagle feeding?

Abe Lincoln said...

Those are stunning animals. I just read that a pair of Golden Eagles have been spotted building a nest south of where we live but it is quite a drive to get there for me.

Abraham Lincoln

Shellmo said...

Congraulations on these photos! The last one was my favorite - he appeared a bit more realxed but still majestic. I photographed one this weekend I'll post - not as good as yours - he was far away.

Ranger said...

Willard: Great Photos. Can't wait for the next opportunity to shoot with you. Ranger

Carletta said...

Stunning Willard!

DeeMom said...

Stunning pictures and the last one is stellar to be sure.
Sorry I have not visited you in quite some time. I’ve not forgotten about your blog. I will return early April. Hope to have some great pictures and stories to share.

Beautiful Creation said...

Wonderful photos! They are so majestic.

MicheleRF said...

Excellent! I've been trudging up to the eagle's nest by my house every weekend for a month now and every time I'm heading up the creek they are flying down:( I need to get my timing better. It is wonderful to see them in flight though.

fishing guy said...

Willard: What great shots of the Bald Eagle you captured.

Leedra said...

Congratualtions on the close ups of the Eagle. Gives me encouragement to keep trying.

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