Bald Eagle

The emblem of our great nation, the Bald Eagle was nearly driven to extinction due to exposure to a chemical called DDT, used frequently in the mid-1900’s to control insect pests. However, the Bald Eagle has recovered tremendously, and now nearly 400 Bald Eagle pairs nest in Iowa each year!

More information

See the Bald Eagle's profile on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

Photo credits

Cover photo: By Ken Thomas via Flickr

Collage Photo (above): By Richard Crossley (Richard Crossley) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons




In 2004, there were 7 bald eagles spotted in the Lake Cumberland area. 

In 2014, there were 28 counted. 

This is the best news I have read all year. 

Mostly because I know now that you weren't lying.

"Just look at the white," you pointed.

Driving gravel on an arctic Sunday, 
we came up over a crest and saw blood 
smeared across the snow, gore 
lining the muddy road through the field,
and three young eagles tearing apart 
two deer they'd either found or killed.
Mom and dad hung back on the hill,
watching us slow to take pictures 
of their gigantic babies, bibs and beaks 
red as the partridge berries that popped 
from those ditches in March, spiked head 
feathers fanned out, lethal goofballs
babble and bawk-bawking. "Family day," 
you declared. "Better than a trip 
to Disneyland if you're an eagle," I said, 
squinting into the white horizon for more 
witnesses, more spring, more life.

She was almost gone at that point, 
enough so we could start to make plans.

Bright for a February near Fish Town,
Skagit Bay another sun on the earth 

shining upwards. On our way for groceries, 
we saw one eagle in a field, then another.

I had never seen two bald eagles together
like that, and it felt like I sign, something

that would shift things forever, but it wasn’t
really, it was just a moment, dad and daughter

pulled over in the car, silent and breathing 
for an singular instance before all we knew

took flight.


Ever so amazing
As chill as ice
Living to the fullest
Eye-sight of a telescope

Coming to eat
Getting food for babies

The beak is yellow

The birds name is Bald Eagle
They are really big

Birds are the streaks in the sky.
Their beauty is not a lie.
As they are good pets.
They always have no regrets.
And are never to be tied.

Eagles are eagles not seagals or beagles.
Their big birds not wig birds, their cool birds not pool birds. Their awesome like a flower blossom. Faster than a plane faster then a crane, faster then a blimp and their not a wimp!

Eagles are swag, their internet doesn’t lag. They can watch a filthy prank, their internet is the top rank. Their internet is faster than light, if 20 people are on, their is no fight

Bald eagles are brown
bald eagles like to eat fish
bald eagle power!

Gliding across the river, looking for my prey,
Hoping for some dinner, on this hot summer day.

Looking at the water, looking for my dinner,
Wondering if I can eat, if I’ll be a winner.

Seeing a fish, diving down I go,
People look at how fast I am, but no one would really know.

Keeping my eye on it, diving towards the water, 
Waiting for the sound of it, waiting for the slaughter.

Into my mouth it goes, feeling its’ slimy gills, 
Wiggling in my beak, feeling all my thrills.

Silently dying in my mouth, death is coming soon,
I get dinner tonight, the first one in early June.

A snow capped mountain,
Perched high in a tree.
A pair of telescopes,
Adorned with feathers are thee.

A skydiver taking the plunge,
An ear deafening screech.
A murderer on the loose,
No barriers it must breach.

A kite soaring high,
With no tether to reel it in.
A father, a mother,
Providing for its kin.

Brown and white blur diving from the sky,
Majesticness is what they defy, 

Yellow beak ajar,
Falling like a shooting star,

About to forcefully hit the ground,
When, with a great swoop of his wings, he turns around,

Never to die,
Always to fly,

Bald Eagles, the great predator of all

black and white feathers
winter time they come around
very fierce they are


Birds matter

My feathers are the blood of the Shepherd, 
I His messenger. Hear the heralds praise and rejoice,
for wisdom is deposited onto earth

in a downpour with thunder 
or by the glaze of slow-melting dew, 
hammered like hail 
or through the soft caress of sheer mist

Droughts can blossom in spring
and so can hope in winter. 
Misery plights those as the locusts did in Egypt, 
yet we heal through death; 
grow through decay. 

Winds lift me through His grace 
and by His name
I sing psalms of great faith,
“Love does not abandon you.”

Piercing, raw wind
bites at cherry cheeks.
Fingers cold, numb, tingling.
Frozen teardrops.

Eagle flies into view.
Adrenalin rush.
Blood surges.
Breathing halts.

Camera clicks
to catch the moment 
as he soars, plunges
and grasps a fish
in his enormous talons

Spudge contemplates
the statuesque 
visage on a high limb
above the river.
The white hooded
gangster spies the Spudge
along the shore.
Trout dog, anyone?

Thermal hurtles up, 
a cork popped, then
fall like a slingshot-
flung stone on a fish. 
Claws caught in gills,
the lock down.

Dumb bird, sitting on a wire, my dad saw one get shocked.
Favorite bird, wings spread, my papa likes them too.
You say Eagle, I say no. No eagles. 
I don't know. They're birds. 
They make a nest in my yard. Every spring they have babies and you can hear them screeching.
I like the way they sound.
We see eagles everywhere. They are like flies around here.

Messenger to Father Skye
Magnificent creature
National emblem
Once endangered
Now common
Bald Eagle
Decorah cam
Power lines
Lead poisoning
Wildlife Rehab.
How sad!!!!

The duende here is that Donald Trump will never be as cool as a Mongolian Teen Eagle Trainer and Huntress who is somewhere in Mongolia, dreaming of Eagles and love as any young person does. She does not see her birds in the White House, ready to forcefully perform any nationalist duties. She sees the mark, and makes the call and everyone is set free.

Ben Franklin, how did you
know the imposter lurked
under the ignoble feathers 
of the “bird of bad moral character”
Was it the thin white comb-over?
Why not the turkey, cried Ben, “true original native”
a more fitting symbol of this great nation 
Instead we hail
a scavenger, opportunist, carrion eater, bully
Fact: the calories obtained from a deer carcass is
often lost from fighting over it
Fact: a hungry eagle can be dragged 
underwater by a fish it refuses to release
Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq
Eagles soar worldwide
Fact: only one out of eighteen attempts
at attacking prey is successful
Emblem of America
Ben, no question

When a metaphor hatches
from ether to the real world,
those who need poetry most
wake to a bird in their bed:
a mess, little sticks and strands
of ratty yarn everywhere.
The bird--let's say it's an Eagle--
squawks, beak opening and closing
like a machine that constantly needs
filling, its sole purpose
emptiness that empties
the rest of the world
into its dark belly. 
The irony here, of course, is that birds fly,
sometimes diving at the heads
of presidential candidates.
Heaviness flying: why, that is the metaphor
of our generation.
I mean literally: steel-bolted wings 
stenciled with DO NOT STEP
stole the blueprints from evolution--
those cathedral-boned birds--
and tossed themselves like stones
into the air, defying physics, as if to say
"ha--you, Nature, betrayed your magic
and now we'll harness it, soar
ever upward, converting fumes to gold."
Stones flying. You went to sleep
with a nest full of boulders, woke
to broken eggs--some hatched,
some yolks.
My great-grandmother, born in 1898,
saw Model-T's grow wings and carry
their heavy cargo
aloft over two World Wars.
We gulped up the fullness of the earth
(its worms, if you will--imagine, though
that you love worms) until it was empty
then burned it all
up over the wild blue yonder,
never once looking back
with our beady, beady eyes.

Still we
Did not expect it

Talons beat talent
By a long shot 
Or a small margin
Who cares when you're caught
In this coal mine 
With the canaries
And the bald eagle
Says deeper, deeper
Til we're all buried