Bald eagles making a comeback in N.C. | Columnists

As an avid photographer loving nature and the outdoors, wildlife photography has given me many hours of pleasure. Photographing a bald eagle in the wild for the first time was an amazing experience.

My first encounter with a bald eagle came in June of this year in Stanly County. While walking through the woods a bald eagle flew from a tree, circled and landed looking directly at me.

Curious, I returned the next weekend hoping for the chance to get another picture. As I was getting close to where I saw the eagle I spotted what appeared to be a large nest.

Moving slowly, filled with anticipation I saw a young eagle in the nest estimated four weeks old. Not wanting to disturb the site I waited two weeks before returning. I was amazed how much the young eagle had grown at six weeks old.

My next trip I saw the eagle growing even more and had moved from the nest to sitting on a limb at eight weeks old. I return to get what would be my last picture of the young eagle before it left the nest at 10 weeks old.

My last visit to the nest was bitter sweet, as I was approaching the nest and not ready I saw the young eagle take to the air and fly away. Bald eagles are fledged and ready to leave the nest in 10-12 weeks.

I still see the young eagle as they will return to the nest for another 6-8 weeks. So the next time you are out for a walk slow down, look and listen you might be amazed as to what you will see.

Bald eagle population plummeted during the 50s, 60s and 70s due to large scale deforestation, trapping and hunting.

In the early 1970s pesticides such as DDT was washed into streams contaminating fish and other wildlife with harmful chemicals. When bald eagles ate the toxic prey they too ingested harmful chemicals, which caused them to lay soft shelled eggs that crushed under the weight of the nesting female.

It was reported that in…

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