Eagle above

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That distant, tiny dot above the tree horizon is something special.

Friday afternoon I was walking here on River Road in Sewall’s Point, just a few blocks from home, when I heard an Osprey screaming. It flew over my head, chased by a slightly larger bird.

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They circled back around and passed over again, Osprey in the lead, distinctive black and white bird on its tail.

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Bald Eagle!

My guess is that the Osprey had a nest with chicks. I think they stayed safe.

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I was super-excited to see a Bald Eagle. I wished there were other people around too I could yell and point at the sky, “Bald Eagle!”

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But at least I had my camera so I could point and shoot and share it later.

What a bold, beautiful bird.

Raptors at TCWC

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Members of Audubon of Martin County visited the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center to learn about raptors yesterday, out in the wilds of Palm City, Florida.

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Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk.

Injured birds and other animals are rehabilitated and released, when possible.

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Crested Caracara is a “falconized vulture,” we learned, and a clever bird.

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Pelicans had their own swimming pool.

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Gracie the Bald Eagle has lived at the center for many years. She is missing part of a wing and will never fly. She fell or was pushed from her nest when she was barely a fledgling and a local rancher found her.

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This falcon is probably a hybrid between a Peregrine and a Tundra Falcon and was probably being used for unofficial falconry when rescued from someone’s garage, according to center director Tim Brown.

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This bird does not seem to mind being handled and seems tuned in to Tim.

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Nice tattoo. I think he likes raptors.

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Beautiful feathers.

The visit was a good chance to get close to some amazing birds, though a little sad too to see them tethered or caged instead of flying free and healthy.

“Most of the birds are here because they got a little too close to humans,” said Tim, “so we think it’s right for humans to try to help them.”

A bird from my bigger “backyard”

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Sunrise Hampton Beach, N.H.

My husband and I went out for a bagel and coffee at Jumpin’ Jacks Java yesterday morning. Great beach views from their front windows on Route 1A/ Ocean Boulevard.

A little bit later we were driving north along the coast and saw a couple of crows mobbing something at the top of an evergreen tree in North Hampton, just across from the ocean on the Little Boar’s Head promontory.

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It was a bald eagle! I have seen them over the Merrimack River and Great Bay in winter, but never in (my town) North Hampton.

A local birder reported 3 others in the area yesterday too.

Looks like the good trend continues…

Concord Monitor last February: Bald eagles enjoying resurgence in N.H.

During a January bald eagle count, volunteers with New Hampshire Audubon set a new state record. On Jan. 12, they counted 67 eagles in five regions, the most in one day in the event’s 30-year history. The previous high was 61, which had been recorded three times since 2008. Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15 volunteers counted 83 birds, one shy of the state record for the annual two-week watch.

“The bird is finally almost fully recovered from a real depressed population back in the 1970s,” said Chris Martin, a senior biologist and predatory bird specialist with New Hampshire Audubon.

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Based on the annual mid-winter counts, the number of bald eagles in the state has doubled every decade since 1983, when volunteers tallied only seven birds. In 1993, 21 eagles were recorded. Ten years later, 40 birds were spotted. While the numbers aren’t definitive, organizers use a consistent number of volunteers to check the same areas at the same time of year.

“I’m not saying there are exactly 67 bald eagles in New Hampshire. There are clearly more than that,” Martin said. “But by using the same method every year, we see where the numbers are going, which reflects the population throughout New England is recovering and growing in a big-picture way.”

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Eagle flies away. Nice talons.

More photos from our January Saturday morning on Flickr.