It flew in from the north swiftly, through the trees, pitching and rolling ever so slightly as if feeling its way through the tangle, alighting finally atop an old willow, high above my head.

It was 7:00 in the morning, and the outdoor thermometer read 18°F. I was hauling out the trash, a chore I usually do the night before, but with Monday a holiday, I had got my days mixed up.

The sun had not yet topped the hill on the eastern side of the pond, and the predawn light was gray. Yet, peering up, I could clearly make out the white head and neck, the latter extended, no doubt for a clear view of the opposite shore.

My presence did not seem to be an issue. After several minutes of looking about, the great bird took off in a cloud of falling twigs, heading east across the pond. For a heavy bird flying in cold, lifeless air, this was labored flight, not the graceful soaring on high-altitude thermals for which it is famous.

Could I have muffed the identification? The light was poor and the bird high up in the tree. I confess, I didn’t get a good look at the wing shape or underwing color because it was flying low. Nor did I see the fluffy neck feathers as the neck was extended. What else could it have been, though, but an adult Bald Eagle, a bird of great size, with white head and neck, and gray-brown plumage? A friend tells me that she saw a Bald Eagle over the pond a few years ago, so there’s a precedent. If only I had taken my camera outside with me…if only. Still, I have the memory: I’ll never forget the thrill of that sudden, unexpected recognition.

Do you have an interesting wildlife story? Please feel free to share it in the Comment box.


4 Responses to Bald Eagle Sighting

  1. Robert and I saw two bald eagles, today, January 29th, at about 12:45 pm. Here’s a link to the pictures we were able to get. Enjoy:

  2. Dede Reade says:

    Good thing you picked the wrong day to take your trash out, Ron. I have not yet seen a Bald Eagle here since we moved onto the Pond 12 years ago. However, around the same time frame that Marc spotted the eagle here (didn’t think to note the exact date as I had not yet started doing a lifer list), I saw one along the banks of the Charles, on River Street behind the Shaw’s complex. Perhaps it was the same one heading toward the pond? It was my first and only Bald Eagle siting and of course I too did not have my camera with me, which I cursed myself for days afterwards. Now I never go without it and my bird book in my car. Although I was so in awe, I’m not sure even if I had it I would have had the sense to take a picture.

  3. Becca Kaufmann says:

    I too saw the Bald Eagle. It was my third time since we’ve moved here in 2008. My most recent sighting was this past week. I saw it flying into the treetops in my neighbors yard. It caught my eye because I thought it was a heron it was so big. It wasn’t perched for more than 5 seconds when it flew off – what a sight to see.

  4. Marc Rudnick says:

    I witnessed the previous Hardy Pond visit from a Bald E – it was on 1/28/2006. I was talking to my father on the phone looking out the window and the Eagle grew from a dot over the low saddle south of Windsor into an unmistakable huge black and white wonder. I dropped the phone and ran to the window gobbling up view for probably less than a minute when the eagle flew off. I hear they hang around the islands in the Charles River near the Newton/Waltham line.

    There were two foxes scampering and playing in the middle of the (finally and momentarily) frozen pond yesterday morning, Monday Jan 23.

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