Blog

Fire and Loss

4/10/2018

Wow, where do I begin? And how do I convey what I found over Easter weekend 2018 at an Eagles nest that I visit only occasionally. Straight out what I found was a burned up forest.

This nest is home to a mating pair of bald eagles with eaglets in the nest. (I posted a story on these two eagles on my Instagram page November 17th, 2017 - just about 5 months ago).

This nest pictured above, prior to this photo, was literally undetectable from almost anywhere in this forested site. It took me days of hiking around to find it for the very first time. To preface, I was in this dense locale photographing and attempting to document a pair of great horned owls with two newborn owlets in an old abandoned shabby pine tree nest. I would watch, in a territorial power play, the eagles fly an east-west pattern near the owls nest daily. It made me wonder where the eagles were living. With snake books and hiking gear I set out on a trek to find the eagles. Hidden in a remote low lying area I finally spotted a camouflaged, mega-huge, sturdy nest built high up in a tall pine tree full of green pine needles, canopied and lush. These eagles had found their utopia. These parents were alone deep in the woods and any movement near their nest sent them blaring out alarm calls. Photographing the nest was never an option so I decided to only check in on them for personal updates like, after severe storms, hurricanes, breeding season, to make sure they were there and safe.

So you can only imagine my horror when I arrived at the burned out pine land forest. As I walked in closer, which was a breeze now, I photographed the fully exposed nest. No canopy, burned trunk, bare branches...I waited and waited for any sign of life and then with an Oh My God feeling, a juvenile head popped up from the darkened diminished pile of twigs. Amazing I thought! Within a half hour, one parent made a fly by. I took a couple documentary photos and left them to be.

I don't know who was responsible for this burn but the loss of wildlife in this acreage is heart breaking. A coyote den, a rose-breasted grosbeak nesting area, many migrating species feeding on grasshoppers and other insects, and small ground animals are all gone. Including the ground nest of the mating pair of great horned who had owlets.

Life in the wild is mighty tough and humans aren't helping like we should. 

#YearOfTheBird

©MarcHarris/MarcHarrisWildlife