It's almost March and I don't know where the winter has gone. It's been a pretty brutal season for the eastern U.S. and I hope the worst is over for them. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I've always had a love for winter. I love the snow and though I sometimes dislike the lingering cold I try to embrace it as just part of this wonderful place that I'm lucky to live in (Full disclosure: I haven't as much patience for the hottest days of summer. Just ask my family!). When the weather is nice enough I love to put on my Yak Tracks and get out and walk the trails and take pictures of the beauty that is all around us.
My sisters and I were lucky enough to have had parents that taught us to appreciate and love the natural world around us. One of the things I love in the winter is the return of the Bald Eagle to much of the Midwest. I had never seen a Bald Eagle until I was in my late 20's. When I was a kid Bald Eagles were on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and the use of DDT which caused the thinning of bird of prey's eggshells, causing their populations to severely decline. Since the ban on the use of DDT in the 1970's, eagle populations are on the rise to the point that the Bald eagle has been removed from the Endangered Species List. Now, in this one spot there are dozens of them that stay the winter.
Today, I walked to a spot where the eagles congregate along the Iowa River. They seem to like this area, probably because fish are plentiful there near the dam. They're beautiful and majestic, but actually funny too. They engage with each other and sometimes seem to be playing games of tag in the sky. I never tire of watching them. I could have stayed for hours but the wind finally chased me away.