Bald Eagles get all the limelight. If you have ever seen one flying along or as I spotted, effortlessly swoop down and grab a fish with its mighty talons, it just makes your heart skip. And if you have been to Eagle Festivals in the past, and get a chance to be up close at the indoor exhibits; they will stir your soul just gazing at their majesty.
WE ARE NOW THE ONLY EAGLE FESTIVAL IN NEW ENGLAND. And it is hoped that more and more visitors come and brave the frigid weather to see them up close along the Merrimack River and indoors at the Audubon Center, the Parker River Wildlife Center and at City Hall.
I hate to be mercenary but I love to get thousands into the City. Sure, they don’t spend a lot of money like heritage tourists. (You wouldn’t spend a lot if you just paid $2,000 plus for a fancy binocular-camera setup!) Sure, their eyes keep being fixated into the sky and not on our Downtown. But more outside visitors means more people experiencing the jewel we call Newburyport.
LET ‘EM COME!
But as we get all excited, we need to highlight the minorities* amongst us. These dark headed cousins of the Bald Eagles spend just about the whole year in and around Newburyport. They are more versatile and acrobatic and I may say, more hard working! They also inspire us with their power and majesty! They are even larger than bald eagles.
But the terrible fact is they are so neglected, people forget they call Newburyport home!
There are way too many a______s in this world so I won’t tell you where they nest but they are everywhere! And yet they are totally ignored.
Just this last summer, I was coming out of the Alden Merrill bakery when all of a sudden I looked up and saw the most amazing thing. Two large eagles locking their talons together high above and then plummeting to earth in a whirling motion as they did their breathtaking mating dance. Then they just broke off near the ground and in a grand manner swept up into the air again. Then as I got into my car and drove to the intersection of Graft and Low, they swooped down from a far height swept across my hood and over my windshield. I couldn’t believe I was experiencing this. Whether they are fishing at the Artichoke Reservoir or hunting at the Great Marsh; these magnificent birds need to be seen in person.
You don’t have to go to the Grand Canyon to see these birds in action. You don’t even need to see them on some nature show – you can watch them here. If you want to catch site of them, some possible locations:
1. The Artichoke River
2. The Common Pasture
3. The Lord Timothy Industrial Park
2. Maudslay State Park
3. Along Route 1A heading south toward the Parker River
4. Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Area
I can’t guarantee you will see them. I have found that taking the Eco-tour boat on the backside of Plum Island during the summer is probably the one time you can get a plethora of them. I was on one tour, and all I did was watch them hunt and swoop.
The chances are you won’t see one at the Festival. In the meantime, here is a bit-long video for a close up view:
I think it is time to give them equal treatment! They deserve it.
* Where is the sense of humor on the Internet? I’m not making light of MLK Day!