Creature Feature: The Eagle Tree

     On the winter’s solstice, I walked through Beverly Triton Nature Park in Edgewater. Previously, I had seen one or two eagles around the edges of the park but on that special day, I counted a full dozen—a mixture of white-headed adults and darker juvenile eagles. 

     They were located around the pond in the middle of the park and seven were sitting in one tree. 

     Usually bald eagles are not too social and maintain a wide personal space. In areas where food is plentiful like the Chilkoot River in Alaska or the Conowingo Dam here in Maryland, the eagles will tolerate being close. 

     Ice forming on the shallow water of the South River on a falling tide will trap and kill fish. Several eagles will show up together to pull the fish out. 

     I tried to evaluate what brought the Beverly Triton eagles together that solstice day. The day was cold and a thin layer of ice was on most of the pond. A few of the usual mallards and mergansers were in the center of the ice. I did not see any fish and the eagles did not seem to be actively feeding. 

     I would guess that the eagles had been duck hunting very early in the morning and were spending time soaking up the sun. They appeared to be two family units. 

     I have visited the park twice since then, but have seen only a solitary eagle.