President John Kennedy said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
A select few men and women have served in our nation’s armed forces and endured hardships that are impossible for others to imagine. They have done so with distinction and honor, preserving our freedom and shedding a light across the globe to help those in need. Today we honor them, remember them, and ensure that they will never be forgotten.
I thank all of my brothers and sisters in arms today for their service. It is an honor to have served this Great Nation with you and like you, I would do it again if called upon. God bless you all.
This gorgeous Bald Eagle is wondering why you are still at your desk and not already enjoying your weekend. Remember – It is 5:00 somewhere! Have a great one everyone and TGIF!
This young one was such a willing photo subject yesterday morning. If only the light had been better! It was heavily overcast early on and the lack of light did not do this series of images any of favors. Nevertheless, it was good to see the young one. I in fact saw a total of eight eagles yesterday, signs of them returning to the Colorado Front Range for the season.
A marked contrast in size between these two raptors to say the least. I was taking pics of the beautiful Bald Eagle when this young Cooper’s Hawk landed nearby. While I wish they were closer together, the image does do a nice job showing the difference in sizes between the two.
While the eagle has a wingspan between 6 and 7 feet, the much smaller Cooper’s is less than half that big. At one point the hawk gave me a wide-eyed look as if to say, “Check out how big that eagle is!” 😉
While not often seen, the Cooper’s Hawk is actually quite common. Typically associated with forests and woodlands, they have proven themselves to be very adaptable and indeed seem to thrive in suburban and urban environments. However, they typically opt to hang out within the cover of tree branches and leaves, not normally out in the open.
A very brave – or perhaps dumb – squirrel on this morning. Watching these two this morning was hilarious. The squirrel would approach and then the second the Bald Eagle looked at it, it would scamper back. The eagle would look away, the squirrel would approach. This went back and forth for five minutes. So funny! I shot mostly stills of the encounter but did switch to video briefly to capture some of it.
Finally! It had been more than a month since I had some quality time with a Bald Eagle and I was needing my fix. My first drive by to visit this common spot yielded nothing but when I returned an hour later, the female had arrived.
For about an hour she sat and posed giving me some great looks. Then, providing the proverbial icing on the cake, she launched into the air giving a fantastic series of captures including this one just as her talons released from the tree branch.
Bald eagles have been a spiritual symbol of Native Americans for hundreds of years. There were variations between tribes as to the eagles’ symbolism but for most it generally represented bravery, wisdom, strength and courage. It was believed that the eagles carried prayers to the Great Spirit.
Analysis indicates that Bald Eagle populations were as high as 500,000 in the lower 48 states before the arrival of Europeans. Adopted as the United States’ national symbol in 1782, there were only about 100,000 by then. Bald Eagle populations continued to decline in the 1800s due to loss of habitat and a corresponding loss of its prey.
It was said to be at the edge of extinction in 1940 and that was followed by the introduction of DDT, a pesticide which further threatened the raptor causing its eggs to have very fragile shells. By the early 1960s, there were a mere 487 pairs of mated eagles in the lower 48 it was declared an endangered species. DDT was banned in 1972 and since then the Bald Eagle has made an extraordinary comeback, being removed from the endangered species list in 2007.
The male Bald Eagle at my local nest on a cool, wet and cloudy day back in May. Light was horrible so I was relegated to slow shutter speeds and high ISOs but managed a couple of passable shots including this one.
It has been a couple months since I last visited this pair as they won’t really start hanging out at home until late winter. Nevertheless, I decided it was a good day for a walk and I went by today. No sign of them but I was glad to see the nest is still intact. Hopefully it remains so and they will again take up residence there.
One of my favorite couples gives us a nice look at them recently. It isn’t often you can get them close enough to each other with a relatively clear angle to capture them both at once so this was cool. This also gives you a good idea of the size difference between females (left) and males (right). When you see them separately, it is tough to tell the difference but side by side, it is clear which is which.
Have a great weekend!
So annoying to have this perfect angle and subject and then some smart aleck has to situate himself right in your picture. 😉 You could of course guess that in reality the situation was a bit reversed. I was taking pictures of this magnificent raptor when a small plane approached. I zoomed out allowing me to capture both. Have a great weekend!
Overcast skies don’t make for the best backgrounds but they do help to soften the light. Such was the case with this morning. The sun was coming up on the horizon as this beautiful lady sat taking in the scene. She was perfectly illuminated with the soft, golden colors and her pose perfect. Taken near Longmont, Colorado. Have a great weekend, everyone, and TGIF!