Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

The sound of dogs barking alerted Lizzie and I that something was afoot in the neighborhood. It is not unusual there are dogs barking in our neighborhood but something about the barking drew our attention.

While I listened to the barks trying to determine the reason for the upset, Lizzie let out a low growl which immediately grabbed my attention. Lizzie rarely vocalizes and very rarily growls. To my surprise, looking to where she was staring, thirty feet away, I saw a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). I regularly see them flying overhead but this was the first I have seen in our yard.

A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in our back yard.

Grabbing the binoculars, I saw it had been eating something. I could see blood in the snow and nearby what appeared to be the remains of an animal.

bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
To the left, the remains of a bald eagle’s dinner. And to the right, the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

After the eagle flew off, Lizzie and I investigated the site, where we found tracks, blood, fur, and various parts of an animal.

Remains of animal killed by bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Remains of animal killed by bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)


This weekend was a good weekend for observing raptors. On Friday, I noticed a large hawk high up in the branches of an oak tree. Using binoculars, I confirmed it was a rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus). Supposedly the rough-legged hawk winters here in Minnesota but I have only seen it in the spring as they pass through on their way to northern Canada.

The camera on my phone couldn’t do justice to this bird, so I downloaded the image below from Wikipedia.

A picture of a rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus)
A rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus).

I’ve occasionally observed sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) in our neighborhood and yard, but, last year, a pair of sharp-shinned hawks moved into the neighborhood and they returned again this year. While they are interesting birds to watch, I’m concerned they will scare off the chickadees, nuthatches, and other small birds that have made our yard their home.

Again, I couldn’t get a good photograph of the sharp-shinned hawks with my phone, so I downloaded the photograph below from AnimalSpot.

A picture of a sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus)
A sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus)

Later on Saturday, we were relaxing on the patio when a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) flew over head. When we moved into our current place, we rarely saw bald eagles flying over head. We now regularly see bald eagles flying above us.

The following photograph is from because I haven’t got a picture of a bald eagle flying over us.

A picture of a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in flight.
A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in flight.