Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the bald eagle.
Here in the Pagosa Springs area, we are very lucky to have bald eagles, our national symbol, around all year. They enjoy hunting the fish and waterfowl of our many mountain lakes.
Not the only large eagle to inhabit the area, the bald eagle can be confused with the larger golden eagle, and the two species often soar together. Adult bald eagles have a signature white head and white tail. Adult golden eagles don’t have any white on them. First-year golden eagles have distinct white patches on the underside of their wings and a white band at the base of their tail, whereas bald eagles younger than 3 years old are mottled white and brown all over.
In the last 40 years, the bald eagle made an amazing comeback from the brink of extinction. Between the banning of DDT and a crackdown on trapping and hunting the birds, the eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007. Bald eagles still are in danger from lead shot they ingest from dead carrion left out by hunters. Please consider using non-lead shot in your hunting rifles to protect these majestic birds from unnecessary and untimely deaths.
For information on local bird-watching events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.

This story was posted on December 30, 2018.