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Wind turbines and fickled winds affect magnificent birds

Paul Carpenter — The Morning Call — January 6, 2014

The osprey swooped down to the surface of the water in the Florida Everglades to snatch a large fish, and then flapped its strong wings to regain altitude.

That was not what impressed my wife and me the most. In flight, the bird used its talons to twist and turn the fish until its head and body were aligned to be aerodynamic. Don’t ever try to tell me ospreys are not intelligent.

The first time we saw a bald eagle catch a fish, it was at Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River in Maryland, just south of the Pennsylvania line. The national symbol did not seem to care if the fish was aerodynamically positioned in flight, but there is nothing more beautiful than a baldy in action.

The bald eagle was nearly wiped out by the pesticide DDT, which made eggshells too soft for chicks to survive. By the early 1970s, there was only one nesting pair left in all of New Jersey, and America banned DDT in the late 1970s. Also, it became a serious crime to kill a bald eagle without a permit, with up to a year in prison.

According to a story in The Morning Call on Friday, New Jersey had 25 nesting bald eagle pairs by the early 1980s, and in 2013 there were record numbers of bald eagle (148) and osprey (542) nesting sites. Pennsylvania had 94 bald eagle nests in 2013, and other stories said we had up to 123 in 2007.

Pennsylvania’s most fantastic sightings of bald eagles and ospreys, however, are at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary near the juncture of Lehigh, Berks and Schuylkill counties. That is where thousands of migrating raptors can be seen at close range, especially when they head south in the fall.   Read full article here…..

Osprey (Stuart, FL., 1-08)

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