The adult Bald Eagle begins fall migration when the northern lakes and rivers freeze over. Depending on their location, they migrate to the coast, large rivers near dams, or just about anywhere that the water doesn't freeze. Wind currents play a large role in the direction they take.
We are lucky in western Pennsylvania in that we usually don't have long freezes causing our Bald Eagles to leave. In fact, we have enough open water in the form of streams and rivers, that many eagles from the north stop here to live until spring. In recent years, there have been many eagles perched along streams below dam breasts. If there are public lands or a road nearby, people can also be found photographing them.
This next group of photos were made in Mercer County along a stream where eagles could be seen on a daily basis.
This adult watches as a nearby juvenile feeds on a fish.
Once they reach this point of maturity, their white head feathers will fill in quickly.
Over the years, I have grown to like juvenile Bald Eagles. They don't have the impressive white head and tail of an adult but they do have that same intimidating look.
Another juvenile tearing apart a small remaining part of a fish.
In the afternoon, an eagle can sit in one spot for hours making a photographer wonder if they should move on or wait it out.
"The Thinking Bridge" I need one of those once in a while!
Finally, ready to go!
Late winter is also when Bald Eagles in western Pennsylvania begin to plan for their nesting season. Instinctively, they begin to shore up their nests with additional sticks. I was photographing this nest after an invitation by my friend Jake Dingel. We watched as this male flew back and forth a few times to bring back sticks.
Off to get one more stick!
He's back with another. It looks like there are plenty of sticks on that nest already. Maybe eagles are like some people and need to have the biggest house! Ha ha!
We watched and this large female nearing adulthood came into the nest. She had quite a temper.
As long as she sat there, the male didn't come back.
Thanks for looking,