One thing is clear on John’s Bay in mid-coast Maine this year; bald eagles are on the rise. Over the last several years I have been seeing more and more eagles at Foster Island. Having been up here for a couple of months, hardly a day goes by without seeing at least one eagle.
As a young boy cruising the coast of Maine, sighting a bald eagle was an exceedingly rare occurrence. This was due in large part to the wide use of DDT as a pesticide. The chemical ended up in rainwater runoff and in the fish that eagles and other large birds were eating. DDT made the eggs of the eagles so thin, that they broke in the nest. Bald eagles went into rapid decline.
Now, years after DDT was banned, the eagles are coming back. There are two or three adults on the bay and a couple of brown immatures. In flight the birds are highly distinctive with their brown body and white head and tail. No other large raptor has that look. I for one am glad to see the eagles on the rise!
With luck, these birds will continue to do well and cruising sailors will once again have a chance to see these majestic birds along the coast of New England. Good environmental practices along with abundant fish are both keys to success. So, keep an eye out next sailing season for bald eagles, the national bird.
These photos were all taken here in John’s Bay.