We drove the back roads of northeast Iowa yesterday, skirting north of Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Waverly. We speculated on whether the many large birds soaring far above us were turkey vultures or Bald Eagles.
Vultures are more common, but eagles have made a major comeback in Iowa. Along the rivers particularly, you may spot one of these great birds. Usually at a distance. In the air. Roosting at the top of a tree. Diving into the river for fish. Barring an eagle cam like the one in Decorah that became a national phenomenon last winter, we never expect to see an eagle up close.
So imagine our surprise yesterday when we crossed a small bridge and were startled to see a Bald Eagle fly across the road directly in front of us.
It flew from near the ground - perhaps where it had been enjoying lunch - straight across the road, not twenty yards in front of us, - and off into the trees. I'm certain I've never seen an eagle so close in the wild. I may never again, but it's not a sight I'll forget.