One of the neighborhood Bald Eagles stopped by this afternoon for a visit. For me, this is one of the special pleasures of living in the Pacific Northwest. Western Washington has one of the largest concentrations of Bald Eagles in the lower forty-eight United States. According to Seattle Audubon, they are common breeders in the San Juans, here in the northern Puget Sound Islands and along both the north and west coasts of the Olympic Peninsula. I believe there are nests on the small islands across the bay. I see them heading over there after catching prey.
Bald Eagles and other raptors use hunting perches to spot their prey. When you are out exploring, look for trees with bare branches at or near the top. These will be found along the seashore, next to lakes and streams or at the edge of meadows. Like other predators, eagles spend a lot of time just resting. In this case, hunting perches become loafing perches. These birds are great photo subjects because of this behavior. Unlike little birds which are always on the move, the eagles will stand and pose nicely for their portraits. I am fortunate to live beneath two hunting perches, one on each side of the yard. The eagles don't seem to be bothered by humans nesting at the bases of the trees.