Nearly a year ago, a pair of American bald eagles began to increase their presence at one of my favorite state parks in Nashville. Park visitors, birders and photographers began to take notice of the pair’s frequent visits and increased activity at Radnor Lake. The speculation and hope that they might construct a nest ran rampant.
Many of us thought that while the eagles might build somewhere at the lake, they wouldn’t nest where we would be able to see, instead seeking the more remote areas of the park away from the heavily trafficked foot trails. Within a few months, they proved us all wrong by building a nest in quite possibly the best location they could have chosen for everyone to be able to view it.
While the site was hundreds of feet and across the lake from the best vantage points, it was clearly visible from Otter Creek Road in one of the tallest trees at the lake’s edge. It was a perfect location for the eagles to watch over the lake for fish and other prey while the impact they felt from park visitors was minimal.
For the next few months, field glasses, spotting scopes and strong telephoto lenses were a must for visitors to see the action. Park rangers set up scopes daily for onlookers to see the pair bringing in nesting materials, caring for eggs and, finally, feeding the two eaglets in the nest.
It was a challenge to capture the daily activities of the nest site at such a distance. This image was taken just after sunrise as the smaller of the two eagles, which is assumed to be the male, dove toward the lake’s surface and successfully grabbed a small fish in its talons.
Watching these majestic birds fly against a bright blue sky is awe-inspiring to me. Watching them spot a fish from 500 yards away and then swoop to capture it is equally amazing.
With the populations of these apex predators rebounding in recent years, sightings in Tennessee have increased.