The Bald Eagle And The Bat Box

Most Farmington Bald Eagles are nervous and shy but this subadult didn’t get the message.

 

1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM @ 148mm, not baited, set up or called in

Yesterday morning it was perched on the bat box right next to the road at the “owl bridge” at Farmington Bay WMA. You have no choice but to pass within about 20′ of the bat box as you travel the road but this bird took the occasional vehicle in stride and stood its ground on the box as a few of them slowly passed.

I’m a fan of both bats and bat boxes but I’ve been unhappy about the placement of this box for years. The pole this box is on used to be a great perch to photograph raptors on (Bald Eagles and American Kestrels had a particular fondness for it) but a few years ago “they” hung this bat box at the top of the pole. When it was first placed there it was painted red and because of its bright color and large size the box ruined the “aesthetics” of the pole as a perch for bird photography.

All they had to do was hang the box about a foot lower on the pole and there wouldn’t have been a problem for photographers and it would have served the bats just as well.

Oh well, at least most of the paint has now weathered off so the color isn’t so garish…

 

 

1/640, f/7.1, ISO 800, Canon 7D, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

This is what the top of the pole looked like before the bat box was attached (image taken 12/26/09). Back then you could actually see an entire bird on top of the pole without the box blocking out so many body parts.

C’mon, Ron – get over it!

Ok, back to yesterday’s eagle.

 

 

1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM @ 400mm, not baited, set up or called in

I sat on this bird for 29 minutes hoping to get some flight shots as it took off but it was comfortable and eventually I had to leave to attend the memorial service for a dear friend and teaching colleague who had recently passed away (RIP Gerri Sorben) so…

 

 

1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM @ 255mm, not baited, set up or called in

as I slowly crept past the eagle in my pickup I kept my lens trained on it just in case. At least at this angle I was able to see more of the bird.

 

 

1/3200, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM @ 164mm, not baited, set up or called in

At one point I took a few verticals to include the setting moon at the top of the frame.

I’m not crazy about this composition but hey, it isn’t every day that I get a shot with a Bald Eagle and the moon in the same frame!

Ron

 

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20 comments to The Bald Eagle And The Bat Box

  • Stephen Clayson

    Ron,

    I have wondered what those boxes were for. Is the purpose of the box for housing, nesting, feeding or what?

    Stephen

  • Patty Chadwick

    The moon is a nice touch…

  • Charlotte Norton

    Great series Ron,but I definitely agree with you on its placement!

    Charlotte

  • Patty Chadwick

    Nice shots of what some call a “dirty bird”(juvenile)because of the spotted coloring. Too bad the bat houses were placed so high…so often the personnel doing this kind of thing have little understanding about the implications of their actions…They’re “just doing their job”…as fie freedom to comment/object, that’s definitely under threat with this thin-skinned administration…let/ hope it’s nit a permanent loss!!!

  • Laura Culley

    Gorgeous shots, as usual! Since you can’t do much with the perch (the eagles/raptors are going to choose what works for them, not you LOL!), all you can do is live with it and ignore it, focusing on the eagle.
    And what a setup for avian predators like redtails to catch a few bats! Just between us, I’m thinking the bats recognize the probable danger and have decided that neighborhood is NOT for them. Can I hear a DUH! Sometimes you just gotta wonder about humans, don’t you?!
    As for objecting to things without being threatened (or arrested, beaten, shot), we lost that right a couple of decades ago. We can get away with it sometimes, but not always. And the sometimes times are getting fewer with each passing day.

    • “And what a setup for avian predators like redtails to catch a few bats”

      You make a good point, Laura. And add the fact that the pole is right next to an airboat launching ramp – you can imagine the noise, especially during duck hunting season.

  • Marty K

    My condolences on your friend’s passing.

    Gorgeous bird and great shots, even with the funky perch. The moon one is especially cool.

    I totally get your frustration about the box placement. I have similar feelings about the shrubbery (that falls over or grows out and blocks the sidewalk) the city keeps putting in on my walking route. Grrrr! 🙁

  • Susan Stone

    I have to agree with you about the bat box. But I’m glad the Eagle stayed around so you could enjoy it. If I didn’t recognize the face, I’d never know that this was a Bald Eagle. I’ll have to study up on the juvenile stages.

  • Dick Harlow

    Great job, nice shots! I also agree about the Bat Box. Have you ever seen bats using the box??
    Sorry about your friend.

  • Betty Sturdevant

    Your stories are as interesting as the photography. Isn’t it wonderful to live in a country where we can object to things without being threatened for doing so. The pictures are very nice and I agree about the bat box. Keep up the beautiful work.

    • “Isn’t it wonderful to live in a country where we can object to things without being threatened for doing so”

      So far, Betty. So far. I hope it lasts.

  • Judy Gusick

    NICE! I’d take these shots any day….:)