Fifteen years ago there were only 40 bald eagle nests in Ohio, and it was a thrill to see one around Kent. With over 200 nests in the state today, eagles can be found around any large body of water or soaring over Kent. I still get excited when I see one, even though I see them a lot more often now. I was lucky to catch this one lunching on West Twin Lake ice recently, tearing an animal apart about 250 yards away from my office. Once I realized what it was, I did my usual mad dash to the camera and spotting scope. When eating, the birds usually stay put for awhile, so I managed to get a number of shots.
This bird's lunch is not a fish, so it may seem odd that the bird took the animal to the middle of a lake to eat. It's actually a safe place for lunch because the eagle can easily see a distant predator coming with a commanding view of the whole lake. Who would want to steal this big bird's lunch? Another eagle.
This bird is probably one of the pair at the Rockwell Reservoir nest, which has been there since about 1992. The birds have changed over the years at the nest, but the same nest has been used since then. An eagle nest has been at Rockwell on and off since just after Rockwell was made in 1913.
Since the bird was so far out on the ice, I had to "digiscope" the bird. This is a simple technique in which a small camera lens is held up to the eyepiece of a scope to get close-ups of a very distant object. It's also one of the rare times cheaper is better in photography; an expensive lens is too large to use for digiscoping.