Casual Encounter with the Bald Eagle of Florida


Photo: Kelly Dean

Casual Encounter with the Bald Eagle of Florida

By Kelly Dean

Sometimes the greatest things happen when we least expect them to happen. Such was the case for my chance encounter with a bald eagle. I stopped by a local haunt for some local seafood while scouting photo locations on south Pine Island. It’s a little town called St. James City. The town is a collection of retirement dwellings, canals, water-side bars, boat dealers and a marina.

While I was having lunch I stuck up a conversation with a local about Tiki Huts; it turns out he was a longtime Tiki Hut builder. I was researching a story at the time so the chance encounter was a good one. Turns out, it was even better than expected. I happened to mention I was out at a nearby island recently photographing birds. Nonchalantly, he said, “Did you get a shot of the bald eagle that’s sitting on that crane over there? Sometimes two of them show up when bands are playing to listen to the music, I suppose.”

I looked at him oddly, in retrospect. I then walked over to the end of the sidewalk, looked up and there was a bald eagle perched on a crane just watching the cars goes by. Considering there’s plenty of water around, I suppose he might have actually been looking at the fish, but it sure seemed like he was just watching cars — atop a 50-foot crane. Band music must have been optional as well.

I walked back to the gentleman and said, in Jaws-like fashion, “We need to get a bigger lens.”


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