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Words From Wiser: Through The Eyes of an Eagle Watcher


From Chuck Wiser, 7/15/21: I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels….

Photo By Dan Jordan Photography

Through the Eyes of an Eagle

Through the eyes of an eagle, we are seen large or small.
As it soars through the heavens keeping watch on us all.
Our panorama unfolds, to its view from the sky.
Overseeing our days ever vigilant on high.
Such a majestic symbol of its freedom in flight
Leading us both through the darkness or by dawns early light.
Though sightings of eagles were nearly lost to our view
On behalf of the eagle, stewardship saw us through.
Why has it been chosen to be our banner or crest?
Did we see your protection as you guarded your nest?
As we journey through life whether strong man or waif
Through the eyes of the eagle, we shall feel ever safe.
Chuck Wiser, July 2021
Inspired by the photography of Dan Jordan

Back Story: Having lived on the banks of the Genesee River since the early 70’s it is not unusual for me to frequently see eagles in the trees or skies around my residence in Scio. I have recently been re-acquainted with Dan Jordan, of Jordan Photography, through the postings of his many photographs of eagles as they soar, perch or nest nearby.
I first met Dan as the owner of Advanced Monolythics Ceramics, in Olean, NY, a manufacturer of space age electronic components. I was there for the purpose of conducting one of my many industrial training programs. If memory serves me after these many years, some of his employees were being trained in the use of the AutoCAD (Computer Aided Drafting) software. Dan started out having received a degree in Chemistry from Saint Bonaventure University then went on to a career in electronics, from which followed an entrepreneurial creation and founding of Advanced Monolythics Ceramics. It was in this business that he was first exposed to digital photography technology.

From this, evolved his successful photography business, “Jordan Photography and Consulting”, and his passion for the American Bald Eagle and their miraculous recovery from near extinction. Dan has over 100,000 images of the eagles in their natural habitats and writes a column called “The Eagle Whisperer” for the Olean Times Herald.
The American Bald Eagle was adopted as our national symbol in 1782 when we may have had as many as 100,000 nesting eagles, as noted by the “US Fish & Wildlife Service”. As our country developed and grew, their natural habitat and survival instincts and behavior were counter to our development. The Bald eagles were considered to be “marauders” that preyed on chickens, lambs, and domestic livestock and thus were hunted and/or killed. As early as 1940 the species was “threatened with extinction” and Congress passed the “Bald Eagle Protection Act” which prohibited killing, selling or possessing eagles. In 1962 the Golden Eagle was added to this legislation which then became the “Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act”.
Shortly after WWII the insect control pesticide DDT, was introduced. This pesticide, and likely others, leached into water sources and were absorbed into fish and plant wildlife, and was consumed by the eagles. The primary effect of these chemicals was to alter the chemistry of the bird’s eggshells weakening them, so as to make them easily damaged during nesting and incubation.
The three major factors contributing to the near extinction of the Eagles, and other similar species, were: Loss of natural habitat as virgin forests were cleared; Hunting and killing of eagles, and the effects of DDT.

The life span of an eagle is 15-30 years (in the wild). Full adult plumage takes 4 to 5 years.
The road to recovery was paved by the national ban on the use of DDT in 1972, a ban on killing or capturing eagles in 1973, and regional and state recovery plans including that of New York State in 1976. Some US statistical recovery data includes: (Figures rounded)

1963-2006: Nesting pairs increased from 490 to 9800

1999: First proposal to take the Bald Eagle off the endangered species list

2007: Final Approval to remove the Bald Eagle from the endangered species list

Feb. 2021: 71400 Nesting Pairs with 316,700 total population in lower 48 States.

Some historical facts, data, and information specifically for New York State, as noted by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation includes:

1976 – 1988 Biologists collected 200 “nestling” (nearly bald vs feathered as “fledgling”) primarily collected in Alaska.

1989 – 10 breeding pairs recorded

2010- 190 breeding pairs recorded

2017- 426 breeding pairs recorded

Observation, record keeping, and sharing their story via photography, such as that from people like Dan Jordan has not only helped in this slow but miraculous recovery but has also brought to light the magnificent story of this majestic bird and gift to us all.
It should be noted, and suggested, that as “spectators” of this splendor, we watch and observe “from a distance”, so as to not upset the balance of nature and the habitat of the “creatures great and small”, with whom we share our world.

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