Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Fisherman's Tale

I have something extraordinary to share with you today. On January 18, 2014, I bore witness to one of the most inspiring events in my life. If you have been following along, you already know that I find the natural world to be the source of all creativity and awe, and this post will demonstrate why.

Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin, an hour north of my home, perches along the Wisconsin river. It's a small town, quaint downtown, not hemmed in by hills, but still, it chooses to skirt the broad river. Oh, and one other thing: a hydroelectric dam borrows the power of the muddy swirling water, and that's the pearl in this story. The water passes through the dam and pours out, to continue its travels, and what lives in the water: fish, but this is no fish tale.

Back to that downtown in Sauk Prairie. Nearly every business, streetlight, trashcan, and even city hall pays homage to not a fish, but the bald eagle. January 18, 2014 was part of the Bald Eagle Watching Days. Smack in the middle of the brutal winter of 2014, Sauk Prairie was celebrating its abundance, some may say glut of bald eagles. Why are they here? Let's return to the fish. Yes, bald eagles eat fish, but these birds have a secret. As the fish pass through the dam, they are stunned. Downstream, they float for a period or time, not dead, but disoriented and immobile on the surface of the open water. Enter the eagles.

It was snowing, and photography was a challenge, but here is a wild bald eagle, swooping low, coming up empty. Eagle experts were everywhere, and happy to share their knowledge. For example, at this time of the year, eagles spend 90% of their time doing ... nothing. They sit in trees overlooking the dam, waiting for an easy meal to rise to the surface, conserving their energy.

There is more to this story so come back later to see what really drew me out into the blistering cold. I promise the photos will impress. 

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