Bring our eagle home
April 3, 2002
A lone eagle scans the valley from her perch overlooking the Roaring Fork River. This lonely eagle has lost her life’s companion.
Her magnificently enormous mate was “zapped” by a power line last week, as he was diving for a fish. He did not recognize the presence of a life-threatening danger in the form of a power line.
I have watched the eagles come and go since 1955, and had been appreciating the early morning sight of this magnificent pair for the last few months. Last week, I noticed only one eagle in their familiar perch, and later that morning, read with horror about the eagle’s accidental death witnessed by Richie Waltzak.
Eagles, our protected national symbol, mate for life! This is a very sad story about the destruction of a family unit. And this is just another fine example of the threat to the beautiful ecosystems in this valley.
The eagle has been relinquished to the Division of Fish and Wildlife in Denver. An investigation on the federal level is ensuing and probably the power line owners will be required to modify their lines near the river.
Have you observed the fox and the herds of deer and elk that move between the rivers and the protective meadows above? These creatures face continual harassment from vehicles and the multiple fencings of residential developments that have invaded their sacred grazing, just as the eagles endure invasion of their sacred feeding sites on the rivers.
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While it is really too late to stem the growth in this valley, it is never too late to do all we can to minimize threats to the safety of all living creatures. Power lines CAN be buried (or spaced farther apart near rivers) and unfenced routes to and from the rivers CAN be created.
Richie had the unique experience of witnessing an eagle die. Now he is trying to get this particular eagle returned to this valley. It seems the spirit of the eagle has touched their souls.
Why not support Richie in his effort? The eagle belongs to this valley. He lived and he died here. His mate is still here. Let’s commemorate this eagle as a symbol of OUR valley’s heritage.
There are many lessons to be learned from the tragic and unnecessary loss of this incredible creature. Let’s not overlook this opportunity.