Flight Of The Spirit – 20/52, BlackBerry 52, Wabasha, Minnesota, May 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Medium: original RAW file from April 2010 shot with a Canon Powershot G6, posterized and text added in Franklin Gothic Book font with Photoshop Elements. Jump-Off from Lotus: Spirit Bird.
The first time I stood under the boulder-sized bowl that is an eagle’s nest, I was 22 and living in Montana. Several years ago, friends in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota walked me to a nest on a lake near their home. After years of adapting to erratic human behavior, eagles can be happy urban dwellers.
In 2010, I visited the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota with the Midwest Writing Group. It would be the second time I had the pleasure. On my original visit, the Eagle Center was housed in a meager, cramped facility in the middle of Wabasha. These days rescued eagles Harriet, Angel, Columbia, Wasaka and Donald live in a beautiful 14,000 foot interpretative center overlooking the Mississippi River on 1000 feet of Wabasha shoreline.
When I saw that BlackBerry 52 Jump-Off from Lotus for Week 20 was Spirit Bird, I remembered all the eagles I had met and started searching my photo archives. Eagles are majestic and powerful with a wingspan of 80 to 90 inches, and in every manner spiritual sentient beings. The original photograph of the image above is a RAW file of a park bench outside the National Eagle Center. I pulled the photo into Photoshop Elements to alter it and add the text.
According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, when the bald eagle was adopted as the national symbol of the United States in 1782, there were between 25,000 and 75,000 birds nesting in the lower 48 states. Illegal shooting, habitat destruction, lead poisoning, and the catastrophic effects of DDT contamination in their prey base reduced eagle numbers to 417 pairs by 1963. Legal protection began with the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 and continued with the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 and the 1978 listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
The single-most important regulation affecting bald eagle recovery may have been the banning of DDT for most uses in the United States in 1972. Thanks to organizations that protect and rehabilitate eagles, there are now 4,450 occupied nesting territories, a ten-fold increase from the 1963 low. If you ever get the chance to drive to Wabasha, Minnesota don’t miss the opportunity to tour the National Eagle Center. If you are ever in Montana, it doesn’t require a long drive before you are out in the wilderness. Hike the trails, sit like the mountain.
Lotus and I will respond to each other’s BlackBerry Jump-Off photos with text, photography, poetry (however we are inspired) for the 52 weeks of 2011. You can read more at BlackBerry 52 Collaboration. If you are inspired to join us, send us a link to your images, poetry, or prose and we’ll add them to our posts.
-posted on red Ravine, Monday, June 6th, 2011
-related to posts: Baby Eagles At Summer Solstice, BlackBerry 365 Project — White Winter Squirrel, Flying Solo — Dragonfly In Yellow Rain, Searching For Stillness, icicle tumbleweed (haiga) — 2/52, The Mirado Black Warrior, Waning Moon (Haiga), Alter-Ego Mandala: Dreaming Of The Albatross (For Bukowski), EarthHealer — Mandala For The Tortoise, haiku 4 (one-a-day) Meets renga 52