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By John Simeone

“If you only had one thing to say, what would it be?”

The first Bald Eagle I ever saw was on the western end of Mt Magazine in Arkansas. I was about half way up the highest point in the Ozark range when I saw a big black bird with a white head and a white tail flying over the the high point of the mountain, then I heard its high pitched scream. All I could do was stare in amazement, at this breathtaking sight, of which will be ingrained in my minds eye for ever.

American Bald Eagle

Trips out west and my hitch in Alaska brought more eagle sightings, in places where they were supposed to be, but I never suspected them to be in my back yard in Louisiana. Some how I associated eagles with high mountains and wild remote places, but not so. About ten years ago Bald Eagles made a showing in force along the Sabine River at Toledo Bend Lake, that's when I became an official Eagle watcher and protector.

So how do you protect eagles? Well that's pretty simple, you do it through education and awareness. Simple really, you let people know that they are not dangerous unless you get too close, their main diet consists of small animals and mainly fish along the Sabine River, so there is no reason cattlemen should worry about an eagle. Probably any bad rap associated with cattle and eagles stems from the fact an eagle will find a dead cow or calf and take a free meal, seeing this the story goes out that eagles are killing cattle, highly unlikely.. After watching our eagles along the Sabine river I have found they don't have to work that hard for a meal considering the river is working alive with fish all year long.

Every good American knows the Bald Eagle is the National Symbol of Patriotism in the United States of America, the ultimate icon of the word “freedom.” If I went to the closet and got out my old Army uniform I would find it covered with Eagles, the buttons, the brass, and the medals. Of course even the President of the United States is represented by an eagle, and so goes just about everything we associate with all things of our homeland. We learn all about eagles in school, but the icon perhaps is so familiar that it loses its true meaning as we become complacent in a land of plenty.

The Native Americans, go much further in their reverence, as the Bald Eagle is a religious icon as a living symbol of “The Great Spirit,” to them killing an eagle would be like burning down a church. Killing an eagle in one sense has to be an act of domestic terrorism, the perpetrator will certainly think so when caught, but there has to be a special kind of evil stupidity involved with such an act. Today I know of no hunter or fisherman that would harm an eagle, but those who would do exsist.

Now each family in America has some sort of connection with an Eagle, as all Americans including Native Americans migrated here at one time or the other. With the migration of humans to North America regardless of the time line, that Bald Eagle soaring over the tree tops and mountains with its high pitch scream was in fact a welcoming call to a land of freedom. Pretty simple really with a little thought.

If left unmolested they will live as old as a man, mating for life with their partner. I don't try to give animals human characteristics. They live simply, they eat, fly, and make baby eagles, they are an important part of the ecology therefore they are supposed to be here. We the people, however, have something special in that we have Eagles among us. Just while doing a little fishing down below the dam at Toledo Bend I get to see Eagles just about any time I want to look up. Each time I see one it becomes a new experience to expand the mind in wonderment. Recently I conjured up a hypothesis about Eagles I don't think anyone has thought of yet. Now I may be wrong about this but it has stuck in my mind so much lately that I need to share this thought with the rest of the readers. While contemplating Eagles in general while experiencing the tranquility of wild places, I believe I have discovered something about Eagle communications. T hats right, Eagles talk to each other. Their lives are so simple that they know instinctively what to do as far as life in general. So the only sound they make is a high pitched scream, that you will hear any time you get around Eagles.

Now that sound they make has been associated with fearsomeness down through the ages, many times associated with the sound of a battle cry. No that's not it at all. To know what Eagles say requires a deeper understanding of things in general then it becomes very clear. The question is “If you only had one thing to say to your family, your friends, and it was good, what would you say?” If God is love, then Eagles scream it to the high heavens...Pass it on.


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