Bald Eagles, Turtles and Osprey, Oh My!

Written by Scott Kratz

Taking advantage of this weekend’s stunning spring weather, I woke up early on Sunday morning and headed to the Anacostia River. The Anacostia Community Boathouse was alive with people learning how to balance in a dragon boat, cleaning sculls dusty from the winter and canoeing up and down the river’s banks. As I slipped under the CSX train tracks headed upstream, I left this bustling activity behind and paddled towards Kingman Island. Wildlife was EVERYWHERE. There were turtles basking in the morning sun, cormorants diving beneath the water’s surface in search of food, osprey migrating home after spending the season in the Amazon (yes they travel to the Amazon and back each year), and even a hissing Canadian goose or two letting me know I was getting a little too close – those are intimidating creatures!

Soaring high above me, I saw two large brown birds with white tail feathers. I wondered, could this be the nesting pair of bald eagles who make their home near Langston golf course? As I paddled under the wooden pedestrian bridges of Kingman Island, I saw them again, although closer. Suddenly I spotted not one but two magnificent bald eagles perched high up in a tree, scouting for their next meal, or perhaps just enjoying the view of the Anacostia River. I was able to snap this picture.

It made me ponder the future 11th Street Bridge Park. One of our key goals is to re-engage residents with this amazing, yet often forgotten natural resource located only a mile away from the U.S. Capitol. When built, the 11th Street Bridge Park will support an environmental education center teaching local school children about the importance of our local watersheds. If we do our job right, we aim to inspire the next generation of river stewards.

Nature is crazy resilient. But so are District residents. Working together, we can restore the Anacostia River for the birds, turtles and fish that make their home here. And in the process, we can make our city a little more magical. We are surrounded by the images of the bald eagle across this town on flag poles, seals attached above doorways and even the currency in our wallets. Maybe it’s time to see a few more real bald eagles flying over the District.