Do not be fooled by the smile on my face – I was truly terrified the moment I was strapped in. On March 16, 2016, I took off in a small airplane to participate in a Bald Eagle count survey with my supervisor, Joe, his eagle project partner, Martin, and our pilot, Tyler. Tyler dubbed me the co-pilot because I was assigned the front seat. The feeling of being in a cramped plane was scary, but it was even scarier when we started to take off. It was about ten seconds after we were in the air that I opened my eyes and looked at the beauty of the islands of Tongass, Alaska. They were covered in snow at the very top, and it was low tide, so the water looked like the veins of earth. The world looked so beautiful 500 feet in the air and just as I took in the sight of this wondrous world, the best part came about thirty minutes into flight.
From our first survey site, ten to thirty eagles could be seen perched on trees or on the ground waiting for fish. Their white heads could be spotted even from how high we were. The eighth site was like a huge parade of Bald Eagles. Joe and Martin estimated that there were over four hundred eagles at one site having a huge feeding frenzy on a fish. My heart stopped beating when I gazed upon this glorious site, and then I almost had a heart attack a second after, when I looked up to see a dozen Bald Eagles flying around us! Never in my life have I witnessed nor felt such energy and excitement to see these powerful creatures at their best. I cannot wait until our next flight to survey these amazing animals again. I just want to thank my supervisor in Wrangell, Joe Delabrue, for taking me on the amazing flight and for the two pictures you see in this post.