The Bald Eagle: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
This national bird of the United States stands thirty to forty-three inches tall (.76 meters to 1.09 meters) and has a wingspan of seven to eight feet (2 meters to 2.44 meters). It has a haunting, chortling, high-pierced whistle, which is easily recognizable. Though they can be lazy scavengers, Bald eagles are some of the world’s best fishermen. Outside my windows a Bald Eagle family fish from a dead tree limb at the mouth of a salmon stream. When the tide is out he and his life-mate stand on either side of this stream, and fish for a couple of hours, crossing to touch beaks every once and awhile. Their talons have been perfectly engineered for spearing the fish; they are made to swing forward to pierce the flesh, then dragged backward to hook in. The barbed fishing hook used by anglers, was designed by an engineer to emulate the eagles’ talons. The white head feathers in this eagle portrait are the salmon fighting their way upstream through the white waters during spawning season when they are easy prey. Within his beak I painted abstract totems in honor of these great fish. Looking down to this mighty bird’s dark feathers you will see they too are actually another of his dinners, the Brown Trout.
Brown Trout: Salmo trutta
These trout are native to Europe and West Asia and were introduced to North America around 1883. They now range from Southern Canada southwest to California, northeast through the Great Lakes and south to Mississippi. They have been able to do well in the Pacific Northwest, as they are able to tolerate higher water temperatures than other native salmon and trout species. They are a favorite of anglers.