A Dearborn couple reported seeing an adult bald eagle outside of their home near at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.
According to the residents, who wished to remain anonymous, the eagle “landed in a small tree” outside of their front porch.
“We were watching the birds and squirrels eating the seed we had put out for them, as they depend on us in the winter,” the residents wrote to Dearborn Patch in an email. “It was no more than about four feet from the window. We have seen hawks eating pigeons in the area before, but nothing that looked like this. There is absolutely no mistake about it. It was definitely no hawk and was huge. The plumage on the head and neck was pure white, the beak was yellow, and the body plumage was black.”
The couple said that they reported the bird to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Though relatively uncommon, bald eagle sightings are not unheard of in Dearborn, according to the Rouge River Bird Observatory, which records bird species found in Dearborn.
"Bald eagles are seen a few times every year in Dearborn, usually in winter, and are becoming more frequent," explained observatory director Julie Craves. "There are quite a few active nests in the county–a pair began a nest at Greenfield Village a few years ago, but the activity drove them away–and a lot of them winter along the lower Detroit River and western shore of Lake Erie."
Bald eagle sightings were reported seven times in 2011, according to RRBO records: on Feb. 13 and 18, March 6, April 11 and 26, and May 4 and 21.
Most sightings were around the campuses of and the , though others have been reported in east Dearborn, the Henry Ford Estate, the Ford Proving Grounds and over the Southfield Freeway.
A sighting in downtown west Dearborn was reported on Feb. 13, 2009, according to the website www.baldeagleinfo.com, which lists sightings around Michigan.
“What makes this sighting interesting is that this intersection is in the Detroit metro (area),” wrote John Marc, who reported the sighting. “The bird looked mature and beautiful. I've seen hawks in the area, but never an eagle.”
The couple who reported Tuesday’s sighting to Dearborn Patch said it’s not their first encounter, either–though the last sighting happened 25 years ago.
“It had a squirrel or rabbit in one of its claws,” the resident wrote. “This was in the fall. My wife was outside raking leaves when she heard a thump on the roof. When she looked up at the peak of the roof, there it was. She screamed, ran in the garage, and then it flew away. There was no Internet at the time to look it up on, so we got some books and concluded after much research that is was a junior bald eagle as it was the only animal that resembled it.”