Every once in a while you run across one of those stories that’s just… nice. And it might not appear that way at first glance, but this turned out to be one of those for me. (Hat tip on this story goes to Lindsey Grudnicki at National Review.) With our big, annual birthday bash for our nation coming up this week, it seems particularly appropriate to toss this one out as a bit of a Sunday palate cleanser. Out in Seattle they’re getting ready for their yearly fireworks display on the 4th of July, but the location is being shifted slightly for the benefit of a pair of baby bald eagles.
Just because they’re both emblems of American pride doesn’t mean fireworks and bald eagles should share the same skyline.
The floating launch pad for next week’s July Fourth fireworks display in suburban Seattle is being moved from its usual site to avoid frightening a pair of baby bald eagles nesting in a tree on the shore of Lake Washington, sponsors of the event said on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the local National Audubon Society chapter said the two eaglets, still too young to fly, might be so startled by the pyrotechnics that they would jump out of their nest and plunge to the ground, leaving them injured or vulnerable to predators.
The fledgling national symbols, apparently unaware they are complicating the Independence Day festivities in the city of Kirkland, east of Seattle, currently spend their days perched in a tall lakeside Douglas fir in the town’s Heritage Park.
This is the kind of story which could have been introduced with a far different headline and sub-text. We’ve heard all sorts of stories where progress has been impeded when environmentalists use the welfare of various species or individual animals to impede human activity. (Lesser Prairie Chicken anyone?) But this situation has some key differences. First of all, it’s not some government mandate coming in and shifting the party. The Audubon Society asked the organizers to move the fireworks barge 350 yards further away, and they agreed to do it voluntarily. And this isn’t some sort of permanent change… they’re just giving the eagle chicks time to grow and leave the nest.
I have a special place in my heart for the bald eagle, above and beyond their symbolic importance to the country. There were none around the northeast when I was growing up… they’d been driven to near extinction. But they’ve been making a comeback in the past decade or so, and now there are two mating pairs up in the mountains near where we go camping every year. Just beautiful creatures, and it’s always a blast to see them.