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Posted on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Bald eagle soars through Saline backyard

By Amy Biolchini


A bald eagle carries its prey in its talons as it leaves the backyard of Saline resident Michele Green Thursday.

Courtesy of Michele Green

A Saline family got quite the show Thursday after a bald eagle alighted in their backyard.

The large bird hunted down a rabbit at the home of Michele Green of Saline, which is near the Saline Recreation Center at the intersection of Textile and Maple roads.

Green said she first saw the bald eagle sitting in her backyard holding its prey about 11:30 a.m. Thursday. There have been bald eagle sightings in the Saline area recently, Green said.

Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007 and are now seen throughout Michigan year-round, said Hannah Schauer, wildlife technician for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.


A bald eagle sits in the backyard of a home in Saline Thursday.

Courtesy of Michele Green

The birds tend to breed in the northern parts of Michigan, Schauer said.

It’s a common sight to see bald eagles now in the southern part of the state, Schauer said.

A bald eagle was spotted in February at Belle Isle in Detroit.

Bald eagles need open water in order to hunt for fish, one of their food sources, Schauer said.

The DNR does not track bald eagle sitings, Schauer said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a Michigan chapter that tracks active nest sites.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

We live on Whitmore Lake and have had eagles here in the autumn for several years now. They like to perch in our tall cottonwood tree and ambush migrating coots. This past December we got a great photo of one standing in the water and drinking just off our beach. We also photographed two perched together in the cottonwood. They are a magnificent sight when flying over the lake. What a wingspan!


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

It's pretty unusual for eagles to eat rabbits like that. Most of the time bald eagles will eat fish or carrion, and often close to areas of water. But in late winter food can be scarce for them. I last saw one flying near the AA airport in mid-December. It's good to see more of them in this area. It would be nice to see more Osprey's too. But their numbers on the Great Lakes have still not recovered.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

About 6 months ago I saw one perched on the top of a dead tree at the corner of Maple and Brassow. One mile from green's location


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

We had an immature bald eagle perched at our pond in Freedom Township two summers ago. Drove the crows crazy.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Our first encounter with a Bald Eagle was in the UP near the Keeweenaw. Flew in front of our car, no kidding, about 2 feet and gone. We thought we hit it because we did feel something. as it flew past. Trust you me, there is nothing like having one of those birds flying past you.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

After thought, it was not Ann Arbor but a park in Ypsilanti near the Ford plant, Huron River? Not sure, but we were watching a sporting even when someone told us we needed to hide our dogs. Why? That bird was after one of them. So watch your small dogs when outside.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

This is the proof that conservation and protection works and remains a national need. In my youth, I had been told I would probably rarely or never see an eagle outside of captivity or highly remote wilderness. And, indeed, I've not in all my many years; but those are a few years in the time span of ecological repair. I remember reading of lakes and bays catching fire from the pollution that infiltrated them. I remember as a kid knowing when we neared the bridge to Canada--you could smell the Detroit River for miles in any direction. You could see and smell the air pollution from manufacturing plants whenever you came into any city especially any area Downriver in Detroit where the chemical plants and the Rouge filled the area--smokes of all colors: red, yellow, sooty black. Today we see white steam.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 6:45 a.m.

I've only seen them up north around Interlocken. Our family has a cottage out there and we'd go out on Green Lake and I'd see them. As a kid I was really excited to see them. I only thought they lived out west.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:33 a.m.

One was spotted in our Saline neighborhood the same day - probably the same bird.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:31 a.m.

I saw scads of Eagles in Juneau, and I really enjoyed that. They were there for the salmon. I wish I had taken some pictures! I might have seen one or 2 around Standish. I can't remember seeing any around here.

Tyler Bruett

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

I live on ford lake and have seen them quite often for the past 7 years. Then me and my family noticed they actually nested on a tree in our backyard over looking the lake. We have seen a pair of them grow up over the years they always visit the same tree once in a while. Its been a great experince.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

Saw one hanging out with the Ann Arbor cougar last summer


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:27 a.m.

A pair was around Saline last year about this time..saw them regularly on the pond by the dam....was wondering if they would be back this year....


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:23 a.m.

Just hope that this bald eagle and others are not killed or injured by by these ridiculous windmills dotting the landscape, putting out unreliable power, all in the name of saving the planet. How about the many thousands of migrating birds that are killed by these awful machines? Save the birds!


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

turn off your computer, save energy.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:23 a.m.

Whoa? We got bald eagles down here? I've seen them up north in the LP and up in the UP too, but never heard of them this far south. I guess we got cougar and bears down here too.......and not the necto variety...

Harry Potter

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:07 a.m.

What is this magic? Really though, I live by the airport and it seems like there are planes soaring through the backyard. Is that news too?

MI Farmer

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

They have been out here for the last 5-6 years, I pickup road kill and dead deer for them to feast on in the winter.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

I understand that you operate a "fly-by" cafe. Bless you!

John Counts

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

I've seen bald eagles several times near Grand Marais in the Upper Peninsula. There was a nest of them I frequently hiked by on the Little Manistee River by the weir in the LP as well. It's encouraging to see they're making a comeback.

Kristen Marie

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:35 p.m.

A co worker of mine saw a pair doing their mating ritual today out the 8th floor window at Mott Childrens looking over toward the Huron River. Amazing!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

Time to bring Little Friskie the kitty inside

Kitty O'Brien

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

In related news, there are at least 7 native Trumpeter Swans mingling with approximately 100 Mute Swans on the south end Portage Lake. The Trumpeters have been here all winter.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

yep, just ask the lady who drove by 'em.....;)

John of Saline

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

I once saw a pair fly high over Saline. Another one at Hudson Mills once. I saw a huge bird roadkill south of Ann Arbor last year. As I drove by the mass of mostly dark feathers, I saw some white feathers, too. May have been an eagle.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

It could also have been a turkey. They are becoming much more common in this area. Although they can fly, they often stay close to the ground where they can be hit by cars or trucks more easily.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

Oh no... we live near there and our little dog isn't much larger than a rabbit.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

yep, leash laws are good.....


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

More likely to be snatched by a cayote than an eagle.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

I suggest that you do not leave your little dog outside unaccompanied.

Elijah Shalis

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

Thats nothing when I was driving eat of Alanson MI in 1997 I wolverine crossed the road in front of me and I had to stop the car.

Steve Bean

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

Probably the one (and only) recounted in this book:


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

Easy to confuse with a Wisconsin Badger on spring break.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

Not likely.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

Big wow!!! I once saw a Spartan crossing the road and barely missed him. Fortunately, my brother got him with his door.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.

What you probably saw was a U of M student skipping class.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

We have many in the Belleville/Sumpter Township area. They enjoy hunting both at Crosswinds Marsh and Belleville Lake. Luckily our house is on their flight path.

Kitty O'Brien

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

We have daily visits here on Portage Lake from a mating pair of eagles that nests up the chain. They hunt diver ducks in the open water or nosh on dead swans. Sighted a couple juveniles last week flying overhead. A beautiful sight indeed!

Kitty O'Brien

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

Why would my comment get voted down? Oh! I know: They see me rollin They hatin -Chamillionaire I watched an Eagle rip apart a dead Mute Swan all afternoon, fyi. He's still out there.

Katrease Stafford

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

It's amazing this family was able to capture this and it's always interesting to hear when they're spotted locally. Thanks for sharing, Amy!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

2010: Gallup Park, 3 eagles flew along the river from Dixboro towards over Huron High - so huge, so beautiful, so happy to have seen them. One and only time so far down here.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:27 p.m.

i've overheard a friend talking about a nesting pair in augusta township. apparently, the nest is in a cell tower.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

There is a nesting pair North of St Joe's Hospital along the Huron River. They are awesome to see up close, huge birds. I will add that it is great to see the return of the birds of prey following the ban on DDT and the like. There are a few hawks that hunt the highway median on M-14 which are great to watch in action.It does hit me a little more when I see a roadkill hawk along one of the expressways as opposed to a deer carcass.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

The ones on the highway most often seen are Red-tailed hawks. They like to hunt mice and small mammals in the grasses near the road. Unfortunately, they often get hit (by trucks many times) because they fly low over the ground while scanning for food.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

That must have been one I saw this summer ( about a mile south of St. Joe's )

Atticus F.

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:14 p.m.

Saw one in Bellville last year.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

I've seen them a handful of times soaring over the lake while playing golf at Eagle Crest.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

Atticus....They nest on the west end of the lake

Amy Biolchini

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

I've seen bald eagles near Starved Rock State Park in central Illinois by my grandmother's house, and around Olympic National Park in Washington while on vacation this summer, but never have I had one land in my backyard like this family did. How cool.

Julie Baker

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Thanks! That's fixed.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

Please fix typo 3rd paragraph - "sitings" should be "sightings"

Julie Baker

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

One almost swooped down into the windshield of my car while driving on M-65 in northern Michigan a few years ago. Thankfully, it just cleared the roof. I was startled, to say the least.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

We saw a pair soaring over the Huron River while traveling east on M-14 a month or so ago. We saw another one eating road kill off the side of M-55 a few of weeks ago also. But they are common up there.