Twenty-something years ago, I went on one of my favorite field trips ever! My sixth grade team went to Eagle Days in Mound City, Iowa. (I finished a great book I borrowed from a student on our return trip. It was quite a drive to get there and back but was so worth it!)

We saw the most amazing eagles, snow geese, and hawks. Ever since then, I have often noticed hawks while I drive. There is quite a bit of farmland on my way to and from work, and they are abundant in that area. I am certainly no expert on them and cannot tell breeds apart, but I am still able to admire them. Birds of prey are so glorious, so still.

My son is a typically quiet passenger as we go to and from school. He is usually listening to an audiobook and “peopled out” after school, so I also use the time to decompress and listen to the quiet as I look at the landscape.

Yesterday, as we entered the final stretch on our way home and I started thinking about the errands I needed to do after I dropped him off, I noticed a BIG hawk high in a tree near a construction site underway in an effort to expand the local community college.

I felt a little bit like Red Riding Hood. “My, what a big hawk you are!”

When we got close to it I was able to see- It was not a hawk. It was a bald eagle!

I told my son what I’d seen as I made a U-turn at the closest possible spot. I wanted to be sure I hadn’t imagined it. I have seen them quite a few times, but rarely outside a nature preserve, and certainly not right next to a busy construction zone!

He confirmed- yes, indeed! It was a bald eagle, just sitting there in a tree about two miles from my house, chilling.

The nine year old version of him would have insisted on parking and watching for however long it stayed. The teen version said, “Huh.” I chose to interpret that as- cool + a bit impressed that mom was correct.

Just a few hundred yards down the road, a bobcat crossed right in front of us one afternoon a few years ago. We were both utterly shocked by that one! Deer and a random fox or two are also not uncommon along that stretch of road.

I guess if you’re looking for Wild Kingdom, the community college parking lot is the place to be!