CHICAGO — While driving on Chicago's South Side recently, veteran wildlife photographer Jerry Goldner noticed three crows bothering a large bird.
Goldner at first thought the bird being harassed on a tree near Rainbow Beach Dunes and the vacant former South Works steel mill site was a great horned owl.
But, upon further inspection, Goldner realized it was a mature bald eagle.
Goldner's photo, confirmed that it was taken in Chicago by Josh Engel of the Field Museum, backs up recent statements by experts and bird watchers that our national symbol is flying in and around Chicago. One was seen in fall 2015 after being electrocuted on a power line on the Southwest Side.
Goldner said the ex-South Works spot is a "haven for wildlife and rare migratory birds." The wildlife could be there for a while as The Lakeside development project on the former South Works site is dead after a split between owner U.S. Steel and developer McCaffery Interests.
Goldner estimates the bald eagle photographed, which he said had "full adult plumage," was about four years old. He captured the photograph from about 150 yards away.
Goldner, who lives in Evanston, is respected in the local birding community, has been featured as an expert in local media, and has won photography contests sponsored by the Cook County Forest Preserve and Chicago Park District.
The bald eagle was once common in northeastern Illinois but was no longer a breeding species within the region by the early 1900s. The bird was once an endangered species but was upgraded to threatened and, in 2007, was taken off both lists. The bald eagle is still protected under the provisions of the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prohibits anyone from harming or disturbing the birds.
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