George and Martha: Lake Steven’s Resident EaglesGeorge and Martha Lake Stevens, Washington August 19th, 2012
Last month I was deeply saddened when I found out that one of our Lake Stevens resident eagles, affectionately known as George and Martha, was killed by a lightning strike in a 125ft tree near the lake. The news reports had said that a bald eagle was found in the rubble of a tree that was struck by lightning at about 9am July 13th and that a juvenile eagle was spotted in a tree close by. They believe that the juvenile was the offspring of the adult eagle which made the news even more heartbreaking.
For years I (and many other Lake Stevens residents) have become quite attached to George and Martha. They can be seen everyday flying around the lake, sitting near their nests and flying with their babies. I have been photographing them whenever the opportunity arises for the past few years, but this pair of bald eagles have lived in the Lake Stevens community since around 1991. Every year they have babies and every year they can be seen teaching their babies to fly. They have become beloved residents of Lake Stevens. My mother recently moved into a home across the street from the lake and is lucky enough to see them daily flying over the lake and right over her house. Everytime I’m there we watch them soar above sometimes diving into the water with their babies or hunting.
In 1996 a group of lake Stevens citizens formed a non profit group and purchased the land just below their massive nest on Lundeen Drive to protect the area from development. Funds were raised by various individuals including a ‘Save the Eagle Land’ penny drive by students in the Lake Stevens School District. A 15 acre “Eagle Ridge Park” was then created with special lookout points to observe George and Martha and an area for motorists to pull over so they can view the eagles when they are perched in their cottonwood tree.
To honor our longtime eagle residents the city commisioned an artist in 2010 to create an art piece to be displayed in the newest roundabout on Lundeen Parkway which is very close to their nest. George and Martha are now immortalized in a beautiful sculpture which was made of metal and stainless steel. The two eagles are soaring together over a mountain peak.
As you can see these two long time resident bald eagles have made a great impact on the city of Lake Stevens and the news of the dead eagle quickly spread around the community. Facebook was exploding with posts about it and people were talking about wherever I went. I really hope the city does something special to memoralize our eagle.
We still don’t know whether it was George or Martha who perished and probably won’t know for a long while. According to Doug Zimmer of the Western Washington Fish and Wildlife office, “When an eagle dies, the carcass is sent to The National Eagle Repository, northeast of Denver, Colo. The eagle is examined to confirm the cause of its death and then parts of the bird are shipped to Native Americans”. (Everett Herald)
The most heartbreaking part for me is knowing that eagles mate for life. What will happen to the eagle that was left behind? 😦
*There is an Eagle Hotline in Lake Stevens which is used to report eagle sightings or unusual activities.
Eagle Hotline (Marlene Sweet) 425-335-3400