In recent weeks I've heard from two readers who reported seeing bald eagles along the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers.
One, John Summers, sent proof: digital photos he'd taken through a spotting scope. Sure enough, there was an adult bald eagle, perched in a tree overlooking the Kanawha River near Winfield.
The other report came from long-time friend Kevin Cade. Kevin is an avid birder and amateur naturalist. His sighting took place in Mason County near the Ohio River's Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam.
This is good news. The more eagles seen in the Kanawha and Ohio valleys, the better the chance that a pair or two might decide to nest and rear their young here.
I can remember when West Virginia had no bald eagles - or at least no nesting pairs of the magnificent birds.
Then word came down that a pair of eagles had taken up residence in The Trough, a roadless canyon that straddles the border between Grant and Hardy counties. The birds obviously found the fishing good there, because as the years passed the number of eagles steadily grew.
The Trough is still Ground Zero for eagle sightings. I know, because I take a rail trip through the canyon each summer, and I've never failed to see at least three or four eagles along the way.
Interesting coincidence: Last year, as my wife, son and I drove up to make our annual Trough trip, we saw a bald eagle along Interstate 79 in Kanawha County. The bird had been feeding on roadkill, and as we approached it lifted off and flew directly over the car, no more than 25 yards away.
It was the first eagle my wife had ever seen close-up, and it thrilled her almost beyond words.