Monday, February 15, 2010

Starved Rock, The Eagles Tour, and an Eagle Tree Gets the Chain Saw.

After about two hours, give or take, we arrived at Starved Rock Lodge to see whether the eagles had landed. A buffet at 11 a.m. was followed by the Starved Rock Trolley car call. The son of a WPA worker explained how the Starved Rock Lodge was built, while he drove us to see the eagles at the I&M Canal Center. The I&M Canal ranger showed us a movie and gave us some eagle statistics. This was followed by a trip to the Starved Rock Visitors Center. We got out of the Trolley to see the eagles from the opposite side of the River.

The view of the eagles on Plum Island in the Illinois River was rather amazing. Over twenty eagles were perched in one location. A few had enough energy left to soar above and around the locks in spite of the cold temperatures. However, trying to photograph eagles from about a mile is challenging with a compact camera, even if it has a zoom lens. I understand that the eagles may migrate north any day with little notice. Yet, they can stay as long as the fifteenth of March.

This was followed by our tour guide waxing about liability from lawsuits. Apparently, a homeowner feared the wrath of raptor madness on his lawn or corn field. You would think that an opportunity to charge a fee for such eco-tourism might thrill some locals. Unfortunately, it seems that one Utican thinks that Corboy and Dimetrio of Bob Clifford have investigators perched in the cliffs ready to document and sue every landowner on Illinois River with an eagle's nest and a kitchy billboard.

As a result, this led to the destruction of an eagle habitat. A tree that was being used by eagles for nesting on private property was cut down. Perhaps, like a good neighbor, the Audobon Society, Nature Conservancy, and State Farm can intervene and explain the facts of life.

It seems that such things as assumption of risk and the legal challenges to slip and fall lawsuits are unknown in these parts. Also, the fact that State Farm, among other insurance companies, own their own law firm to challenge questionable and valid claims. Maybe, an insurance companies can consider a discount and get some good PR!

Well, it was a good trip. We got out of the house and into Starved Rock State Park. It could have been a trip taken for the cost of gas and toll. However, we learned that the I&M Canal Center's Eagle presentation, with movie, is given exclusively to those who book the Starved Rock Lodge Eagle Trolley Tour. The Lodge is worth supporting and the $25 per person fee was not much to ask for. We didn't even have to stay the night!

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