Eagles an unexpected but frequent guest for local couple this year

By Matt Bunke, Community Editor

Walter and Irene Swartzer are used to seeing wildlife in the yard of their Watertown area home. Everything from turkeys to pheasants to deer have graced the yard at some point this year.

Lately, though, the Swartzers have enjoyed some extra-special guests.

Beginning on Friday, June 29, the Swartzers have had a pair of eagles pay regular visits to their bird bath and picnic table. Irene said the two will sit there sometimes for as many as three hours, and have been back pretty much every days since that first time.

"It was something you don’t see everyday," Irene Swartzer said. "It’s pretty neat to just sit there and watch them. We’ve gone fishing and you see them in the trees and different things, but this is just right outside my kitchen window."

The Swartzers, who live on Highway 25 about mile past the high school, said there has been an eagle’s nest in a tree near the bend in the road at County Road 20 for a number of years, so spotting eagles in the area isn’t new for nearby residents. However, this is the first time they’ve ventured into the Swartzer’s yard, or at least the first time they’ve noticed them.

Swartzer said the two eagles, one much bigger than the other, always walk – not fly – into the yard. They almost always climb up on either the bird bath or the picnic table, but ignore the clothes line posts or the trees.

"They’re graceful in the air, but they sure are clumsy on the ground," Irene Swartzer said.

Walter Swartzer said the eagles will sometimes try to drink from the birdbath, but have difficulty getting much water because of the size of their beaks. Most of the time, they’re content to just sit there.

"One day it was really hot and it just sat there for a few hours," Irene said. "He just made himself right at home. … We’ve had birds in there, but never that size until now."