The Bald Eagles of Smith Rock have become rock stars of the bird world over the last few years. They have been nesting here every year for the past five yrs and are wonderful parents fledging two chicks like clockwork every season. That is quite an accomplishment. Their fame has spread mostly because of the location of their nest, at eye level in the top of a huge Ponderosa Pine along the Crooked River. From the basalt cliffs, you can look straight across 200 feet of the valley and peer directly into their lives.
If you have a long enough lens and a fair amount of patience, you’ll be rewarded with remarkable photography. For these images, I was using a 500mm lens, plus a 1.4x teleconverter and a 1.5x crops sensor camera. This setup provides me the 35mm equivalent of 1050mm! Thankfully when eagles fly they are huge, and so it works out quite nicely.
Smith Rock Bald Eagle Images
In this shot the eaglet is in the middle downing breakfast while both adults keep watch. This image was not cropped to give you an idea of what you can expect if you take the big glass…
A view into the nest during breakfast.
One of the adults left the nest and was calling the eaglet trying to get them to fly too. You can get some cool and unusual top down birds in flight (BIF) shots at Smith Rock.
Bald Eagle at Smith Rock soaring along the cliff wall.
This Bald Eagle image with a top down view showing the full wingspan isn’t something that you see everyday.
Juvenile Bald Eagle flying back to the nest.
Very cool view of this soon to fledge eaglet. It’s sibling flew two days earlier and that would be consistent with their development. It can 24 to 48 hrs for the eaglets to break out of their shells. The first one out is going to be that much further ahead in their flight training.
Waiting to fly, this eaglet has yet to take wing.
This is the second flight of the first fledgling. He was coming back to the nest for some breakfast. He did a great job on the flight, but botched the landing and crashed down through the limbs of the pine for 20 or 30 feet. No blood…all good. He was fine and eventually tried again and flew back home to the nest.
Returning to the nest – Juvenile Bald Eagle
Gliding away from the nest the adult calls to the eaglets, attempting to coax them into flight.
Adult Bald Eagle coaxing the eaglets in to flight.
Smith Rock Image Gallery
Smith Rock is way more than just the eagles and that is good because the Bald Eagle photography is really only good while they are in the nest from March to June. I think they do the hot air ballon fly over every weekend.
Smith Rock and the Crooked River
Panoramic view of Smith Rock taken near the visitor center.
You may have figured out that I am an avid bird photographer and Smith Rock is also very birdy.
Flocks of these American Bushtits constantly move through Smith Rock.
Smith Rock Eagle Nest Location
To get to the nest go out the Rim Trail from the Bivouac Camping area and when you are the cliff edge stop walking and stare out at the eagles!
Bird Photography Workshops
I lead workshops around the world and while I don’t have plan to include Smith Rock at the moment I do have a Bald Eagle photography workshop that usually runs in November. You can find out more about the workshop on my Wildlife Workshops website, here is the link for my Bald Eagle Photography Workshop.