The Star-Herald

New year brings new winged neighbor

New year, new neighbor. The Star City has moved up in the ranks of civilized places to reside. The latest denizen to appear is one who is long overdue for this neck of the woods. A youngster, this one has a lot of pizzazz and passion for the downtown area. Years of work to recruit him have paid off and there are many unsung heroes who have worked tirelessly to bring him here.

At one time the Prestile stream and the Aroostook River were nothing more than open sewers for heavy industry in the area. Stories are told of the fire department having to hose down the stream stones when they began to stink a bit. Thanks to a total rethinking of how the environment is used, the fish population has increased.

Judging by the number of roadkill sites on a simple drive between Ashland and Presque Isle, and the increased complaints of residents about a wide range of varmints chewing up new trees, new lawns, and the occasional house, the number of mice, voles, moles, rats, and miscreants is also increasing. What this means is that Presque Isle is now a destination location for some young families of a certain winged species.

Plenty of space, clear blue skies, just enough industry, farming and food — the Star City is now home to an eagle, a bald eagle.

First spotted hanging out at the library, evidently making full use of the grounds and space above for edification and relaxation, the young eagle has begun to establish a residence in the area. Lots of old trees with large canopies, lots of roosting sites that are close to the river, but not too close — the eagle has spotted an opportunity to enjoy life. During the day he can be seen cruising the curves of Main Street and tall things located along the stream.

Eagle is not a commonly spoken tongue in the area. Other eagles, of course, understand the caws and squawks, but people are another issue entirely. The fish and varmints in the city and around it do understand that there is now one more sky-sweeping animal who likes takeout. The pigeons, seagulls and other winged citizens are duly notified about the change in usable airspace. It is possible that Mr. Eagle will open a KFC-Eagles emporium near Riverside Park. Fish will be a prime dish on the menu.

The new neighbor needs a name, something that will allow him to be easily identified as our eagle and provide a bit of dignity to a noble bird. “Sam” is too common and “George” is a bit impertinent. What would the readers of this paper call the new eagle? Not certain yet if it is a male or female. School kids should start thinking and writing names down. The Chamber of Commerce will need to get pictures. With a name, the slogan “X lives here, why don’t you?”  takes on new meaning.  It will also make it easier for the Police Department to keep up with which eagles belong and which do not. They could even issue him a City of Presque Isle ID card complete with picture.

Pictures are a definite necessity. Surely someone can capture a photo of the bird. I am certain that it will make an improvement over the lackluster photos of clouds and sky phenomenon used as weather report backdrops. A bald eagle with white feathers would certainly bring in the viewers. WAGM might even offer the bird a contract. An eagle munching fish and delivering forecasts at the same time would be a plus.

It remains to be seen whether this is an aberration or permanent fixture for the Star City. Only the New Year can show the result. But it is nice to see that all those environmental regulations and land use rules are paying off.

Say hi to the eagle.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

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