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During our family trip to Yellowstone a couple summers ago, I noticed several cars stopped on the side of the road. Figuring some animal must be visible, I pulled off to take a look.

But this time it wasn't "just" prairie dogs or elk.

There, on a stump about 100 yards away, perched an enormous bird with white head and hooked beak. It was unmistakable: a bald eagle.

Even our kids, who had not been impressed by the geysers ("too smelly") or canyons ("what's next?") were wowed by the magnificent bird of prey.

"Let me use the binoculars!"

"Can I take another picture?"

We stayed, sharing binoculars, and saying, "Wow," repeatedly until the eagle eventually spread its wings, took flight, and disappeared over the trees.

Sure, we'd seen eagles soaring on television, and we'd seen closeups in magazines and recognized the famous profile from the U.S. Postal Service logo.

What was it that made this experience so exciting?

This was a real eagle in real life.

There's something about seeing ...

January/February
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