It was a relatively rare sight on Wenham Lake on Friday.
A group of bald eagles was spotted on the lake, eating away at an animal carcass on the ice. It wasn’t the first time bald eagles have been seen on the lake, but the sight is somewhat rare.
Bald eagles were also seen on the lake back in 2007, according to a report in the Salem News at the time.
An amateur photographer from Beverly, Rob Whiting, told the paper at the time that he often photographs eagles on the Merrimack River but had not seen them in the Wenham area.
The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife does not have any evidence that the eagles are nesting on the lake, said assistant director Tom French. It is more likely that the birds are from Maine or Canada and are headed south to find warmer air.
“Having birds on the lake doesn’t mean they are nesting on the lake,” he said.
Yet French noted that the bird is one of the most recognizable creatures since it serves as the national bird and is on the quarter.
The eagles likely spotted "lunch" and stopped to eat.
The eagles like to nest in white pines and try to find an area protected from wind. A bald eagle nest can be up to five feet tall, up to 4-1/2 feet wide and weight up to a ton, French said.
Known nests are along the Merrimack River in Amesbury, Haverhill, Methuen and Tyngsboro, along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Framingham and on Lake Shirley in Lunenburg.
The location of 38 pairs of nexting eagles is known in Massachusetts, French said.
For more than 80 years in the 1900s, there were no known pairs of bald eagles with nests in Massachusetts, French said.
But with the help of 41 chicks that were brought here from Michigan plus Manitoba and Nova Scotia in Canada and released at the Quabbin Reservoir, that's growing.
“The population is starting to go up,” he said.
The presence of the birds on Wenham Lake on Friday attracted significant attention, causing cars to pull alongside Route 1A where it passes near the lake by Lakeview Golf Course in an area known as Pond Hill.