Collinsville residents, photographers and others expressed disappointment Wednesday as they learned that a dead tree that regular hosted America’s National bird was gone, presumably a victim of the high winds over the past two days.
The tree, which stood near the banks of the Farmington River, was a regular host to several bird species, most notably Bald Eagles.
Dan Phelan, an area resident and outdoor enthusiast, made a habit of walking his dog on the Farmington River Trail along the river in Collinsville.
“There were amazing sunrises, incredible fog banks rolling down to the river from sweetheart mountain, and geese galore. But those experiences all paled in comparison to the mornings when the baldies were hanging out in their tree,” he said. “Seeing our country’s bird thriving in Collinsville, was and still is, a moment that always forces me to take a deep breath, and reflect on how incredible nature is.”
An Eagle in flight makes life’s problems more bearable and the birds can still be seen in the low pine near the Waste Treatment plant, Phelan said.
Jay Kaplan, director at Roaring Brook Nature Center and co-president of the Canton Land Conservation Trust, had seen many birds on the tree.
“My list is impressive – Cooper’s and Red-tailed Hawks, Peregrine Falcon, and many eagles over the years,” he wrote to Canton Compass. “The eagles will find other perches along the Farmington in Collinsville, but none so noticeable as that dead pine tree. It was iconic and I will probably look in that direction for months to come.”
“It’s a sad day as one of my favorite trees in Collinsville has fallen to its demise due to this wind,” photographer and Collinsville resident Tim Brown wrote on Facebook. “It was a tree that stood taller than all the others. A tree that the bald eagles would always sit in watching over their waters of the Farmington river. I looked to this tree every time I drove by to see “who” was sitting in it this time. And it’s gone. I know it sounds stupid. But I liked that tree.”
Like others, Stephen Roberto, Collinsville business owner and photographer, often took pictures of mature and immature Eagles in and around the tree. He said he knew the day was coming but still didn’t quite want to accept it.
“I’m devastated,” he said. “It’s just something you don’t think is going to happen.”
Roberto, also a selectmen, said the idea of somehow supporting that tree or erecting an artificial perch has come up. On Wednesday afternoon, he said he had already talked to First Selectman Richard Barlow about pursuing the idea of an artificial structure, which would likely take research, some talks with landowners and other steps.
“We’re going to see if there’s an avenue we can pursue to put something up,” he said.