Story by Suzanna Logan | Photography by Joseph Hilliard
Along a wooded peninsula high above the gentle twists and turns of Wisconsin's Eagle River — about 100 feet above to be exact — a bald eagle's nest rests precariously in a pine tree.
“The nests can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and are hanging from branches the size of your arm,” says Mike Manske, who has been watching the birds come and go from their dramatic treetop perches since he began visiting the area during family vacations as a child.
Given the size of the nests, it’s no surprise that these sanctuaries are added onto over the course of many years. Soaring forcefully yet gracefully through the air, the eagles seem blissfully unaware of just how impressive their creations really are.
In many ways, the eagles and their nests are a fitting metaphor for Mike, his wife, Gayle, and the five-bedroom, five-bath home they built as a getaway to share with their two teenage boys and extended family.