Our granddaughter Aleksis insists special birds follow her, and she thinks she knows why.

"(My family) and I were traveling on Hathaway Road when I spotted this huge, beautiful bald eagle, spreading its wings overhead. All at once, we yell out, 'hey, was that an eagle? And soon after that, a second eagle flies over!," she exclaimed.

For as long as we can remember, Aleksis has had a special relationship with birds.

"It seems like wherever I go, around here or away, it's crazy, but hawks and eagles are watching over me to let me know that I'm not alone in all this, and things will get better," she said.

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Emily Stolarski of Mass Wildlife liked the fact that Aleksis keeps her eyes peeled for them.

"Every year, we ask the public to keep an eye out for eagles, especially if they're carrying sticks and nesting materials," she said. "In the spring, our agency has trained climbers who'll climb up to the eagle's nest and tag the young with a leg bracelet, to give our biologists an accurate sense of where the eagles are traveling."

It's important that they keep track on the local eagles.

"It wasn't that long ago that the entire eagle population here dwindled away because the birds were ingesting DDT, the pesticide, that would soften the eggs," Stolarski said. "Massachusetts had to re-introduce a new eagle population with birds brought in from Michigan and Canada."

It's been working, though, as the eagle population has increased on the SouthCoast and Cape Cod.

"Last year, a news piece we published talked about how the numbers of eagles here continued to grow steadily over the last two decades," she said. "With the public's help, in 2021, we confirmed nine new nest sites, including in Wareham and Barnstable. What's amazing is the new one in Barnstable marked the first nest with eggs in over 115 years."

She also nudged that she'd like others to do just like Aleksis "and keep your eyes peeled."

“It’s been a common belief in many different cultures for many years that animal visitors, particularly cardinals and hawks, are signs from our past loved ones,” said New Bedford’s Stephanie Burke, a psychic medium who works out of Mattapoisett. “It’s not uncommon that when we’re going through a tough time, thinking of our loved ones on a birthday, anniversary or special occasion that one of these animals shows up completely unexpected.”

The type of bird can also have a particular meaning unto itself.

“Many people have very specific animals that are attached to their particular loved ones who have passed,” Burke said. “For myself, my grandmother has always shown me ladybugs since her passing.”

Aleksis feels a kinship to these majestic animals. It's said that eagles convey the powers and messages of the spirit. It's our connection to the divine because eagles fly higher than any other bird. Hawk symbolism and meaning includes intelligence, independence, clairvoyance, and spiritual awareness, and that perfectly describes her.

Massachusetts Wildlife You Can Legally Take Home as Pets

Massachusetts has such diverse wildlife, but also strict limitations on what you can bring home and cuddle. In fact, there are only certain reptiles and amphibians you can keep as pets (so no raccoons, squirrels, bunnies, etc.) and you are only allowed two of each. The state also says "you cannot sell, barter, or exchange them." Also, keep in mind, these are wildlife, so it's probably best to just leave them be and maybe visit a reptile shop instead to get your next pet.