Richard Hoebel's 'Eagles: A Photographic Story' chronicles the Berkshire-based birds

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LENOX DALE — Richard Hoebel, when not helping others as a licensed independent clinical social worker, helps himself by finding solace in his photography walks among nature in and around the Berkshires.

Last February, he noticed a pair of bald eagles perched in a tree near his home in Lenox Dale and photographed them. This subsequently led Hoebel to adopt the avid hobby of eagle watching and ultimately a photography book project. Recently released, the project's proceeds ($11.95 per copy) benefit Mass Audubon's Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox.

Upon his initial sightings, Hoebel consulted a bird guide map which only showed eagles in the nation's northern border and parts of Florida.

"Then I remembered that my guidebook is 35 years old," he writes in the introduction of "Eagles: A Photographic Story."

"My new guide shows them across most of the United States. With Rachel Carson's Book, 'Silent Spring,' and the control of pesticides, our national bird is making a comeback."

Hoebel's 6-by-8-inch soft-cover book offers in 40 color images a Berkshire-based look at the bald eagles' resurgence and efforts to protect them — from the eagles of Lenox Dale and Lee to an eaglet-raising couple of the birds nesting on Onota Lake in Pittsfield.

Donnie Miller and Shaun Cook in Lenox Dale, High Lawn Farm, and Pittsfield's Manny and JoAnne Schmaizl helped Hoebel access their properties where eagle activity could be observed.

Hoebel said he hopes the book encourages people to pay more attention to the natural world around them and its inhabitants, such as the majestic bald eagle.

"It's a story about eagles and a story about wildlife here where we live," he said.

He said the project comes from "just loving nature and being able to share it with other people who don't get out all the time."

Learn more about the project at richardhoebelphotos.wordpress.com or visit Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary at 472 West Mountain Road in Lenox.


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