Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Eagle Has Landed! Fly Like an Eagle!

This guy dropped by a couple of weeks ago to check things our in the pond in front of my house.
I have spent a good part of my life outdoors, and I think I've seen a Bald Eagle maybe twice in the wild. And one of those times is suspect. It was in the Fall River area in Northern California, where the Shasta and Lassen National Forests come together. We'd seen Ospreys and a Golden Eagle or two, when someone pointed to a raptor flying very high and said it was a Bald Eagle. 

Well, okay.

The second time was not long ago over the Columbia River Gorge a little south of the Dalles. The creature was flying fairly high, but the white helmet and powerful flight was pretty clear.

But I move to Colorado, and this guy shows up. He evidently saw the dead goose on (or in) the ice and decided to drop in for dinner. His presence excited everyone, and he didn't seem to mind the attention at all, actually seeming annoyed at times because no one trotted out with a boom box and played "The Star Spangled Banner." He left when the ice melted and the goose sank.

But today, he's back for no reason I can discern. What's cool this time is that he's doing flyovers, as though he were a member of the raptor league of the Blue Angels. He suddenly appears over the treetops and swoops down to, perhaps, five feet about the surface of the pond, terrorizing the geese and ducks, and pulls back on whatever his stick is and sharply gains altitude, disappearing over the trees on the other side of the lake.

He glides in a wide circle, banks starboard and disappears, only to return at full throttle. It's a remarkable performance.

A short while ago, he did his fly-in-and-swoop, but alighted on the remaining floe of ice, where he perched, defiantly. The geese and ducks, paddling nervously, kind of shuffle to the other side of the pond in the shelter of overhanging trees.

But the eagle is insistent on his royal prerogative and is soon joined by several crows, first one, then another, then a couple more, as though they're the earls and dukes of some minor fiefdom coming to pay homage.

I kind of think they're making a bargain over the next dead goose, with the eagle saying, "Look, I get the ribs, breast and thighs, and you take the viscera, brains and whatever's left." Except it's not a bargain. It's an offer that can't be refused.

The eagle just left, but I'm kind of wondering if he is't moving into the neighborhood. That sounds very cool, but then I'm not the neighbor's cat, either.

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