Monday, December 04, 2006

My Own Little Discovery Show

I will get a telephoto someday!)

“Hey, Tabor, come look out the window!” hubby said with excitement in his voice

I looked at the direction he indicated and high on a snag above the river sat a bald eagle. Hubby ran to get the binoculars --- that expensive Swarovski set that I bought him five years ago and which has panned out to be one of the best gifts I ever got him.

He generously handed me the binoculars first to see the close up of our visitor. He was definitely a male in his prime. His colors were lustrous and his feathers full and rich in the cold afternoon. The eagle then gently lifted his wings and glided closer to another nearby snag. That is when I saw he had a fish in his talons. He landed on the branch and I could see the silvery menhaden flapping against the branch as it hung down caught only by one claw.

The eagle ‘eagle-eyed’ his domain and then took a small bite from his sashimi meal. The menhaden continued to flap while the eagle continued to nibble. This predator prey drama was not for the weak of heart. The eagle would pause between bites and survey the river at his leisure. This lasted for just a few minutes more.

Before long, a crow flew in to a branch just above and to the right of the eagle with intimidating body language and a noisy jabber indicating clear interest in the mid-day lunch. In a very short time a second crow joined him and landed just above the first. Both seemed to me to be too close to the eagle. Daring black bullies they were. Two more flew in and landed to the left of the eagle. One of these flew down looking for fragments of flesh on the forest floor.

The eagle had now changed from the leisurely meal with a view on the water to the fast food manner dictated by the nearby company and he soon finished the fish. He proceeded to clean his bill and claws on the bark of the tree and the crows eventually lost interest and departed.

The eagle sat on the branch for almost an hour longer letting us observe him and giving us an excuse to halt the Christmas decorating. Then he took off, swooping with breathtaking grace down the river making a dip at the far end…too far for us to see if he caught dessert.


  1. What a wonderful story! You had me riveted. You really have a knack for making the events come alive...I could imagine the whole scenario so vividly.

    Hope you're having a good day :)

  2. Spectacular, I was there with you!

  3. This was a delight to read - thanks so much for sharing

  4. Anonymous2:00 PM

    That's amazing. The only time I saw one of these eagles was in Maine on a lake and it was not that close to me.

  5. That is incredible, what a great thing to watch! And right outside your home, too.
    I have only twice watched bald eagles (not eating though.) In the Colorado mountains, on a raft trip. And in Northern Michigan. There's a lake - can't recall the name - with quite a few bald eagles living in peace. Charlton Heston owns a huge tract of land along the lakeshore and is leaving it be...that's where I saw those eagles. If it wasn't so far away I'd go there more often to hike, it's gorgeous, miles of fire trails.

  6. great post! how exciting - nature is so grand.

    i can't wait to get to the skagit river this month when the salmon begin to run. hundreds of bald eagles arrive for a long awaited dinner, i am told! this goes on into january. it is only about 80-90 mins. away. i had never seen a bald eagle until this year! i am a little worried about how it might be to watch the fish be eaten, but i am comforted by the fact that the salmon would die after spawning anyway.

  7. Anonymous9:50 PM

    A very cool neighbor you have there!

  8. Anonymous8:15 PM

    Wow! What an adventure you had and it was free and right at home outside your window.


  9. How do you tell male from female bald eagles? I see them by the dozens at times, and have watched them do everything from teach their young to fish to court, but the only way I can tell which is which is that the female is bigger -- and with only one, how would I know that?


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