Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19, 2015 - Bald Eagles

Every now and then, I’ll find a bald eagle on the banks of a river or the shore of the ocean.  This one has been hanging out for a while.  The eating is good around here, with plenty of trout, bass, and landlocked salmon.  There are also plenty of small bird species to hunt as well, such as gulls and ducks.  I’ve seen this eagle almost every day now for a week, and I think he has set up camp here.  I don’t blame him.  An eagle perched on the shoreline like this is specifically looking for a meal.  There were at least 50 gulls and 50 ducks not far from him, keeping a wary eye.  I think this fellow was looking for a good fish dinner, though.

If you’ve never seen a bald eagle catch a fish, I can tell you it’s quite a sight to see.  They have very good eyesight, and when they spot a fish in the water, they swoop down from a very high height and snatch it right out of the water with their talons!  It all happens very fast.  Other times, they’ll perch on a river bank just like this one is doing, searching the waters.  They try not to get too wet when they fish, though.  Waterlogged feathers weigh them down, and if they get too wet, they’ll go somewhere to dry off for a while.

A bald eagle on a river bank.

Bald eagles don’t have the pure white head and tail until they’re of reproductive age at five years old, so I know this one has been around for a while.  I’ll continue to monitor the area when I can to see if there’s a mate.  The female is always larger than the male, so I don’t really know if this is a female or male, but hopefully I’ll find out soon enough.  Often, bald eagles will begin nest building and mating in February, much earlier than many other birds.  Since this is a sexually mature adult, there may be another bald eagle present, if not now then soon.  Maybe with some good luck, we’ll have little eaglets soon!

Of course, I say this all with a bit of wariness as well.  I’ve had more than one chicken of mine stolen by bald eagles and golden eagles.  Fish is usually their preferred food, but it seems like nothing in the world can resist a chicken dinner.

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