Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eagles in the Morning

Chuck Cross, co-owner of Polar Cruises, stopped by this morning to tell me about some bald eagles he had seen along a nearby road. Chuck walks his dog Rocky, AKA The Rocket, off of this road every morning. After giving me some directions, I headed out with my camera.

Fortunately, the two bald eagles were still working on a deer carcass just off the road. With them where several black-billed magpies. The magpies took advantage of the eagle's spookiness; every time a car passed the birds flew up to perches in nearby ponderosas. When they did this, the magpies swooped in and started to feed. They didn't seem as concerned about traffic and probably were being opportunistic with the eagles away.

After shooting some photos, I drove away and parked. I waited about 10 minutes to see if the eagles would return to the carcass. Only a few vehicles came by, but that was enough to keep the birds off of their easy meal. As I drove by the second time, the birds remained perched. 

The carcass was far enough off of the road to not warrant moving it. I've done that before, stopped and hauled a deer off of a road to minimize potential collisions between birds and vehicles. Gross? Of course, but then again, I'd rather not see the eagles get hit. Besides, what's a little blood and guts on a naturalist's boots? Answer: just something else from nature to investigate...

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