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Bald Eagles and Sunsets

January 10th, 2008

Back to normal winter cold, but yesterday was full of surprises.  Mostly involving trying to get things done around the house, and too many errands.  A few groups of Canada Geese have been hanging around the pond early in the morning… I don’t know when they fly in, but it must be before dawn. I enjoy looking at them from afar, but as I wrote last year I’m not a big fan of having them on the pond.   So I’ll walk around the pond with the dog and they fly off usually.  I was surprised to see them eating acorns though.  So much water ran off the slopes that many little acorns were floating among the grass at the water’s edge, and the geese were gobbling them up as they paddled around.

 Canada Geese on pond

I was driving past a neighbor’s property down the hill, and out in the middle of the pasture was a Bald Eagle!  We don’t see them around here very often, but it was dining on some carrion- probably a deer.   The Bald Eagle is a majestic bird, but many people don’t think of it as a scavenger, which it is as much as a carnivore.  Although they normally eat fish, they are opportunists as much as any other species of wildlife and will eat whatever is available.

 Bald Eagle feeding on deer carrion in Missouri

I took some long distance pictures with the telephoto lens, and after picking up the young boy off the bus, I drove down the hill to show him the eagle- and now there was an immature Bald Eagle (no white head/tail) feeding at the same site.  I guess the family was traveling together!  It flew off after I stopped the truck a couple hundred yards away.

Immature Bald Eagle

I’ll never forget some 20+ years ago while I worked as a wildlife research assistant, I watched two immature Bald Eagles flying together for an hour, spinning, flipping, circling each other, briefly locking talons, flying away and coming back to each other time after time…. seemed like they were exhibiting spring mating behavior, or just practicing maybe.   Just beautiful to watch though.

At the end of the day we were treated to a beautiful sunset.  The light turned orange and pink, and rippled across the sky and clouds.  Last month the sunset was much further to the west-northwest, and now is moving slowly back south. I’m all for that as the northern hemisphere begins its slow journey to warm up again!

Sunset at Fox Haven in January

 

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