Saturday, November 30, 2019

Saturday Morning at the Wastewater

Up here for Thanksgiving my Ohio son Steve accompanied me to the Wastewater yesterday morning looking for Snowies or whatever.  We witnessed the encounter below, three Rough-legged Hawks, and Charlie DeWitt (who had seen a Snow Bunting), but saw nothing snowy ourselves.

Heading south on Swanson we watched an immature Bald Eagle scare the landfill gulls and then glide southeast.  A few minutes later we saw it on the field east of Swanson south of Apple.  It had some small prey in its talons.  Beside it was a Common Raven.

About six feet separated the birds except when the raven stepped toward its gigantic foe, beak up in a menacing posture.  Then the eagle would respond with a counter-charge displaying the prey, some grass stalks, and its talons.  The raven wisely stepped back.  

We figured that the prey belonged to the raven before the eagle arrived and that the raven wanted it back.  Otherwise it's hard to explain why an intelligent animal would intentionally get that close to those talons.

The dance continued until we stepped out of the car.  Then the raven flew up, performed an impressive low-level wing-over, crawked, and flew north beyond Apple.  The eagle carried its prey and grass stalks in the same direction for a few hundred yards, then settled back down on the field.

- Ric

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