Friday, January 13, 2012

We're down a Coot

I was at the park with a friend today and we were pointing out the ducks, seagulls, and geese to the babies. Suddenly the birds scattered. I thought somebody had let a dog loose (Bailey was going nuts on the leash).

Instead, it turned out to be a pair of bald eagles that had appeared on the scene. They quickly identified a group of American coots and, working in tandem, herded them into a tight group by repeatedly dive bombing them. The coots were diving underwater in an attempt to escape.

Eventually one of the eagles swooped low and grabbed an individual.  The remaining birds quickly dispersed.

I got it on video, actually. Which I probably won't post.

It was interesting to watch. Hard to watch. I'm glad that the kids weren't at an age that seeing a cute duck plucked out of the water would scar them for life.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I was aware that bald eagles ate more than just fish. That realization occurred when my dad was almost beaned by a headless duck that a startled eagle dropped while flapping away. They're also responsible for the decimation of our local blue heron rookery; a massacre that I find to be especially egregious.

Yet on the other hand, how can I hold it against the eagles? I like to eat duck, too.

Still, it did put a damper on the walk. I like coots.

Why couldn't they go for the sea gulls? Or the crows? I'd happily offer up a few hundred that routinely roost in our neighborhood.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes. Wow, that would be sad to see. Hard to watch & hard to think it's nature at its work & it's best to leave Mother Nature alone. I knew bald eagles ate "things" other than fish but it's weird to think they're playing a part in another birds disappearance...hadn't heard that before, but you learn something new every day.
    As disturbing as it is, I can't imagine faulting the eagles. As we continue to encroach on many wildlife's ecosystems, how can we blame the mountain lion that stumbles into town & attacks? Or deer that find a home in someone's yard because there's green grass all year long? I'd be interested to see the video, but only out of pure curiosity & willingness to understand the "circle of life." I'll probably cry like a baby.