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.