Well, That Was Exciting! [And why was my phone in the truck???????]

Bald eagle making dastardly plans...

Bald eagle making dastardly plans…

I was at the back of the truck using the tailgate as a handy table on which to hack up soft pumpkins and squash to feed to the hogs, turkeys, ducks, and chickens when the roosters started up their ‘We’re all gonna’ die!!!!’ chorus. The turkeys took up the alarm cry and I turned around to see a bald eagle skimming along knee high in hot pursuit of one of my drakes! They were headed straight up the driveway toward me, the drake intent on escape, the eagle intent on lunch when the drake shot under the truck and the eagle, a bit surprised to see me, swooped up and over me and did a couple of slow, lazy loops just overhead. All of this happened in a few seconds and whether I could have whipped my phone out fast enough to capture the drama is unlikely, but I found myself slapping my empty butt pockets as I realized I had left the phone in the truck cab! The eagle circled overhead a couple more times as I scrambled into the cab, retrieved the phone and watched as the bird landed on a nearby tree branch.

We had a conversation, then – me explaining to the eagle that he was welcome to hunt rabbits and rats but if he wouldn’t mind leaving my birds alone I’d be most grateful. The eagle shrugged himself off the branch, circled once more, and then sailed off with nary a backward glance. It’s odd, actually, that he was going after a drake. The adult muscovy males are nearly the same size as an eagle and would put up a formidable fight. They have huge talons and are generally not bothered too much by predators (the smaller female ducks are another story…).

Time will tell whether the eagle was paying any attention to my pleas for mercy on behalf of the flock.

12 responses to “Well, That Was Exciting! [And why was my phone in the truck???????]

  1. Really enjoying your blog. Nikki!

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  2. Wow! That was exciting. You did a good job telling the story. I could picture it clearly. Especially the chickens squawking about all dying. Funny.

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  3. thehomesliceblog

    I live in England and can’t even imagine seeing a bald eagle in the wild like this-so beautiful!! And slightly scary..?!

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    • It was impressive to see one so close and so intent on its job! But it wasn’t really frightening – eagles are not threatening unless you are a duck (or a rabbit…) They are magnificent birds and I felt quite lucky to get such a good look. They don’t generally fly so low, especially under the trees where he was. It’s much more usual to see them soaring in big circles high above the fields. A pair has a nest in one of the tall trees next door, so we also see them perched up high, especially a bit later in the year when they are feeding their young. They are beautiful birds, that’s for sure.

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      • thehomesliceblog

        They’re my favourite birds of prey, so fascinating. I’ve only seen them in zoo’s or sanctuaries before. If you’re really lucky you can spot golden eagles in the Scottish Highlands, but otherwise it tends to be buzzards & kestrels here, boring English wildlife!

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  4. We have lots of eagles around here in fall through spring. There are dams on the rivers sufficient to create feeding grounds for them. And the Mississippi River is 60 miles from here, where they are even thicker.

    We occasionally see a Coopers Hawk going after birds in our back yard. Once we witnessed the hawk grabbing a squirrel and hauling it off! Yes, that squirrel WAS as big-bodied as the hawk. But I’ve never seen an eagle on the hunt like that. Thrilling and scary at the same time.

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  5. Great story. With the wicked weather my guess is the eagle was just plain starving.

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  6. Great story and I love that you were able to get that photo!

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  7. LOVE eagles. We see them fairly often here at the lake. Those talons, those beaks! One flew overhead recently maybe 20 feet up, close but still not as impressive as hauling butt up your driveway! We have lots of waterfowl around, so maybe one day I will get a chance to see that, also!

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