Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nature's Alarm Clocks

First it’s the rooster who calls from across the way, then the ducks quack-quack-quacking, then the rays of sun break the horizon. A new day has dawned, and nature wakes. And it’s another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest.

No eagles on the nest this morning; perhaps they are following the salmon today. Surely that has to be an easier meal for them than chasing down a duck. Although I recall one time…sitting on the deck with a group of people, we watched as a mallard flew just over our heads with an eagle pursuing it close behind. The mallard’s wings were beating as fast as they could, while in contrast, the eagle just slowly and easily glided behind with an occasional wing movement. They both flew to the north and then did a U-turn to the south, the eagle biding his time and hanging just behind the mallard. They flew over the deck again, not 20 feet above us. We could almost feel the duck’s hammering heart as we heard its wings pounding away, desperate to make its escape from the danger lurking behind. The duck must have finally used up its energy and it splashed down at the far end of the lake, with the eagle right behind it. There was a splash as the duck landed and then a second splash. The eagle rose, and the duck was no longer visible. Standing on the deck, the group of people just stared, stunned to have seen nature, brutal nature, in action.

A friend who lives fairly close to the lake has also had close encounters with the eagles. She has farm animals, including chickens, ducks, and geese. She has seen the eagles stop by for a chicken dinner plenty of times. Her opinion is that if a chicken is stupid enough to be outside, by itself, and an eagle is near, well, if the eagle gets that chicken, that’s survival of the fittest at its finest.



  1. Another great photo! WOW!!!

    I agree with your friend, nature looks harsh (especially if you knew that duck personally), but it's all part of the predator/prey cycle.

    When I had chickens, it was really sad when one of them would fall prey to a hawk or eagle, but I never blamed the bird of prey. They always seemed to find the weakest ones in the flock, I had to admit.

    After all, just because a carrot can't run or scream doesn't negate the fact that it was alive before it hit the salad tray.

  2. Thanks for the good words, Tui. I couldn't agree with you more. I love your comment about the carrot! What a perfect analogy.

  3. I forgot to mention how much I love the way you can see the eagle "fingering" the air with his feathers! Such a great photo!

  4. Thank you, thank you!

    I was very happy to see that the camera caught the shot at that moment in time. With my digital camera, it can be so difficult to gauge exactly when the shutter will actually, really, open and close!

    Nature...creatures acting naturally. It's a beautiful, and brutal, thing.


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