Saturday, February 14, 2009
Last weekend the Wookie and I traveled to the Annapolis Valley for the final Eagles Weekend. The Valley is the one of two large agricultural areas of Nova Scotia and the chicken farmers feed the wild population of bald eagles all winter. Of course it's the leftover parts of chickens that humans don't consume. The farmers invite the public to view the feedings for 3 weekends in the winter, though I found out we can go anytime during the winter.
The bald eagle has a strong foothold in this province, from one end to another. I always see eagles when I visit Cape Breton and quite often see them in the Valley. To see them from about 50 feet away, though is quite another thing. And so many, too; I lost count of the eagles sitting in the trees near the one farm we went to. I counted 50, with several juveniles in the mix. Of course, crows and gulls make an appearance at the same time and sometimes red tailed hawks. The Wookie took a billion pictures and I've just posted a few of them here.
Many of us have visions of these creatures flying majestically, perhaps grabbing a salmon as they dip into the waters on the west coast. But eagles are mostly scavengers, going after whatever is available (kind of like those folks at the all-you-can-eat buffet) and while they don't show the "misses" of those salmon grabs on documentary shows, they do miss more often than not. Because of their size (5 foot wingspan) and shape, they can appear kind of clumsy as they try to grab a piece of chicken while in flight and I actually laughed out loud at some of their attempts, feeling a bit of a kinship with them. I am certainly not what would be described as majestic or elegant.
The provincial bird is the osprey, a fisher-bird. They are smaller than eagles but just as magnificent and when they return to the mouth of the Sackville River this spring I'll be out taking some pics for you.
In the meantime, enjoy the eagles; for my American friends, especially, as the wild turkey was almost your national bird.