Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Bald eagle encounter in the pandemic of 2020

Gather around my friends and I will tell you the glorious tale of my bald eagle encounter during the great pandemic of 2020!

Except it should be noted that the pandemic doesn't much come into it. And "glorious" is a bit of an overstatement. 

Oh, and it's really not that "great" of a pandemic. Indeed, it has many negative features to it!

So is everybody ready?

I went out for a walk on the river this morning. And in a tree up over the Mississippi River, straight in front of me, was a enormous bald eagle. He was about 30 percent scuzzy and 70 percent majestic. His feet were kind of scabby and all his lower feathers bedraggled. His white head was clean and very fine. That's about how it usually is when one gets a good look at a wild animal. It's dirty out there in the world and a little rough. The eagle had his back to me with his head turned to the side. Bald eagles always look like they're posing for a portrait, chin held high, trying to look imperious. It mostly works. This eagle looked 30 percent ridiculous, 70 percent inspiring.

Then the eagle turned his head all the way around so his beak was over his back. Imagine if your chin were directly aligned with your spine. Standing there I could almost imagine that, but the difference with my imagination was that there was no apparent twist to his pose, no stretching, the eagle's head just neatly swiveled 180 degrees with no tension.

Oh, was he looking at me?


Really I was just standing there, very politely.

He turned to look over the river. Then he started screeching. This was pretty exciting. He screeched a lot, like he was trying to say something. Then I noticed a bird was flying by, heading upriver. At first I thought maybe it was all a "between eagles" thing. But it wasn't an eagle. 

It might have been a heron.

The eagle leaped out of the tree and flew towards the heron. The heron picked up the pace. The eagle chased the heron. My view was clear and I watched them for a long time. The eagle never gained ground that I could tell, and they both never stopped beating their wings. Finally they disappeared into the northern horizon, one after the other.

Like so much these days: who knows what will happen?

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