You never do know what you are going to see in the country.
Lately, the roadkill buzzard activity has been a whole lot more interesting. Instead of your standard racoon/possum menu, this past week has brought me a wild hog on the side of the road and a coyote…all being feasted upon by the vultures. The wild hog was huge and lasted for days. It was like Thanksgiving for them. At the end, all that was left was the rib cage and part of the snout. It was a beautiful viewing for the drive home from wherever each day.
But yesterday brought something different.
There were extra kids at my house, helping celebrate freedom, Martin Luther King Jr., and a day off of school. We had decided, since it was below 80 and actually not going to be hot, to build a little campfire that we’d keep going a lot of the day. S’mores, chatting, etc. It was going to be nice. So I was out in the yard gathering my fire supplies when my oldest boy ran to me breathless and said, “Mom, there’s a bald eagle in the yard. Come quick. There’s an eagle.”
I’ve been down this road before. This is the “There’s a shark!” when it’s actually a porpoise. Or a “Coyote!!” when it’s really a house cat. So I moved toward this bird sighting at a relaxed pace, still in my pajamas, waiting to see one of the aforementioned buzzards, hopefully chewing on a filthy, beastly raccoon. I walked around the fire pit where 6 children were yelling and pointing and bouncing and flailing and I looked toward the bird.
Hmm. That’s interesting. What IS that thing? I wasn’t sure. I did think it merited a closer look, though, so I told them to stop the yelling and flailing while I ran in for the binoculars. When I returned, there was just as much flailing and bellowing and the bird was watching us. I couldn’t believe it was still there. Just sitting there at the back of the yard by the treeline. I raised my binoculars to my eyes while Mama’s Boy begged for the next look. What I saw shocked me. It was a stinking bald eagle.
And T was pouring salt into our water softener, not paying one lick of attention to any of it. That’s because it couldn’t be America’s bird. There was no way. But it was. And it was staring at me in my own yard. It was one of my favorite moments at home and I will remember it forever. Because the eagle stayed long enough for us to pass those binoculars to every child. It stayed long enough for us to get a poor quality picture and some video. And it stayed long enough to confirm my theory that a hawk is eating my chickens.
As we watched in awe, the eagle launched into the air and we watched his huge brown wings beat the sky. He circled around once and flew back toward us again. At that moment, from the opposite side of the yard, the hawk swooped in and actually started harassing the eagle who was twice his size. Twice the hawk descended upon the eagle. And finally the eagle flew away.
If that hawk will attack a bald eagle, I’m pretty sure I’ll never have free range chickens again.
But it sure was cool to watch.