Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wednesday on the River

Back on the Susquehanna River for another try on Bald Eagles.  I had just three hours, but the colder weather encouraged me that I'd see more Bald Eagles fishing.  After all, it takes more feed to keep warm on the colder days. 

Activity began early with this fly-by just after daybreak.  This bird won't need to fish again until much  later in the day.

The large sycamore tree above me was a favored perch for the birds. This adult Eagle retreated to the branches with its catch, but soon escaped the pestering juvenile eagles seeking to steal its catch. Note the fishtail trailing in the tail feathers.

Below is just one of the large number of juvenile Bald Eagles facing the need to catch their own fish in their first winter.  What a better idea to just steal one from an adult.  The first year of independence is a tough one.

Usually, eagles grab the fish from the surface with their talons, but this bird caught a smaller one in its beak, and performed some in-flight contortions to transfer the catch to its talons.

It is easy to overlook the necessity for cleaning up after the eagles, and that task falls to the Black Vultures.  Some people seem to be repulsed by them, but I find them stately when perched and graceful in flight.  Thanks to them, I am not dealing with the "perfume" of decaying fish carcasses.

If you find yourself around these birds, it is wise to remember that black vultures have an appetite for the vinyl trim on cars; they need to be watched.  Their beak can rip trim off a vehicle.  They call for a different style of bird watching. 


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