Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Treetop hullabaloo.

Across the ditch.

I was on the dyke, across a broad, water-filled ditch from a roadway lined by white birches forty feet tall. I wasn’t looking at the birches; I looking out to sea. An alarmed shrieking started, “Ki Ki Ki Ki Ki Ki Ki!” I turned and looked up. A Bald Eagle was wrestling with something brown, high in the canopy. They tumbled halfway through the branches, then separated and flew off in opposite directions. The brown thing was a female Cooper’s Hawk. It flew back up into the tree and landed, but I lost sight of her among the wind-tossed branches. The eagle circled back, but before it got close, a phalanx of crows came shooting in from somewhere. They mobbed the big bird and sent it over my head, out to the water.

I continued to a bridge across the ditch and doubled back along the roadway with the birches. It didn't take long to find it - a Cooper’s Hawk nest high up in a tree. I wasn’t able to see the female from below, but she could have been sitting there. I wonder, now that the eagle knows the nest is there, what are the chances it won’t be successfully raided?

Cooper's Hawk nest.

Crows: the unexpected cavalry.

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