A dead seal has provided plenty of nutrition to any number of birds this week.
We heard a commotion when a gathering of eagles started to make some noise just outside our learning space last Friday. Looking out over the tidal zone, we could see they were doing a dance around the dead seal. Well, not so much a dance, more they were setting the ground rules – or the table? – about who was going to eat first. It seemed the answer to that was whichever eagle could get away with it.
Oddly, the carcass was still there the following Monday. A bit more chewed up, but it hadn’t been dragged off, floated off or disappeared. It seemed anchored, and when the tide was low, eagles flew in, landed nearby, and waddled over to grab a tasty morsel or two. All the while, other eagles were in the vicinity, as well as gulls and a pair of kingfishers. On Tuesday, I saw a kingfisher dive down, snag a chunk and fly away, chased by another kingfisher determined to steal the goods. They flew in and out of the dock pilings, and back and forth over the water, a fine spectacle of chase and evade until they flew out of sight. I don’t know who came out the winner in that game…
It was quite some sight watching an eagle balancing on the body as the tide came up. It kept on eating as long as possible, until the seal was virtually submerged. A latecomer observing the scene would have been forgiven for thinking the eagle could walk on water. The eagle didn’t stick around, flying off before it got wet feathers.
The children and youth have been fascinated by the whole show, enjoying the comings and goings down by the shore. I missed when a bear came through, but was surprised to hear it didn’t take any interest in the dead seal. I’d assumed it would? Better pickings elsewhere, a well fed bear, or maybe it didn’t fancy taking on the feathered competition…
Anyway, I’ll leave it there for this week. If there are enough leftovers in the next few days, and I manage to get a shot or two, I’ll serve up a small dessert next time. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
10 thoughts on “Ready meal”
Looks like a good communal feed. The talons are massive on that eagle as it stands on the carcass.
Thanks, Jane! There were some well fed eagles. Yes, these are big birds! I saw one land on the balcony of an apartment across the water and couldn’t believe how large it was. Imagine stepping out and seeing one perched on your railing…
I find it fascinating to observe what wildlife a dead mammal attracts, and am glad your students were interested too. I, too, am surprised the bear was not interested. And from your photos it looks like the adult bald eagle held reign over the juveniles, which makes sense. Interesting with the tide covering the seal and the eagle holding onto it. Great action series here, pc, and I’m hoping you and Mrs. pc have fun action and great meals this weekend.
Thanks, Jet! Curious residents young and old stopped by today to ask after the ready meal. I’ve been away since Friday morning and when I got back today, the carcass was gone. Maybe the bear came back? Haven’t heard yet how it finally disappeared, but it was a fascinating few days!
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It used to be unusual to see bald eagles, not so long ago, in this part of the world but now, thankfully, they’re fairly common. Here they demonstrate, again, that nothing in nature ever goes wasted, and often there’s even some room for dessert. Glad that you & the students had a good study here!
Thanks, Walt! Yes, it’s a delight to see an eagle every time, and good to hear you have more regular sightings around your neck of the woods these days. Agreed that the young ones got a good study here – a touch of “gruesome” rarely fails to spark curiosity!
Looks like Eaglefest 2021 has started early! A bear or wolves will discover the find soon I bet.
That last shot shows a young adult.(5 years?) It’s just getting it’s white head.
I’d drag it close to shore and put a trail camera on it!
I think you’re right, Wayne – this was Eaglefest for Hitacu! I got back after a few days away, and the carcass is gone now. Bears or wolves? Probably, although I haven’t heard about it yet.
I hope all is well with you!
Wonderful captures of the eagles fine dining by the shore and I may have to agree with the one eagle that nope, I can’t watch!! I’ve only had the chance to catch brief glimpses of kingfishers (another favorite) on a few occasions and would love to see a chase on the water. Wonderful for the young and old to watch a wildlife show right out of the classroom window. Enjoy the week and it’s a very rare occasion for me to say it’s not necessary to share the dessert next week!
Thank you! Yes, dessert is going to be an acquired taste…
I love watching the kingfishers here, they are so feisty, and seem pretty fearless. One was scolding a crow today, and the crow quit!
I hope your week is off to a good start – with a little less rain?!
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