We saw eight of them. Or maybe only seven. The third and the eighth could have been the same one. No matter. The sixth had something to show us. I’d never before seen one actually hunting, except in motion pictures where everything is fast and violent, the way hunting seems like it ought to be. This was different. It flew in quietly, slowly and hovered for a few seconds. It was probably only 15 feet off the ground. The ducks below it were unfazed, at least until it slowly began floating to the earth like a hot air balloon lands. When it started down, the ducks lit out for the territories. But it wasn’t interested in the ducks. It just floated down; silently, gently; wings spread wide. Then it arose from the earth with a pack rat in its talons. It was a sublime moment for us and for the bald eagle. I can’t speak for the pack rat. The eagle declined my request to interview the pack rat.
That was good. So were the Mountain bluebirds, the Western bluebirds and all the rest, the Northern Harrier, the Sandhill cranes, the Snow Geese, the Canada Geese, the Red Tail, which studied us for awhile – when you’ve been looked at by a raptor, you know you’ve been looked at – and all the ducks, at least 10 different species. And the Killdeer. Plus the Mule Deer. Didn’t seem like that little bird could have killed one of those.
But, we missed the Super Bowl. I wonder which memory will last as long, the missed football game or the bald eagles.