It is a whirlwind in here



Nature Raw In Web And Claw

It is not often that I wait for a city bus and hope that it is late. But this is what happened a few days ago as I stood waiting for a 5:15 evening bus.
At about 5:12 I noticed a commotion in the sky. I was about three minutes from the harbour as the bird flies. Overhead, above some low-rise building,s was an eagle being chased by four crows. I have seen this before, and understand that the crow risks its life by swooping too close to the eagle. I assume the crow knows this also, and no doubt those swoops toward the large bird are some safe distance. However, an eagle is a fast bird of prey, and can move at speed. So, although from my angle, the dive bombing crows (and they each took their turns) appeared to be within a wing-length of the eagle, perhaps they did not.
However, the odd situation – which I have never seen before – was that above the circling and diving crows were three seagulls. And they were also taking their turns swooping down toward the eagle. It was a bit like an Aerial dogfight, with the black birds keeping a similar distance from the eagle, while the white birds would occasionally come down to the level of the crows and take a charge at the eagle. I have no idea if the crows and seagulls were coordinating their attacks, but they did not get into each others way. The eagle did little more than keep a steady and straight flight.
Of course, this time the bus was on time, and I didn’t want to wait an additional half hour. Generally, the smaller birds will eventually go their own way as long as they have chased the eagle from the area. I assume this is what happened. But what if I missed a more coordinated attack, with all birds in tandem against the eagle, and an explosion of feathers? Did the bird of prey end up praying?

Eagle And Crows Face Off By A City Graveyard

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I was within three minutes of finishing my daily walk.This particular route takes me through an historic graveyard in the centre of the city. The graveyard encompasses two city blocks and is surrounded by a metal fence. One walks through a gate, along a cement path, and through another gate. The second gate is three minutes from my residence.

I was part way through the graveyard when I saw a group of people crowded together near the path. I assumed it was a group of youth, who often use the graveyard as a ‘park’. I assumed they were just hanging out, but i did keep an eye on them. When I was close enough I realized it was a film crew of seven or eight. They were clustered around a boom camera, one which can rise to a moderate height. As they were directly across from an historic cairn, I thought they might be filming some sort of documentary, and photographing the cairn. I passed them by, making a point not to gawk.

Just past the other gate I was about to cross the street. As i looked both ways for cars I saw, about five car lengths away, a bald eagle standing on the pavement. if one can not ‘literally believe their eyes’, this was the time for me. However, realizing it was there, I figuratively rubbed my eyes. It was standing stock still. I immediately thought it was a) stuffed and b) it was some sort of prop for that movie crew. Such is the imagination.

Within seconds the tableaux changed. The bald eagle started (or returned to) hopping around. And, now taking in more of what was before my eyes, I saw a crow overhead. The crow was diving at the eagle. Then, as quickly, I saw other crows in the sky, a half dozen or so. They were all circling overhead, and were taking turns aiming at the eagle. The eagle started hopping around even more.

I do not know what had happened to make this encounter occur. Now I wondered if the eagle was injured. It was moving slowly and kept its wings folded. The crows were not (I assume – wisely) making contact with the big bird. They were, however, constant and raucous. The term “dive bombing” comes to mind. The eagle became more agitated.

Without any effort (so it seemed) the eagle lifted into the air. This caused an increase in the vocal alarms of the crows. The eagle started a steady ascent toward the south, looking as magnificent as eagles are supposed to do. All the crows now circled continually, keeping their distance and cawing incessantly. The eagle was soon high above the tops of the trees. It made a slow alteration of course and headed toward the river, which is five blocks away from the graveyard. It kept gaining altitude and the crows kept pursuit. All the birds became too distant to observe.

As they all departed I heard a shout behind me. I turned in time to see the camera on its boom extended high, pointed toward the first gate I had entered. Within seconds a young man was running along the cement path through the graveyard. The camera lowered and tracked him until a voice shouted “Cut!” he stopped right in front of the memorial cairn.

Three minutes later I turned into the driveway of my residence.


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