Spring arrives tomorrow (March 20, 2014). For the past month or so, the Humboldt eagles (locally dubbed Mr and Mrs) have been renovating and beautifying their nest in preparation for this year’s eaglet(s). The nest now has a beautiful shape and is well padded with fresh green fir boughs and lichen. When it is time to produce an egg or two, Mr entices Mrs down from the high perch to the nest with a generous offering of food. It seems like he is offering his support as he will do most of the hunting when the chicks hatch. She accepts his offering by descending to the nest for her banquet.
Well, this afternoon, Mr brought a particular favorite to the nest: a waterfowl. Mrs pretty much kept her back toward me while she devoured the thing in bright sunlight, so I couldn’t even make a wild guess as to what kind of bird she was eating. But it was indeed a bird. Feathers flew in the wind.
As Mrs munched her lunch a persistent raven flew ‘round and ‘round the nest, landing on branches close by and screaming insults. I remember last year, several episodes of ravens dive-bombing the nest to get at the young eagle chicks. However, no mater how clever the ravens were, they were no match for the vicious protectiveness of our giant bald eagles.
Used to such goings on, Mrs hardly took notice of the interloper. She simply stared the raven down as she continued her feast, then flew back up to the perch where she could keep an ‘eagle eye” on the pesky raven. As I write this, Mrs has flown away – likely to another favorite perch and Mr has returned to the nest to feast on leftovers – or ‘nest-overs’ as some of the eagle watchers like to say.