Sunday, May 20, 2012

Flight Rituals

The last couple of times I have been at the river, there have been so many eagles flying around, I couldn't keep track of them.  Just like roads, birds have aerial highways that they often follow.  There is a major highway that goes right down the shoreline on the other side of the river.  It isn't the actual shore which is another quarter mile or so back, but is defined by the marsh meeting the river.  Almost all the birds that enter this area follow that highway.

There is also an aerial highway that takes birds right over the bridge and into the marsh on this side of the river.  The other morning, two adult eagles flew right over me into the marsh.  It wasn't thirty seconds later and two more did the same thing.  Two came back out shortly after and started flying around over the river right in front of me and began one of those flight displays you hear about where they try to lock talons.  I have yet to see them actually lock talons and plummet toward the ground (at which point they break if off), but I have seen a lot of posturing, usually from a distance.  To my delight, this took place much closer where I could get better photos of the display.  I am holding out hope that one day I will be there at the right time to actually record a pair locking talons.

Despite appearances, the eagles weren't calling or making any noise.  In fact, until the other morning, I had never heard the call of an eagle.  Two flew in, one landed in a tree and the other continued up river.  The one in the tree started calling to the other.  That is the first time I had ever heard one and I wasn't too impressed with the vocalization.

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