After a shaky start it was another successful day of eagle watching.
The 8:30 feeding elicited 2 flybys and no other action. Thinking that all of the chicken fed was large I returned to base to pick up some small chicken that could be taken on the wing. I came back with barely a quarter bucket, but it did the trick. Once two eagles flew down to take some on the wing the trees emptied and what followed was one of the most spectacular aerial displays this year. It took a little while for the eagles to come to ground but a good display followed. I counted over 70 eagles.
The late start to the 8:30 feeding made me apprehensive about the 10:30 feeding which was nonetheless on time. This time there was a better mix of medium and small chickens with just a few big ones. The aerial started almost immediately and was very good. Again, I counted about 70 eagles - one of the spectators counted over eighty but admitted that there were probably ravens included in that count.
After another good aerial display the ground action seemed rather tame until the very end when things hotted up considerably. The main focus was a large but immature eagle surrounded by 5 adults and several ravens. Time and again the juvenile fought off the older attackers and on two occasions swatted a raven away with its wing.
All the while the juvenile was gulping down bites of chicken and when that was reduced to transportable size made a beeline for the trees. The adults gave chase, one theatrically swooping nearly upside down to tear the chicken morsel from the talons of the juvenile. Perhaps it was a bit of a shame for the juvenile, but not before a decent feast and an heroic effort.
We are on again tomorrow and Thursday for 8:30 and 10:30.
Malcolm lives in Sheffield Mills and is our resident eagle feeder. He feeds the eagles daily and has a unique relationship with these large birds. These are his adventures!