Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2019
What an amazing sight we had on our walk home one night recently. Visiting with friends out on Chambers Lake, we decided to take Golf Club Road home instead of usual Beta Street or Marina route. We had been watching water fowl on the lake. We also enjoyed the bunnies hopping by and munching as they went by. I have always wondered why we see fewer bunnies in the late summer.
We had a direct answer to that question as we watched a raptor circling very high over Golf Club and then a murder of crows banding together, yelling, diving, and harrying the raptor. Finally he/she lowered its circle and then at about 70 feet high, we could see the white head of a bald eagle. Graceful in the face of harassment by the crows, it circled and circled. As we just turned to resume our walk home, it folded its wings and fell out of the sky with talons leading the way.
Quicker than we could comment, it took off from the grass verge with a bunny in its talons, and up it went. This was accompanied by the raucous bombardment of the crow contingent as the eagle disappeared into a tall fir. Then we saw it fly again and thought it was gone However, when we looked up in the high branches, we saw either it or another eagle munching and tearing away at the prey between its talons. A mate? The same eagle? The crows were perching near it and screaming and giving it the business.
I know raptors and probably eagles will raid other nests for eggs and that was my first thought about the mobbing behavior. But crows and birds will mob anything that gets near a nest or just mob for the fun and excitement of it. Predators mostly come from the sky, after all.
We have traveled some and enjoyed Alaskan wilds where eagles foraged along with brown bears for salmon. Being bold, they would often take prey from the big mammals in the streams and rivers. I know prey is prey and that rodents and smaller mammals will suffice if that is what is available, but I’ve never seen a catch in such a dramatic fashion. Strong legs and stronger talons make deadly weapons.
We had thought we would miss the wild environment we came from only to find a wonderful wild contingent here at Panorama. Sights of coyote, the odd raccoon, opossums, an osprey perched in our fir tree, and even a deer walking sedately down our street (probably from the local Chehalis Trail) are so very welcome. The variety of birds who visit isn’t very large, but we do get wonderful avian sights. The ability to catch sight of an eagle hunting in our streets is just wonderful.
The little song birds seem to be up and speaking after 4 AM now that we are post-solstice and it gets light so very early. I am awakened early by that little bunch. May they stay clear of the hunting eagle and prosper!!!