Four-Eagle morning at Flood & Waverly
Little did I think, when I watched eagles fighting over a carcass on PBS Nature last night, that I'd be enjoying the same spectacle in person this morning. Flood & Waverly continues to have orchards replacing grassland, but there's still good habitat for our wintering raptors.
I started out at Rt 4 and south Waverly, and fairly quickly flushed a Prairie Falcon (which obligingly showed its dark axillaries) and then admired a foraging Ferruginous Hawk. Redtails and one Kestrel were also already active;at 35 degrees when I first arrived, I was rather surprised to see this much activity from the get-go.
As I headed closer to the intersection with Flood, I found another Prairie Falcon (another adult), and another Ferrugi. Then, on Flood, I noticed a large eagle-like bird in the distance to the north. Getting out of the car, I flushed a Burrowing Owl I hadn't noticed. And indeed, to the north I was pleased to spot four Bald Eagles: one juvenile, one third-year, and two adults. They were taking turns and squabbling with each other, and with a large number of Ravens, at what appeared to be a cow carcass.
On my way east on Flood, a bird on a low fencepost turned out to be a very blotchy juvenile Prairie Falcon, my third of the morning. In the car, I was able to get within 30 feet for marvelous views. (Unfortunately, while I'd remembered to bring my camera, the battery was dead. Hey, nothing's perfect.) I also enjoyed a briskly trotting Coyote around this time.
The final raptor highlight came when I was heading north again on Waverly: The juvenile eagle flew over and displaced a Ferruginous Hawk from a fencepost. Ferruginous Hawks are big, but the eagle made it look small!
Susan M. Schneider, PhD
Climate activist, behavioral psychologist, and award-winning author of The Science of Consequences
“The impact of human-induced warming is worse than previously feared, and only drastic coordinated action will keep the damage short of catastrophe.”
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, October 2018 report (authored by 91 scientists from 40 countries, based on over 6,000 scientific references)
It's not too late.