It also comes complete with a big, whopping Bald Eagle. It roosts in a trail-side tree for several hours a day, contemplating whatever big, predatory birds contemplate--possibly, probably, deciding on who or what its next meal might be.
My friend J. and I were heading west on the trail, where it loops toward the Harmony Way Bridge, which is thankfully still intact. While we walked, a local lady and her little grand-daughter came alongside us in a golf cart. The lady asked if we’d seen the eagle yet. We hadn’t and she offered to ride next to us to show us where it roosted.
Several yards up the trail, there it was, sitting on a big dead limb of a tree, right next to us. About the time I got my phone in position to get a pic, it launched and flew across the river to sit on another dead tree. We could still see it easily but my little phone cam didn’t have a strong enough telephoto magnification to get a decent shot of it.
It was my first eagle to see in the wild. Daddy and Uncle Ron would have appreciated the moment as much as I did.
In the months that have passed, I’ve seen several, and one of them is hanging out on the fringes of our village, here in Stewartsville, Indiana.
As cool as that might sound, there are a couple of problems with it.
They don’t play well with others
Back to the Harmonite and her granddaughter...
While J. and I visited with her, she briefed us on her own few years of experience with the eagle. It’d taken a keen interest in her grand-daughter the first time it saw her.
In the beginning it quietly observed the little girl from its perch--watching her like a hawk. (Pun intended.)
As the months went by, the two saw the eagle often and the eagle saw them. The grand-daughter wasn’t a toddler, but still small. At the time, she was somewhere in the three-to-four-years-old range.
Big enough to love walking, running and exploring along the river trail with her grandma, yet small enough for the eagle to come in for a closer look. One afternoon, it leaped from its perch and swooped down, then straight at the little girl.
Thankfully, it didn’t connect with beak or talons. Instead, it lifted and moved around, up and away. Seems she didn’t meet the size and/or weight criteria for what it could manage to carry for a take-out meal.
Impressively, the little one is undaunted. She’s now a few years older, yet petite, and still loves to visit the trail, even near the eagle’s perch, but with practiced caution.
Other local encounters & observations
While driving on a country road, though fairly well populated in Gibson County, I saw another eagle flying low, over a field. It was being harried by two huge hawks who’d obviously been having steroids with their snacks after workouts at the hawk gym.
The eagle couldn’t outmaneuver them, and ultimately dropped a round ball of brown fur, some 20 feet, into the field below. It veered away from the hawk-horde and swooped into the edge of a nearby wood-break at the edge of the field.
The hawks turned back and pounced on the little fur ball, then tore it to pieces while the eagle watched them eat its dinner.
Wasn’t something I ever want to see again.
Near the same time frame, a friend in the area was walking her little dog, that I’m quite attached to (both the friend, her family and their dog), and a couple of hawks took a big interest in Maizie while she was out with her mama or a potty-stroll. Since then, the family has been cautious to watch for the prey-birds when the dog is outside.
Another nearby incident, just a few miles from the village, included a woman and her little dog. She had the dog on a leash, in her front yard, on the main drag of a small town near the village. Faster than she could have imagined, a hawk swooped in, grabbed her little dog and tried to fly off with it. Reacting in surprise, the woman pulled on the leash before the bird had her pet more than a little ways off the ground, and the bird released it.
The little dog was emotionally traumatized but otherwise, mostly unharmed.
Both hunt. Both eat.
I’ve seen more and more large hawks, and now eagles, hanging out in our area. If you live in an area that is encountering the same sort of feathered residents, I’m featuring this information here to encourage you to be mindful of them, especially in regards to children and small animals or pets in your care.
For eagles, hawks and even owls, your neighborhood, yard or garden can easily become a fav fast food joint.
That’s it for this one!
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