Eagle

My eagle is back!  “My” eagle – like you could own one, or like everyone else around here doesn’t consider it ‘theirs’.  But I am alone on the river these days: no fishermen are setting traps yet, and no other sailor is stupid enough to be out in the spring chill that still grips the sea like a twist in your knickers.

So it feels like mine alone when I got close to the tip of Hodgson’s Island, with a slate-grey wind laying me sideways on the water, I take one hand for the wheel, and one for the binoculars, and sure enough, there’s her china-white combed-back head poking up out of the massive branchy nest she returns to these last five years.

“Hello!” I call, “Welcome!” and in answer she rises from the nest and with a few strong beats of her square wings is out in the wind above my sail, dancing on the air as the boat rocks ‘tween wind and water below.  After a minute she swoops up and reels back to her nest and the eggs, but I have been honored, and I tug my forelock in recognition.  I swear she nods to me as she lands, but that may be a conceit.

Last year, one of her offspring almost settled a couple of miles up in our cove, but I saw forty crows in the shoreside trees join forces to scare him off from building his nest, badgering him and making it impossible, until he moved on.  Maybe this year they’ll relent.  I would say ‘damn crows’, but these intelligent birds serve a lot of purposes here, I am just sorry they don’t appreciate eagles.

Still thin on this coast due to the accumulation of DDT in the shells, we treasure our raptors, our ospreys and eagles, even as they get more numerous again, and are obviously considered ‘pests’ by the some like the crows.  Seagulls really are the best flyers, but they are garbage eaters and dockside shitters; there’s nothing like the soaring regal eagle to command the sky.

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