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Eagle Encounter

Old 06-30-14, 09:02 PM
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rdtompki
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Eagle Encounter

I was doing a climb up a dead-end ranch road a few days ago. This road was maybe 15' wide with steep slope on the left and a drop off on the right with trees and shrubs. I encountered a very, very large bird about 75 yards ahead, clearly an eagle of some sort. Now sparrows need a 3" runway (guess on my part). Not so this majestic bird of prey. This guy needed some serious runway, but his only two options were downhill and uphill. Downhill lurked this fearsome bicycle rider. "he" tried at least four times to achieve flight running and flapping uphill and finally gave up. He stood on the road while I passed with 10 feet. I got a good look at his claws; you would not want to get on the wrong side of one of these things.

Since the encounter I've decided this was a juvenile golden eagle. The bird was dark except for his white tail feathers and he was smaller than an adult. I'd guess his wingspan was 4' or so. Apparently young eagles are afflicted with the same lack of judgement seen in the young of **** sapiens; no self respecting adult eagle would land where takeoff options were so limited.
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Old 07-01-14, 02:00 PM
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haha cool story
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Old 07-01-14, 10:45 PM
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That must have been a memorable ride. Golden Eagles are awesome creatures.

I remember reading years ago how California Condors were challenged with take off and landing in brushy areas. The author of the article was blaming fire control for their reduced numbers around the Tehachapi Mountains.
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Old 07-01-14, 10:51 PM
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Noticing wildlife while on a ride makes a great ride, even greater
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Old 07-02-14, 05:57 AM
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Adolescent bald eagles are also dark. I don't know what age they start to get the white tail and head, but on all the eagle cams (coworker has them up on the computer all day) they are just slightly smaller than the adults and still all dark. So, it could have been an adolescent bald eagle as well.
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Old 07-02-14, 06:46 AM
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I had a near hit with a vulture once on my motorcycle. Those birds also don't get up and out of the way very fast. They didn't hear me until I was almost on them. They were at the side of the road. When they took off, one headed straight over the road. I ducked and I could hear the wooshing of the air over its wings as I passed underneath. Since then, when I see vultures feeding on the side of the road, I beep and slow down. I'm sure a collision with a vulture at 70mph would make for a very bad day.
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Old 07-02-14, 07:14 AM
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What majestic birds. You've been privileged to be so close. I've walked up within 30ft while it was feeding on a roadkill. Eagles are becoming more abundant here in Michigan.
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Old 07-02-14, 07:52 AM
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Eagles are big and bad. You do not want to tangle with one. EAGLE VS. MOUNTAIN GOAT: AMAZING FOOTAGE! FULL CLIP, HI-DEF - YouTube
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Old 07-02-14, 11:07 AM
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On the trail I pulled up alongside a lady staring up into the trees. Is that a Bald Eagle I asked her. Just then a man with no helmet pulls up too. He said he prefers to call them American Eagles and points to his balding head.

This was the first American Eagle I had ever seen in the wild and it ended with a good laugh.
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Old 07-02-14, 12:32 PM
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Cool!
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Old 07-02-14, 01:59 PM
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Just my luck that my only close encounters with large birds (other than geese and turkeys) was a Turkey Buzzard that decided to perch on the handrail of the observation platform not six feet away from me. He/she was a juvenile too, since the skin of the head was still grey.

I wish for something more majestic, but still, when a sharp-taloned honking huge bird lands close enough to you, for you to see every wrinkle in the skin of it's face, it sure leaves an impression on you...
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Old 07-02-14, 02:38 PM
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If you would like to combine a cruise, a really cool bald eagle viewing opportunity and some decompression time take the State of Alaska Maritime Highway from Washington up to Haines, Alaska. During the right time of the year bald eagles perch in trees and sit along the river so thick they are like ravens on bait. Hundreds, literally hundreds. The scenery to and from isn't bad either.
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Old 07-02-14, 05:44 PM
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Very cool. It's always interesting how a human-on-a-bicycle can become a unique encounter with other sentients', both wild and domesticated
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Old 07-02-14, 08:14 PM
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I chased a Great Blue Heron down the road for about 100 yds. one Thanksgiving morning- it was hemmed in by trees. I've also been dive bombed by a Red Tailed Hawk.
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Old 07-02-14, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
... the State of Alaska Maritime Highway from Washington up to Haines, Alaska. During the right time of the year bald eagles perch in trees and sit along the river so thick they are like ravens on bait. Hundreds, literally hundreds.
There are a good many here in western WA. I hear there's a spot in Skagit County (probably along the Skagit River) with a large migratory population. My rides are frequently along the Cedar River and bald eagles are common but not congested. Most easily spotted from the road when the trees are not yet leafed out. Sorry no pics.
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Old 07-02-14, 10:37 PM
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A couple of years ago I was called out to "rescue" a golden eagle who couldn't fly. He'd apparently been in the same area for several days and seen by a number of hikers and dog walkers.

I finally located the mature bird sitting on a rock. He seemed about the size of a German Shepard with a fearsome beak and talons borrowed from a Velociraptor. I crept towards him holding the blanket I had to wrap him in (which seemed a feeble defence) when he took to the air and flew fairly awkwardly downslope into a tree. On further examination I found a deer carcass nearby on which he had been feeding. I don't know if he had killed it or found it but it was obvious he was gorging himself on it and had no intention of moving far away until he had consumed the whole thing. He could fly just fine but he didn't want to leave...and he was weighed down with venison.
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Old 07-03-14, 06:06 PM
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I was riding to work near the confluence of the Mississippi & Minnesota rivers. When I came around a corner there was a squirrel in the middle of the path 10 feet in front of me.. Startled by my sudden appearance, the squirrel jumped a foot to the right. At that moment a hawk landed right where the squirrel had been. Awkward... They both looked around wildly and split in different directions. Somewhere a squirrel owes me his life. And somewhere I owe a hawk breakfast. Wish I had a helmet cam!
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Old 07-04-14, 12:51 AM
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Basically eagles are scrounging cowards. It is really funny to watch a raven or other bird take prey away from an eagle. Ben Franklin had it right; our national bird ought to have been something other than the bald eagle, maybe a turkey I think he favored.

That said, they are fun, sociable birds. On one occasion I had one perch on a tree while I was downing trees and splitting firewood. Sat there and watched me most intently. After awhile it came down for a closer look. I just kept working and it was fine.

Really though, if you like this magnificent animal and want to see them in their wild habitat take a trip to Haines during the season. Maybe there are other places to go. But, I know this one and it is outstanding. Be sure to take a decent camera with a long lens. Also, practice your editing skills so you don't bore the folks back home too much.
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Old 07-04-14, 06:44 AM
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I don't like the animals so I installed a bunch of wind turbines in my area. They slice and dice eagles faster than salts through a goose. Plus I get a Federal subsidy and promote a green economy.
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Old 07-04-14, 10:00 AM
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When I'm riding my 65-mile-over-the-mountain-and-back ride, it's the other way around. The birds are watching me. Buzzards and birds of prey are circling above anticipating my imminent demise as I creep up the mountain. Thus far, I have managed to deprive them of a meal.
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Old 07-04-14, 12:11 PM
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I was dive bombed by a short-tailed hawk several times while I was trying to fix a flat tire in a fairly isolated, forested area. Of course it waited until I had taken the wheel off, had my tools spread around and the tube hanging out of the tire before it decided to strike. Not easy to make a fast exit, but my helmet came in handy.
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Old 07-04-14, 01:21 PM
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Old 07-04-14, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Well, I guess you do know what the fox says.
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Old 07-05-14, 12:59 AM
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Even though eagles are what they are they have a unique ability to captivate even those who frequently see them. At today's community Fourth of July Celebration a large, mature bald eagle came over the site circling and soaring. Seeing it against the clear blue sky brought ooos and ahhhs from the crowd as all attention shifted to the eagle until it finally circled out of sight.

Can't think of many birds, other than owls of course, that can do that.
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Old 07-05-14, 03:29 PM
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Seeing the fox vid above brought to mind what was seen by my brother a others in their cars. They were watching an eagle perched in a tree. Meanwhile, on the ground was a fox eyeing a chicken yard. The eagle swooped down, grabbed the fox and after much low altitude flapping carried it off amidst honking horns. True story.
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