Posted tagged ‘bald eagle’

Eagles and Hummingbirds of British Columbia

May 3, 2013

Bald eagles abounded on our recent trip up the British Columbia coast.

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This beautiful bird was sitting on a body of fresh water in an area that looks to me like a beaver dam.

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Another closer look.

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We saw many eagles on the wing. With a wingspan of nearly seven feet, they are an impressive sight.

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And for a size contrast, we also observed several rufous hummingbirds whose wingspan reaches a magnificent 4 1/2 inches.

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We saw these tiny, brilliant creatures at a nectar feeder, and darting out over a road to capture insects.  Several times, the hum of those rapidly beating wings alerted me to the bird’s presence before I registered it visually. According to Journey North, hummingbirds beat their wings at a rate of about 75 beats per second.

Here a rufous hummingbird sips nectar from the feeder.

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And here’s a lovely view from the vicinity in which we saw the hummingbird zoom back and forth over the road.

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Bald Eagle in British Columbia

December 22, 2011

We landed in Vancouver, British Columbia in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. After sleeping a few hours, I took a quiet morning walk around Trout Lake in East Vancouver’s John Hendry Park.

The mountains were out.

On the little beach, American coots and a variety of ducks swam and foraged (more on them soon).

Gulls flew and fished.

Crows scavenged.

On one side of the lake, dogs and their owners gathered.

As I continued my circle round the lake, I heard crows calling with a sound I thought I recognized from my home crows in New York City’s Riverside Park. It was the sound that says, “Hawk on the premises! Hawk! Hawk! Hawk!”

So I looked up and around, and sure enough I spied a huge bird near the top of an enormously tall cottonwood tree with several crows nearby.

But wait a minute. That’s not just any bird.

It was a Bald eagle, being harassed by crows just like our Red-tailed hawks.

As is their wont, the crows were persistent in annoying the giant raptor. But while our Red-tails usually just put their heads down and look beleaguered under the siege of the crows, the Bald eagle seemed less tolerant. Whenever the crows got too close, the eagle would lunge at them and snap a little with its beak. This had little effect on the crows.  They flew above, below and behind, and the eagle kept a close eye on their whereabouts.

I watched for quite a long time. The crows showed no signs of tiring from their work, and the eagle showed no signs of moving. A couple of times, it seemed to fix me with its eyes.

As I finally turned to walk on, an elderly Native gentleman with his dog said “Majestic, isn’t it?” I agreed.  The man told me he sees the eagle in the park at least once a week, sometimes alone, sometimes with a second eagle.  He spoke of how habitat for other animals in the area is being lost, and expressed particular concern for local owls.

I walked on, then turned back.

Again I walked on, and again I turned.

Beautiful British Columbia, indeed.


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