Saturday, September 26, 2009

On my way downtown to my secret mission Wednesday

...Come to think of it, it had to be Tuesday...I'll tell you all about it when the "danger" is past.

Anyway, as I was accelerating from the stop sign on Humboldt Avenue, I caught this flash out my driver's side window, then, a split-second later a bald eagle spreads his wings right in front of my windshield, drops down to the street... I thought he was going to land right there in front of me... I yelled, "Holy crap!" and started to jam on the brakes, but then he snatched something off the road and took off again. I kept up with him as he climbed steadily until he cleared the trees, close enough that I could see that the thing he'd snatched was a squirrel - which I hadn't noticed until he grabbed it, and would have negligently squashed flat - I watched those beautiful, powerful wings pinion him up until he veered off over the housetops back toward the Mississippi.

I looked in my mirror at the couple of cars backed up behind and asked, uselessly, "Did you see that?!" They weren't honking at me, so they must have been as enthralled as I was. I realized how slow I was going then and carried on with my mission.

If he'd landed there for even a second, I'd have schmucked him. I don't know what I'd have done then. Called the DNR, I guess. Luckily, he was only there on business.


LibertyBob said...

Wow, that was a close one. I think I heard a news story in the past couple of weeks where someone did run into an eagle. It didn't end well.

T. F. Stern said...

The last words of the squirrel before getting snatched up by the eagle, "Holy Crap, I'm gonna get smushed by that car headed right for me!"

The probligo said...

I have a great respect for the raptors. We have two here in NZ.

The endemic Korearea is quite small, about 2' across and is now adapting to earning a living as chief bird chasers in our wine growing areas. The one problem is that the youngsters enjoy feeding on chicken (Col Sanders?)instead of pigeon, starling and blackbird.

The other is the Australian Harrier Hawk which is most often seen on roadkills but which is known to keep rat populations under control. They are not liked by farmers because they will also eat dead lambs giving them the reputation as "killers" rather than carrion eaters. They get to about 4 ft plus...

Thank goodness that the Haast Eagle (Harpigornis?) is extinct. Only about 13 ft wingspan, used to feed on moa. Probably died out with their food source.

The probligo said...

Idle thought -

If you have the misfortune to hit a kiwi (the real, feathered bird variety) on the road, there is no penalty as such.

There is a requirement that you collect what remains and deliver it to (I think) DOC.

Who is DNR?

LibertyBob said...

The "DNR" is the Department of Natural Resources. Most states have one. They maintain state parks, hunting and fishing licenses, and related. In Iowa they also investigate illegal dumping, anhydrous ammonia use, and hog lots. The hog lots thing is due to the manure which can pollute streams and cause fish kills during heavy rains.

I think it might be nice to have one of those Haast Eagles around. One of the thing the US could use is more large predators.

Al said...

I think that's all you'd get here, too, Prob, is a little extra work for yourself. But I really didn't want to kill one.