Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On Eagle's Wings

Being situated where we are between the Toussaint River and Lake Erie, we are directly in the migratory path of thousands of raptors that take this route each spring and fall. Got a thing for Red-Tail Hawks? Come on over! Wanna see some Bald Eagles? No problem!

The raptors are on the move this time of year. They've spent the summer raising their chicks and now it's time to fly to their wintering grounds to fatten up again. Earlier today I heard the chooks scream in the front yard. When I went out to investigate I saw a male Cooper's Hawk fly away. He tried to get one of my chickens, but they are very alert and they got under the porch safely. When he flew away he looked back as if to say, "Oh don't mind me. I'm just passing through."

This afternoon I heard a warbling scream coming from the back yard and knew it was a big raptor. I grabbed my camera and headed to the back deck in time to capture this Bald Eagle soaring on the thermals overhead. He was heading south and I watched him circle and spiral from the north edge of the Twelve Acres to the south edge. Big raptors can only migrate when the sun heats up the earth and creates thermals. They soar on the rising warm air which allows them to conserve their precious energy instead of wasting it flapping their wings.

I'm still choked up.

How many people get to watch our nation's symbol soaring directly above their own home? I am one of the lucky ones.

These shots were iffy at best. I was aiming almost directly into the sun and I was going blind!


  1. We have some Eagles around here that I love to watch. Even though they are not a rare sighting I always pause to say "look, an eagle".

  2. I'm sure you have mixed feelings as you see all those beautiful raptors hovering around all that fresh chicken and duck!

    Your photos and your commentary are a nice break in my day.

    I'm averaging 6 eggs per day. I'm ready for a breakout day of 12!

  3. Kim, it always makes me stop and stare when I see one of these big fellas soar over the house. They are amazing!

    Don, yes I do have mixed feelings. My first instinct is to protect my investment. But I won't harm a raptor. They already have a tough time of it and I try to do what I can to help them out. We leave areas of our property overgrown to provide habitat for the animals that feed the hawks, such as mice and rabbits. I've also learned that free-ranged chickens and ducks stand a much better chance of escaping a hungry raptor than those that are kept penned like fish in a barrel. Of course, this only applies when there is adequate cover for them, such as trees or large shrubs.

    I'm also averaging about 6 eggs per day. When will we get our first dozen? I made the most wonderfullest frittata yesterday with my own farm fresh eggs! Talk about delicious!

  4. I can only imagine your excitement at seeing that eagle soaring above you! I've never seen one!

    It's 6am, and I just watched Don make a quiche for the secretaries' lunch at school. He was going to use his freshly gathered chicken eggs from yesterday, but last evening as we were preparing dinner, the bowl of them on the window sill got toppled, and there they lay on the floor, broken! Our hearts were broken too.

    Life can be hard.


  5. Ruth, Some day we all will have to get together. We'll use raptor watching as an excuse, OK?

    So sorry about your broken eggs! I bet the quiche would have been even better with them. Wait a minute, you've got a man who knows how to make a quiche??? I'm impressed!

  6. Are you kidding? He is the farmer, the farmer's wife, the farmhand -- all in one. I am not sure what my purpose on the farm is, besides photographer.

    Yes, any ole excuse is fine with me to get together!


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