I headed out, hoping to find some critters to photograph for my next blog. I went first to the ballpark to search for a Snowy Owl, but I struck out. LOL
My Plan B was to head to farm country, which I often avoid from November to March due to bad roads and hunters. Most roads were decent, and there were some pretty wintry landscapes.
The marshes and farmland ponds were still frozen with no signs of waterfowl or wildlife. I told myself to relax. Something aways materializes.
Then I remembered the farmer who dumps deer carcasses on his property during late winter. The carcasses always attract prey, especially Bald Eagles. I headed to that area and was shocked to see that snow had been plowed or dropped over two long country blocks. If there were eagles, I couldn’t see them, so I turned around and left.
When I got to the corner, where no snow had been dumped, I saw a deer carcass with Crows feasting on it. All but one was left with my approach. There are times when I’m uncomfortable photographing these deer carcasses, but I also know they provide sustenance for the other critters.
As I drove through the intersection, I saw three Bald Eagles on the opposite corner. There were two mature eagles, probably the parents, and a juvenile, eating on another carcass.
The juvenile was pretty scruffy looking with its mottled coat. That’s normal, though, as it takes four to five years for eagles to mature into their beautiful plumage. The juvenile’s hooked beak is still black too.
In comparison to the juvenile, the parents were real beauties. I think the eagle against the snowbank was the female, as they are about 25% larger than the males.
This eagle’s face had some discoloration, which I think was probably from eating carrion. Eagles typically subsist on fish, but for ones that live in terrestrial habitats, they have to be opportunistic feeders, and they eat raccoons, squirrels, beavers, and deer fawns. Often, newborn, dead, or sickly critters make up their diet.
It didn’t take long for the female eagle to move in on the juvenile and demand her own feeding time at the deer carcass.
The juvenile just stood back and allowed the female to take her turn at eating. In past years, the juvenile fought to maintain its place at the table. Perhaps, there is maturation going on.
With the juvenile out of the way, the other eagle swooped in to feed. I was amazed at the bird’s wingspan. And those talons sure contributed to the eagle’s ability to tear meat from the carrion.
I never tire from photographing Bald Eagles. I try to catch them from various points of view. Gracie was with me that afternoon and hung out the window as I shot. I think she knew we were in the presence of greatness as she never barked or yipped the whole time.
I took 649 images of the eagles that afternoon, which I whittled down to 71. My hardest task was sorting through them to see which ones I wanted to use for my blog.
I decided to call it a day when I got both parent eagles together. It had been my lucky day.