Avian Marriage Counseling

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I hear the eagle’s scream the moment we start down the Treadwell Ruins trail.  Aki is too pre-occupied with her scent survey to bother with eagles. With her front legs spread wider than usual, the little dog shuffles down the trail keeping her nose just millimeters about the ground. We can make little progress until she finds the mother lode of the scent she follows. I am worried that we will miss seeing the eagle. Aki does one of her signature handstands, raising her entire rear end into the air as she rains pee down on top of another dog’s scent trail, then drops into a quick-step trot. The eagle screams again.


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It had been raining but that has stopped. A low layer of clouds hangs over the channel when we reach Sandy Beach. Little can be seen of the mountains across Gastineau Channel. In the foreground, the old mine tunnel ventilation shaft pokes up through the waters of the channel. A mature bald eagle occupies each corner of the ventilation shaft’s roof. I try to read their body language to determine whether they are friend, foe, or sufferers in a dysfunctional marriage. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

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Each eagle has its back turned to the other. The one facing me looks like it just tasted a sour lemon. If either attempted to expand the distance between them, it would fall into the channel. I’ve heard that eagles mate for life. These two look like they could use couples counseling.

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