Working Birds

Aki is sharing the trail with a sled dog mix from a nearby village. They don’t interact much unless one of their humans offers a dog treat. We are walking down a crescent-shaped gravel beach on a dry if gray day. Gulls watch the dogs pass with “I couldn’t care less expressions. This is a typical gull reaction to Aki. But I am surprised to see that the rambunctious bigger dog merits the same casual treatment. 

            A large raft of goldeneye ducks turns their backs to the dogs and slowly works their way offshore. Nothing panics them to flight until an eagle flies over them. The big bird is a half a kilometer up where nothing can blocks the mountain wind. With quick wing adjustments it hovers over the goldeneyes for thirty seconds and then moves up the bay.

            Just off of Point Louisa, a shrimp boat chugs up Lynn Canal. When it returns to port, its captain will sell his catch from the boat’s deck. He does a good business. People in this rainforest town are comfortable with buying seafood from the captain that caught it. They don’t need to have their shrimp wrapped in Styrofoam and plastic wrap.

            Following the dogs, we humans walk through an old growth forest to Point Louisa. Near the point, a bald eagle glides from a nearby spruce roost, brakes in mid-air by throwing back its wings, and drifts toward the water. It snatches a small fish with its talons and lifts skyward. A jealous gull chases the eagle back to its roost.   

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