Eagles in Love? Mallard’s Distain?

Hundreds of mallards have gathered on a tidal meadow pockmarked with thawing ponds. We would not have spotted them if one of the drakes hadn’t croaked, “crack, crack, crack” in the tone of a mean-spirited bully. He could be commenting on a karaoke performance at the neighborhood pub. I stop myself from anthropizing when I spot two eagles just setting onto limbs of a nearby spruce tree.  

 Aki and I are returning from the mouth of Fish Creek. It was barren of birds except for a half-dozen bald eagles. One of the big predators gave itself away with a long, plaintive call. I wondered whether the eagle was singing the blues until another eagle flew across Fritz Cove and landed in the singer’s tree. 

A hundred meters away, two other eagles launched into the air. They circled above Aki and I. One chased the other, who was making an uninspired attempt to escape.  When the pursuer thrusted his talons toward the pursued, she quickly headed toward a spruce tree. In a few seconds both birds were sharing the same spruce limb. 

I watched the performance, hoping to see the eagles complete their mating dance by locking talons and tumbling toward Aki and I. Another eagle, perhaps frustrated by love and not interested to seeing such a public display of affection, flew out of his spruce roost and landed at the edge of the cove. While he sulked yet another eagle called out for a lover. 

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