The Heart of a Thrush

The dogs are in and they have brought the eagles.  “Chum” is the more polite name for dog salmon. Because they arrive in great numbers and aren’t as tasty as king or silver salmon, indigenous people of Northern Alaska dried chum salmon to feed their dog teams during the winter. Hence, the name. For some reason, rain forest people have also labeled chum salmon as dogs. 

            Ten bald eagles scan the beach for dead dog salmon. Twenty more have grouped up around a half-eaten salmon carcass. In ones or twos, the eagles perching in the trees leave their roosts to fly low over the beach cabal. These fly overs don’t dislodge the eagles on the beach or drive off  the one crow brave enough to stand its ground near them.

            It was much quieter on the glacier moraine where Aki and I spent the morning. Instead of watching bickering eagles we spied on a mallard hen and her chicks gliding through pond reeds. Lady Tress orchids provide white highlights to a predominately green landscape. 

            Rather than eagle screams, the spiraling songs of the hermit thrush provided a song track for our walk. One flew onto a tree limb near us and gave me a policeman’s measuring stare. I’d hate to think of what would happen if eagles were as tough as a thrush.  

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