The day will offer spectacular views of eagles, some with the glacier as a backdrop. But two ravens, perched together near the opening into Fish Creek Pond, are the first to peek my interest. They do it with their voices, not their appearance. Looking into each other’s eyes, they speak in language with more clicks than the African bush people. It sounds sped up. Aki, could we understand them if we made a recording of it and then played it are a slower speed?
My question gets no response from the little dog but spooks the ravens into flight. We move on, leaving the pond for the spit trail, now almost closed in by wild roses and fireweed stalks aging into their fall colors. My pant legs are soaked by the time we pass through the gauntlet. Near the end, a sparrow observes us while perched on the side of a dried cow parsnip stalk. It is one of a large flock of sparrows harvesting the spit for seeds.
The outgoing tide has exposed wide swaths of wetlands. Eagles that usually roost in nearby spruce trees stand near the water’s edge. Some eat the flesh of spawned out salmon. Others just chill. A murder of crows takes to the air, bickering and banging into each other as they make their way to the little spruce island at the end of the spit.
I spot something out of my eye just as we are about to round the island’s tip. One meter away, an adult bald eagle clutches a spruce limb with both talons. It is soaked but otherwise appears unharmed. We lock eyes and then I look away. It is still watching me when I aim my camera at it. I’ve never been this close to an eagle unless it was clutching something to eat. Even then, the raptor would not hold its ground with a stare as this bird is doing.
On the walk back to the car I called the raptor rescue center and with hesitation left a message about my close encounter. All the other eagles flew off when the trail took us within fifty meters of them. This one clutched its spruce limb tighter and drove me off with a hard look. Hopefully the eagle experts can determine if the bird is bum or brave. Hours later, I got a call from someone at the raptor center. From looking at my photos of the eagle, she learned that the eagle had a broken tail and had been on the ground for sometime. They would take it into protective custody so it can safely heal.