Right On Schedule

Right on schedule Jim and Cindy are once again fishing the waters of Huffman Lake. The lake, on the east side of Huffman Dam, is within the confines of the Huffman Metro Park and therefore open to the public. Our resident Bald Eagles spent much of last October and November fishing the lake and providing a great opportunity for eagle watchers and photographers to meet them up close and observe their graceful fishing technique.

Unlike the three local Osprey, who also frequent the waters of Huffman and Eastwood lakes, the Bald Eagle fishes with a certain savoir faire and poetic motion. They  effortlessly fly just above the water surface using their keen eyesight to watch the unsuspecting prey just below them. Without skipping a single beat of their massive wings and maintaining a consistent tempo they stretch their bright yellow feet forward and then, with a free-flowing backward arch, they allow their razor-sharp talons to pierce the watery plane only to emerge again with a fish firmly held within their deadly grasp. One fluid motion, one lightening fast snatch.  A veritable symphony of precision and perfection.

The “hard rock” Osprey on the other hand employs a totally different technique. They hover, stutter and stammer ten feet or more above the water, fold their wings to their sides and crash into the water below. Sometimes they disappear completely. Then they just sit there in the water for a moment or two looking rather foolish and out-of-place. When they do finally regain composure and somehow manage to fly again, with or without a fish, they pause about six feet above the lake to stutter and stammer some more as they rid themselves of the excess water and its excess weight. So much wasted energy, so much unnecessary splashing and commotion. After all, they are probably only going to give their catch to a waiting eagle anyway.

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love Eagles ,, been watching and photographing them since around 2000 here in Allen county , I know Roger Garber . The Eagles are awesome in the air but I have a different take on their behavior . They are oppurtunists , thieves and scavengers, lazy . One of my field guides gives a credit to the Osprey for helping in the Eagles success of coming back as the Eagle steals from him on a regular basis . I have witnessed this many times at Bresler Resevoir here in Lima. I think of the Osprey as the hard working class of the country. After watching these awesome birds for years I have changed my opinion of their behavior but I still Love em . I had 13 of them above and around me the other day and it was soo awesome to watch the young Ealges at play. The triplets from the nest love to rough house. I understand Ben Franklin’s desire for something other than the Eagle after watching them for so long. But remember there is nothing greater than the ” way of an Eagle in the air ” (Proverbs 30:19) I also seen two Golden Eagles last year . Beautiful and powerful bird.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the Osprey. I have enjoyed many hours of watching them fish, circle high in the sky carrying their catch, then finally finding a tree in which to dine. You have the Bald Eagle behavior pegged with maybe the exception of the “lazy” part. I find them to be very industrious. As far as being oppotunists, I tend to think of them as “practical”. In the animal world there are some definite advantages to being at the top of the food chain. Our two resident eagles have been pretty successful at chasing down Osprey and relieving them of their catch. Their first nest was a confiscated Red Tail nest and the last two have been Great Blue Heron nests where they claimed not only the nest itself but the entire tree which included a different heron rookery each year. Although I often ascribe emotions and motives to animal behavior, I realize that they are acting almost entirely by instinct. Old Ben was also right in his assessment of the wild turkey, but I would still find it unsettling if there was a gold turkey on the top of my flagpole.

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