[Tweeters] Predators on Christmas day

Monica Van der Vieren mvanderv4137 at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 26 07:04:16 PST 2010

Well, we may all have survived the hallmark holiday, but a few of the critters in my yard did not. About 10 am, we spied a bald eagle standing in the fields,not a common sighting for us. Through the scope, it was apparent the bird was pulling apart downed prey. A later trip to recover remaining feathers indicated the deceased was a ring-necked pheasant hen. In the early afternoon, a Coopers hawk cruised the yard for awhile, perching in a cottonwood tree at one point. A harrier swooped up and dusted the hawk from the tree. The hawk succeeded later and caught what appeared to be a rodent, not a bird, and dissected it on top of a fencepost behind the house. After finishing off the meal, the bird rubbed its beak on the post, groomed itself, and even appeared to clean its feet.

It was an unusual amount of predatory behavior in one day for my location. There is a Snohomish PUD power pole at the back of the property that offers an eagle perch and I have frequently found seagull and duck parts below it, but I've never seen the eagles feed on prey in the field. And certainly the Coopers and harriers are here, but not usually on the back fence so close to the house.

The trumpeter swans at the corner of Homeacres and Swan Trail Slough were back again, despite the presence of a duck hunter. The giant bobbing ducks on the flooded field were decoys, not mallards, and the goofy series of calls used to lure the unwary didn't seem to be getting any traction. I remember duck calling being an absolute art when I lived in Minnesota, but then people didn't use battery-powered calls either. A couple years ago, hunters using the field appeared to have a defect or power failure going with their calls, resulting in a whining wail that attracted flocks of crows but not much else!

Snohomish, WA

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