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Friday, July 9, 2010

Bald Eagle Take Out (Red-Tailed Hawk)

Last week a bunch of crows (called a murder for reasons unknown) were making so much noise I stepped out of my house to see what was up. Most of my neighbors did as well. We discovered a pair of red-tailed hawks in a nearby tree, one of which was eating a crow.

Today I heard another murder of crows raising hell and figured that the hawks had returned. Instead, I found two bald eagles in my neighbor's tree. I assumed they were eating a crow but when one flew out I could see that it was eating a bird much larger than a crow. I surmised that it was one of the red tailed hawks. It was probably distracted while eating a crow it caught, allowing the eagle to sneak up on it.

It is amazing how much urban wildlife Seattle has. We can't let our chickens out unsupervised or some hawk will snatch one. Although the density of wildlife is high thanks to all of the energy thrown off by human activity, garbage, pet food, lawn fertilizers, home gardens etc., the biodiversity is relatively low. Seattle is limited to animals that can adapt to an urban environment.

I just got back from a five day camping trip. I saw very few crows and the ones I did see were terrified of people. You could not even drive to withing 500 feet of one. My guess is that they are hunted as varmints in that neck of the woods where cherry orchards dominate agriculture. The fact that I saw a bald eagle stealing fish from an osprey while I was there may have something to do with their scarcity as well.

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