I seem to have a talent for finding “noble birds” in awkward places, at least awkward for this human’s ideas about where one is supposed to see eagles and falcons.
I’d always wanted to see a bald eagle up close, as in “less than 100 feet away, perched 50 feet up in a tree.” This is where one commonly finds bald eagles in the central US – in trees, well away from where you are. The Feds tend to be touchy about letting you walk right up to eagle trees in federal nature reserves. So I assumed I’d have to go to Alaska or one of those other eagle-rich locations.
So there I was, driving along a state highway in far western Iowa, along the Big Sioux River in late winter. It was late enough that the river had started rising, which was what I had gone to see. However, as I drove down the black top highway, one eye on the river and one on traffic, I saw a black body with a white head on the ground in a scenic pull-out by the side of the road. Was it? Yes! I eased over and stopped, reaching for my camera…
And realized that the eagle was devouring road kill. The highway department had left a few somethings there, presumably for the next crew to remove, and a bald eagle had decided to make use of the bounty. I was ten feet from a bald eagle, with a perfect view of it ripping apart a possum and a deer.
I was sooooo disappointed.
Fast forward [redacted] years, and I am driving to work. On the way in, I noticed something dead in the road, a small something, and thought, “Huh. Road kill. Wonder what it was?” I didn’t smell skunk, so I forgot about the mound. Then, on mt way home five hours later, I drove past the same defunct critter and a beautiful kestrel stared back at me.
That pretty much terminated my dreams about the dignity and majesty of North American raptors. Points for smarts, nothing for dramatic presentation.
Edited to add: Greetings and Salutations, Instapundit Readers! Thanks for stopping by.