Duckling For Dinner (or breakfast, or lunch)

There are a pair of Bald Eagles that have been hanging around  the Koll Center Wetlands across the street from my office for a month or two.  They like to perch in the largest fir tree overlooking the area. Sometimes I only see one of them, sometimes both. I have a feeling they work in tandem, though.

If the crows notice them, they are mobbed relentlessly but it doesn’t seem to phase them much.  They puff up their shoulders and give the crows their fierest stink-eye but they don’t yield territory until they are good and ready.

Mob Mentality

This time of year there are not a lot of different kinds of waterfowl in the water here, mostly Mallards and Canada Geese raising their families. There is a pair or Gadwall that swim about but no Gadwall ducklings that I can detect.

Usually I hear that a Bald Eagle is present before I see it. One of the Mallards will start quacking an alarm call and then another and just about when I take the binocs down to get a broader view, I see an Eagle fly in and the ducks start making for the edges of the water near the cover of overhanging brush. Yesterday when I heard an alarmed quacking, I turned just in time to see a Mallard hen and her ducklings shoot as quickly as they could for the dense shrubs in the pond nearest to where I was standing as an Eagle flew in over the middle of the water.  It was amazing how fast they all moved, necks outstretched as they sped for cover.

The Mallards do sometimes exhibit inexplicable behavior (at least to me). I watched a Mallard hen lead her ducklings almost directly in the path of a Bald Eagle a few weeks ago.

Bald Eagle and Mallard Family

I think the Bald Eagles are finding easy pickings here. I haven’t seen them catch fish but I have seen them dining on what looked suspiciously like duckling.

Bald Eagle w/ prey

I don’t particularly want to see them nab a duckling or duck but I do find their behavior fascinating.  I can’t seem to stop waiting for something to happen in front of me yet I don’t know that I really want to see it.

Pair of Baldies

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2 Responses to Duckling For Dinner (or breakfast, or lunch)

  1. Jen says:

    Oh man, I hear you… I am endlessly fascinated by nature and all the interactions between animals, but some stuff is tough to watch… I remember reading someone’s blog awhile back about a grackle pecking another grackle to death. There were photos. I was torn between being sad and amazed…

  2. Rick Leinen says:

    If I had a wetlands across the street from where I worked, I think I would have a hard time getting any work done. :-)

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