Keeping out an eagle eye

North Island newcomer enjoys majestic birds while trying to keep small dog off menu

Before I moved to the North Island I had only seen fleeting glimpses of Bald Eagles.

I knew they existed, but had never really had the opportunity to sit and watch them.

When I came up to the North Island to look for a place to live, I had breakfast for four days overlooking the marina in Port Hardy.

I was pretty amazed the first time I saw an eagle fly by and come to rest on one of the tall masts.

I kind of adopted him as “my” eagle, because it seemed to be the same bird that came to sit in the same spot every morning around the same time.

We “had breakfast” together.

At my new home, there are three resident Bald Eagles and I have attempted to get a few photos, but haven’t been able to get a really nice close up yet.

It’s on my list of things to do.

I sent my brother a photo of the resident pair and he mentioned how remarkable it was that I was able to take photographs of them at all since 40 years ago these magnificent creatures were in danger of extinction due to habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, and the contamination of their food source largely due to the use of pesticides like DDT.

Banning of DDT and conservation efforts have helped the Bald Eagle make a remarkable recovery which is very apparent here in the Tri Port area.

Bald Eagles like to fish and eat small mammals. They also like to steal the kills of other animals; a habit that prompted Ben Franklin to argue against nominating them as the United State’s national symbol.

While I am in awe of these birds, my issue with them is that they have to eat .

You see, as some of you know, I arrived in town with a little Shih Tzu.

She weighs all of eight pounds, which I was told is less than a wild rabbit.

Maya is white. I was told eagles kind of prefer white rabbits to black. I’m not sure if the person was poking fun.

I was also asked if I had heard stories about eagles swooping down and snatching fish right from fisherman, which I had not until that moment.

Needless to say I’ve become a little paranoid and keep my eyes peeled for impending danger every time I am out walking.

The other day I was walking on the beach at Hardy Bay and there was a huge eagle sitting on a big stump. He was watching us. I could swear I saw drool.

So I now keep my pooch on a leash at all times.

My theory is that A – I would be able to fend off an attacking eagle if my dog is close to me, or B – that I would be able to yank her out of the eagle’s talons and back to the ground if necessary.

As long as Maya is not on the menu, I’m happy to continue to observe Bald Eagles from afar through the lens of my camera or a pair of binoculars.

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