Our Island has quite a number of eagles. Some of them may be golden eagles. Or they may be immature bald eagles. There are a lot of bald eagles. We have three that live somewhere near us. At dawn all three play top gun out over the water and back over our studio. There is a fourth that sometimes appears with the three. That is one that is almost certainly an immature bald eagle. That one has changed since I first saw it late last year from an all dark black-brown bird to a bird with some white beginning to show. It is apparently going through a molt from its baby colors to its adult colors.
So eagles are kind of a big deal in our lives here on the north side of the island. I have ridden my bike around enough of the island to know that there are a great many other eagles here in addition to “ours”. There are enough to – probably – cause the residents of the rest of the island to feel the same: “what a big deal to have bald eagles all around us”.
So when one of these eagles – not one of the three plus the juvenile that live near us, but one that must be part of a tribe down the beach a little to the south of us – came up with a broken leg, we were pretty unhappy about it. I’m sure the rest of the island would share that unhappiness if they knew about it. Maybe this blog post will let them know about it.
I doubt that it will because nobody reads this blog.
In any event, what started as a sad likelihood – people here don’t often get the facts wrong, but since we hadn’t actually seen the crippled bird we could hold out hope that the word of mouth that there was an eagle with a broken leg was only a rumor – became, for us, a grim fact the day we first saw it for ourselves.
My partner and one of our neighbors walked down the beach looking for the bird a day or two before I had come back to the island from town. The still hoped-to-be-rumor had indicated that the bird was living on the ground in the driftwood some distance down the beach from our habitation.
Unfortunately those two saw the bird. It had enough strength to fly up into a tree immediately off the beach behind where it had been sitting, but it hadn’t enough strength to go any farther. And they could see that it was dragging a leg as it flew.
When I got to the island a day later one of the first things we did was walk down the beach to see if Ollie – we had named him by then – was still in that general vicinity.
And he didn’t look good.
And I am posting a short movie I took of him.
And there is more to the story.
And it is still unfolding.
So stay tuned.