Friday, 16 January 2015

Raptor (Bird of Prey) Visitor

I was out feeding in the juvenile pen one morning this week. All was quiet as the mist rose over the sheep fields next door. Suddenly there was a big commotion. Emus were hissing and charging to the fence line. They were standing tall, almost 5.5 feet now, with their heads turned up into the air. As I looked up I spotted a very large bald eagle perched at the top of a tree in our field. These emus, as young as they are, were instantly ready to defend themselves. 

The white arrow points to the eagle as he surveys quietly for his next meal. He has chosen to sit in a coast Douglas fir (second largest conifer in the world)  that is noticeably the tallest tree in our neighbourhood. You can see from its girth that it was once at least twice its height. Probably years ago the top spun off in a wind storm. Douglas fir trunks spiral as they grow (per The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors edited by Ernest H. Williams page 28) and usually lose their tops rather than blowing down. This tree also has two-storey tall black scars on its trunk as evidence to its survival from one or more forest fires.

Well all went quiet and peaceful again in the emu pen and after several minutes the bald eagle left to search elsewhere.

Photo credit: By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

For more on birds of prey see 
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