Thursday, February 05, 2009

Urban wildlife

So I'm sitting at my desk this afternoon doing something hugely important (either tweaking the resume, loading it on to a job site, or playing Facebook Wrestler), when the garage door opens and the wife pulls in. The car door closes, the door to the house opens, and she says "Sparks? You in the basement?"

"Yeah, what's up?" I say.

"You've got to come look at this giant bird down the street!"

So I get up, put on my Birkinstocks, and shuffle out in to the driveway. Where I proceed to gape for a moment, then rush back in to get the camera. 'cause this is one mothafunker of a bird, I tell you what.

To set the stage a little better, at the north end of our block there's a house with a couple big fir trees out front, maybe 60 or 70 feet tall. The people who own the house appear to be trying everything they can do to kill the tree that's in the parking strip, because apparently if it dies then the city will cut it down for free. The tree was in kind of bad shape before they moved in, 'cause it's right up on the power lines and gets pruned back all the time, but they've taken it to the next level by paving the parking strip right up to the trunk of the tree. And it appears to be working, 'cause the top of the tree is now a bare snag.

And at the top of that snag is an eagle.* But not just any eagle...a big eagle. Really big. And the weird thing about this eagle, at least weird to me, is that it's not the standard Seattle area bald eagle, it's a golden eagle. Or an American eagle. Or some other eagle that doesn't have a white head and is freaking huge.*

*Disclaimer: I'm not a birdologist, so it might not actually be an eagle. It might have been a roc. Or some other mythical giant raptor.

Anyhow, he's just kind of hanging out up there minding his own business and not bugging anyone, and then a seagull flies by and squaks at him and he gets all "oh, really? You're going to bring THAT at me? Did you see my freaking wing span here?"

And after that some crows get in the mix, because you know crows - they can't leave well enough alone. So he does some more posturing, and eventually two of the crows settle down on a lower branch and they have a stare-off.

After which his eagleness gets tired of the squawking and flies off to the west, escorted by a few of the crows.

*Update: Thanks to some bird nerds (or perhaps just people who know a bit more about birds than me) on FB, I'm revising my analysis of what eagle it might be to "juvenile bald eagle". 'cause apparently they look a lot like this one.