15 March 2015

Sizing Me Up

Walking on Mississippi River Boulevard this morning I was drawn down the river gorge to the shoreline by the sight of a bald eagle jousting with a murder of crows.

I have seen soaring eagles on my river walks but I was unaccustomed to seeing an eagle cavorting on the ground like a garbage-pecking shorebird.

I descended the gorge to the water's edge. The eagle was distracted by the rowdy crows. I sidled closer. He had moved to a perch on a low-hanging branch that bent out over the water. This enormous bird was staring down the cheeky crows who reminded me of the cartoon magpies Heckle & Jeckle.

I sidled closer using a tree to block his line of sight. When I was within 50 ft, I reached into my pocket for my camera. He cranked his head and trained his eye on me. I was still. I foolishly hoped he hadn't noticed my approach.

Seconds later he launched low across the river in a splendid arc that soon had him soaring 100 ft above me. In a minute he was joined by a soaring companion.

The two eagles circled overhead sizing me up. Maybe I seemed like an oversized raccoon. Or maybe I had interrupted their search for a nesting site. Surely the anthropomorphic cartoon crows had already discouraged them from settling in the neighborhood.

Panoramic view of the Mississippi River from down river South (left) to up river North (right) standing on Saint Paul shoreline looking across to the Minneapolis shoreline.

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