Bears, Birds, and an Eagle - UPDATE August 7, 2017

Mixed in with today’s bears and lecture was a pontoon boat ride.  Bear Course participant Andrew Theodos had his camera at the ready.  20170807 Loon TheodosLoon by Andrew TheodosA loon sunk deeper into the water by compressing its feathers and exhaling as it prepared to dive.  Andrew caught it nicely.

Hooded Mergansers by Andrew TheodosHooded mergansers by Andrew TheodosA couple of young hooded mergansers took flight as we returned to the dock.  Andrew caught the best picture we ever got of them taking off.

Back at the WRI, Andrew and the group spotted a bald eagle high in a red pine.  He wandered slowly toward it, pausing a lot and varying his path so he didn’t seem to be heading toward it.  The eagle stayed.  Andrew’s patience paid off.  He caught action we hadn’t seen before.  The eagle flew to a nearby birch tree and caught something that it flew to the ground with and disappeared into the bushes.  For over a minute, the eagle seemed to be struggling with something.  We don’t know if the eagle swallowed it or if it escaped.  The eagle took flight empty-taloned.  Andrew and his wife and I searched the spot for evidence of what it was.  Nothing.  At the spot, there was a lone head feather from the eagle.  We knew it was from the eagle, rather than a gull, because it was pointed like the feathers on the eagle head in the old picture shown.  Gull feathers are rounded like the accompanying feather for comparison.  The downy appendage on the eagle feather was much more elaborate than the downy base of the herring gull feather.

Bald Eagle by Theodos  Bald Eagle by Theodos  Bald Eagle by Theodos 
Bald Eagle photos by Andrew Theodos

 Bald Eagle Feather  Bald Eagle head feathers Herring Gull Feather 
Bald Eagle head feather Eagle head
(note pointed head feathers)
Herring gull head feather for comparison


Then bears took over the show and delighted the group.  More of that tomorrow.

A wonderful day.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center