Sunday, March 1, 2009

Looking for Eagles

It's a grey day, and looks like it's snowing in the Sierras already. But the storms hadn't come over the mountains yet this morning, so we took a little Sunday drive to look for eagles.

As bald eagles start their spring migrations to the Pacific Northwest, many stop off here for a snack. Just over the ridge to the south, the Carson Valley is still home to quite a few cattle ranches (Carson City is in the more urbanized Eagle Valley - confusing to newcomers). The end of February is calving time at the cattle ranches. Eagles can often be seen out walking around in the cow pastures, looking for the afterbirth - evidently an eagle's idea of a tasty treat.

Some of the ranchers move their pregnant herds into pastures close to the roads, giving folks around here a better chance at spotting an eagle. Others have joined together to provide tours of their ranches and barn areas, educating the public about eagle habitat preservation in the process. We didn't spot any eagles this morning. Many cows have already had their calves, so we might have been a week too late, but I'll still keep an eye out whenever I'm out and about - the weather will probably keep the birds around for a couple more weeks. It's really a thrill to see one perched on a neighborhood telephone pole.


Cathy said...

Hello Sadge
Thanks for dropping in and for your kind words when I was feeling down.
Do eagles try to pick on or even pick up the new borns - crows will hang around and have a go at just about anything.
Take care

Sadge said...

Hi Cathy! Eagles are cowardly scavengers, preferring to go after carrion. The ones I've seen in the cow pastures wait until mama cow has the baby up and away before they move in. Those cows move fast if they feel their baby is threatened - I wouldn't want to be between one and her calf. Good to see you're back and feeling better!