Eagle sightings

Dear President Trump,

Lately, eagles (one at a time) have been visiting the stand of fir trees rimming the South end of the reservoir across the street quite frequently. Given that every visit is met by hoards of dive-bombing crows, it would seem that the eagles are up to no good and are here on the official business of baby-crow snatching, which of course the adult crows will have none of. Generally, after a fair bit of inter-species swooping and swirling over the water wherein the crows attempt to chase the eagle off, the eagle nonchalantly alights on the very tippy top of one of the trees and sits there. The crows always continue the chase-off efforts for a few more minutes, but the eagle just sits there. Impassively. Eventually the crows give up and retreat to other trees, no doubt those with nests of baby crows hidden in them, and they sit vigil while they wait for the eagle to go elsewhere. This can go on for 10 or more minutes before the eagle finally deigns to fly off.

In the last week I’ve seen this drama unfold probably four times and until this morning it’s always played out exactly the same way. Today, though, I saw two crows doing some erratic swooping much closer to our house than usual and this time an eagle had opted to perch on the light pole right across the street instead of on one of the much further trees. The eagle did the usual impassive sitting thing while the crows did their darnedest to get it to scoot. The crows finally retreated to a nearby fir tree and the eagle sat for another couple of minutes. And then the eagle did a weird lurch up, like it was stretching its legs, and then its body contracted and it let loose an enormous stream of white poop, which splatted on the sidewalk beneath the light pole.

Have you ever seen an eagle poop? Really, in light of the physicality of the action and the volume of the output it’s more accurate to ask – have you ever seen an eagle shit? It’s a far more impressive sort of thing than a mere poop. So have you? I sure hadn’t. As nuts as it sounds, it was really the highlight of my week.

I know that bunches of heretofore novel wild animal sightings are happening all over the world now that humans have largely retreated indoors and animals’ are less endangered by us all the time. I read recently that another factor is simply that so many of us (though as we all know, not all of us by a long, long stretch since legions of people still have to work for all sorts of reasons) are home all the time and so we are seeing the usual animal activity that we miss when we are at work for huge chunks of our days. I actually like this explanation quite a lot since I find it comforting to think that wild animals are chugging around neighborhoods all the time and we just haven’t known it because we’ve not been around at the right times (or we’ve been too distracted to notice them). But logically, it’s also almost certainly the case that fewer cars on the road and less human activity generally is making more space for animals to roam and nest and shit in places they don’t normally do those things.

As much as I’d like this wilder, up close animal kingdom deal to continue, I know it won’t last once we resume our out and about human busyness, so I hope they are enjoying the calm while they can.

May all beings be safe.
May us human types be willing to make space for the beings that share this world.
May we understand that their health is our health.
May we make peace with less busyness for a long, long time to come.

Tracy Simpson

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