As you can tell from the snow on the Hillman airport, this is not yesterday’s (Father’s Day) eagle photo. Yesterday no camera captured the drama on the west shore of the big part of Long Lake, not far from the narrows. We watched from our dock on the eastern shore. “Look, that’s a bald eagle flying over the lake, isn’t it?” “Definitely, see his tail feathers?” ” Yep, and that’s definitely a white head.” As my son and our friends watched, the eagle swooped down and grabbed something from the lake. It flew off with a Canada Goose gosling in its talons. The geese started honking loud. One adult flew up and charged the eagle. Startled, apparently, the eagle dropped its prey back into the lake from a height of about 100 feet. We saw the splash. The eagle circled and seemed to be considering trying again. Continued loud honking. The eagle did not make a second snatch. The geese paddled off.
Our national bird didn’t get picked for the job as a symbol for tame. A healthy eagle killing to eat is not a newsflash. Still, this was pretty raw and Wild Kingdomish. We’d seen that bunch of geese a few times over the weekend. Four adults, five goslings already with the distinctive breed markings on their neck, and four younger goslings still decked out in their brown chick feathers. Even though the geese litter the lawn with their slimy tootsie roll droppings, I was still kind of rooting for the geese. Hard not to root for a parent fighting to protect its young. Especially on Father’s Day. The eagle seemed small for an adult.