Bald Eagles Hunting Muscovy Ducks
What does a successful hunt sound like?
Football has a certain sound during impacts as unstoppable forces meet immoveable objects. Thwump would be a good word to describe human bodies colliding at speed. Add an UMPH in there as one body receives the brunt of the energy. Not quite E=MC squared but it's close enough for the guy at the bottom of the dogpile. THWUMPH!
A shoulder driven tackle delivered without warning at full speed by a big man barreling into another big man off guard, or off center. Delivered with intention of surprise and extreme denials ...THWUMPH!!
Throwing an armful of wet laundry fresh from the washer into the back of your dryer. THWUMPH
I heard this sound the morning a bald eagle decided one of my male Muscovy ducks was on the menu. I heard the attack clear as a tackle replay on Sunday afternoon. A second bald eagle flew in directly after. A bonded hunting pair, ready for a meal, but not the size of the delivery.
How do eagles handle an over-sized prize?
I watched two bald eagles struggle with 18 pounds of dead duck. The eagle that made the kill tried different grappling hook placements. Grappling the neck proved fruitless. He may as well have been trying to pick up a cinder block. By the neck and the duck's back proved ridiculous. Duck butt dragged along the ground five feet while that majestic eagle's wings searched for enough lift for lift off. By the duck butt, then? Head and neck waggling below dragging the ground. Three feet of lift was the best the male eagle could do. The Wright Brothers would have been impressed, though.
A vulture landed at perimeter of their hunting ground, told them to hold his beer. Which started a bar fight over the morning's canard aux cerises. The female eagle ignored the fight to continue the struggle with 18 pounds of duck dinner. The vulture gave up the argument when three of his vulture buddies dropped in and left immediately not wanting a piece of any of that action.
The two eagles were left to dissect their canard du matin. Eighteen pounds divided could be carted off easier. Or just gorge until you have pieces that take flight easier. Which, if you do the math, still adds up to the same duck. Canard à l’intérieur d’un aigle est encore canard.
Eagles weigh their options by location and privacy.
They split the difference, and the duck. Now quiet as the sun stood just behind the top edges of the trees, they ate their fill while dissecting choice leftovers. Once satisfied they both lifted into the air heading west to the nearby lake and preserve to finish the parts still in their clutches.
The vultures miraculously showed up out of nowhere to finish where the eagles had left off. Nature has her ways, and dinner times.