This was originally posted on January 28th,2015.
January 28th was a clear,calm & cold day. So I decided to head down to the very end of Tofino inlet (Deer bay) to search out Trumpeter Swans.They like these quiet areas. It took about 90 minutes for me to get down there.It’s about 30 klicks to the east of Tofino.
Sure enough there were some Trumpeters down in Deer bay. After getting a few shots I decided to go further into Deer bay to have my treat! I like to bring something sweet with me.I shut the engine off & enjoy my treat.
As I was heading into Deer bay when I noticed something very odd? I saw a Eagle standing in the water!
I was perplexed as to why a Eagle would be standing in cold water? The only thing I could think of was that it was injured? If It was injured it would surely be just a matter of time until it died.
I shut the engine off & pulled it up.I poled my way in. It was shallow & the tide was coming in.The eagle wasn’t even acknowledging my presence! It just kept staring ahead ignoring me.I talked gently to it for awhile to let it know that I was not a threat. I did this for 15 minutes or so. Obviously animals cannot understand english but they can understand tone,pitch, loudness………& thus intent.
I mentioned at one point that it had better get out of the cold water as the tide was coming in & that it would get hypothermic! As soon as I did that,it opened it’s powerful wings up & began to walk/swim to a near by log! I noticed as it lifted it’s right talon that it had something? I first thought it was a fish but it turned out to be a bird! A female Hooded Merganser to be precise!
It had caught & was drowning it when I stumbled upon it!
I was amazed at this sight & also my great luck! Eagles do not have retractable talons like a cat. They have to have something solid to push against to extract them.
It shook off the water & began to pluck the hapless Merganser wildly! Feathers & down were flying everywhere!
After a few minutes of plucking,it began to feast! It must of ate for 10 minutes!
By this time I was clicking away madly!
It stopped eating, looked up at me & began to sing! There was no wind so the serenade was echoing off the surrounding mountains! The sound & moment raised the hairs on my neck! I think it was a victory song. Many times a eagle will begin to sing after making a kill.Singing “What a jolly good fellow I am” I’m sure! I would also like to think it was a thank you song to me,for not taking it’s prize!
Notice in the above shot the nictitating eye lid.It a semi transparent thin membrane that closes from front to back.It protects & cleans the eye.
After singing for a few minutes,It grabbed the leftovers & flew off down the inlet!
I yelled out “THANK YOU” & began to review the shots.I was busy there for 5 minutes or so when I heard the very distinctive sound of a pair of wings getting closer. I looked up & saw that it was flying back towards me! It went straight past me,chirped & promptly disappeared up Tofino creek!
To me this whole event was remarkable! I see my eagle friends on a daily basis for many years.So they get use to me & understand that I am not a threat! As a result, I can get close to them.
The amazing thing for me was that I’ve never met this eagle before! Because this eagle showed remarkable courage, I am calling it “Braveheart”!
One of my more memorable experiences!