Eagle’s and the Deer Carcasses
Sunday morning I received a phone call about some Eagles that were congregating around a decomposed deer here in Allegany State Park. The person who called wasn’t sure but he thought few Golden Eagles were mixed in with the Bald Eagles. That was enough for me to quickly finish uploading my Bonaparte’s Gull post and take off into the freezing rain to check out the situation. I was disappointed in not seeing any Golden’s but I did find a few cooperative Juvenal Bald Eagles to photograph.
I was able to flush 5 different eagles, numerous Ravens and a handful of American Crows from feeding on two different carcasses lying out in a field. One carcass was WAY out in the middle of the field and the other was right along the road. I found a parking spot near the roadside carcass and used my truck as my blind (since I didn’t want to lie on the ground in the freezing rain). I waited within minutes and this Juvenal Bald landed in a tree next to my truck (see the photo below). I continued watching this bird and waited for it to return to the carcass. The Eagle looked around at the Crows . . other Eagles and then look straight down at the carcass. It pooped 6 times and flew to a closer branch 3 times. I believe the bird was starting to trust me enough to fly down onto the deer remains. Then . . . .
. . . . someone I know pulled up in a vehicle and said “hey, isn’t this great seeing all these Eagles . . . I had thought about giving you a phone call yesterday, we had 8 Eagles out in the field”! This was with my camera hanging out the window and my reply was “Shhhh their one is one sitting right there in the tree. . . . I am trying to get its picture”! What I wanted to say was GO AWAY!! But, we continued talking about the eagles for a few more minutes and then just after he pulled away . . . . the Eagle decided to also fly away. I was only able to capture a picture of the Eagle up in the tree after 2 1/2 hours of waiting for that perfect picture (feeding on the carcass) The photo below is with one of the birds out in the middle of the field feeding on the other carcass. 😦 At one time I was able to count 6 different eagles grouped together.
Where the Eagles were mostly congregating
I was excited to hear hearing a Red-shouldered Hawk numerous times (while waiting) along one of the beaver ponds. I questioned if this bird was a Blue Jay mimicking the Red-shouldered Hawks call but sure enough this “really” was the hawk making all those vocalizations. Due to the amount of snow we get in this area . . . . the Red-shouldered Hawk isn’t regularly found during our winter months. I plan on checking up on this bird again to see if it decides to stay in the area and should be fun to watch. .
Although I didn’t get my money shot like I wanted . . . . I did have a few close encounters with a few of the juvenal Bald Eagles flying around. Maybe one of these days I will capture a picture of a Golden Eagle for everyone?? I plan to keep on trying!
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It is nice to see your pictures even tho they aren’t $$ shots. We too had juv Bald Eagles this weekend. There was even a pair of adults sitting on their nest. It seems a little early for that but they might have just been checking out their real estate to see if they need to do some repair.
3 December 2007 at 7:31 pm
Wow Tom! Great captures even though I know you didn’t get the ones you wanted. Some people don’t get the whole blogging thing, LOL!
Too funny you know the bird pooped 6 times!
3 December 2007 at 7:32 pm
If you can get the park to put some roadkills every so often in that field, you just might entice a Golden Eagle to come down for it. There are a few that winter in McKean County, PA and are utilizing some of the ‘stashed’ roadkills the PGC picks up…
3 December 2007 at 7:58 pm
What wonderful shots just the same! What a sight that must have been. We are officially green.
3 December 2007 at 9:19 pm
@ Lisa – Great you saw them and you could have pair work/building by January! Looks like they are starting the romance a little early! Thanks!
@ Pam – thanks and at least I tried! In 2 1/2 hours you pick up on the littlest things! BTW: I did get a picture of it pooping but decided not to post it!
@ John – thanks and will pass the info along!
@ Jayne – thanks and eagles are common around here! We laugh that it was a bad day if we don’t see an eagle! Sometimes we compare them to crows! 1/2 my problem is that I ignore them and sometimes forget to take their picture whenever we see them!
3 December 2007 at 10:18 pm
Sorry but I had to laugh at this one. I would have had a fit if a clueless someone interrupted a fantastic opportunity like that… “shhh…you idiot, can’t you see I’m in the middle of a photo op here?” LOL!
You will get that Golden Eagle, Tom. It’s just a simple matter of time.
You seem to stumble upon the best.
3 December 2007 at 10:38 pm
Great pics regardless!
3 December 2007 at 11:06 pm
Oh Tom people are so clueless at times. You did get some good shots as far as I am concerned. You’ll get that golden someday. I know you will.
3 December 2007 at 11:09 pm
Your non-money shots are a zillion times better than my sad, camera-not-working ones.
There was a bald eagle in a nearby town feeding on a deer carcass, and it stopped traffic for about 2 hours while the ODNR, birders, photographers, etc rushed out to see it. Fun!
3 December 2007 at 11:35 pm
Typical that someone comes just at the wrong time, but funny and I had to laugh. How exciting to have an eagle so near and how driven you must have been to be out there in the freezing rain! That’s what separates the true birders. (I spent the day watching the birds trying to feed in the wind and snow through my patio door.)
4 December 2007 at 12:59 am
The eagle shots are great! I like the idea of putting road kill out for them. I have seen Golden Eagles before but not for a few years. The juvenial Bald Eagles are fun to watch. I like the way the parents teach the young too.
I need to get a weather jacket for my camera and lens. You are dedicated to be out in the freezing rain.
Looking forward to seeing your Golden Eagles! They will come.
4 December 2007 at 8:02 am
Get to see eagles every day! I have to go to BC for that then I admit you get pretty blase about it! I love these shots-and you were very patient with the guy who interrupted you 😀
4 December 2007 at 9:06 am
Oh well, we all have situations like that where we have inadvertently interrupted. Hopefully you can make it out there again and see more of the eagles – mabye even in better light!
4 December 2007 at 9:20 am
Cool pictures and fun story, Mon@rch. I was so shocked when I found out for the first time that the magnificent bald eagle also likes to dine on carrion!
P.S. Can you post some raven pictures too? I never see them here in my neck of the woods.
4 December 2007 at 9:40 am
Nice shots. We were just remarking this morning that we haven’t seen an eagle since last fall. Usually they hunt the river here, but not lately.
4 December 2007 at 10:04 am
@ Mary – Some people just don’t understand but damage had been done already! I will get you one, that’s for sure!
@ Patrick – thanks
@ toni – some people are! Thanks but lighting could have been better! I do run into them from time to time but just never with camera in hand!
@ Susan – camera not working! ugg, get it working again and you do take some wonderful pictures! Of course, my camera cost me some of those shots! We see Eagles here all the time and 2 hours of traffic could be 2 cars where I was located (only 2 cars because they were checking out the birds also!).
@ erie – It was funny and they allowed me close due to the food being in the area. Do note that I was sitting in the truck the whole time! I would go lying in the grass or anything like that in the rain!
@ sherry – thanks and I didn’t put that out for them! probably an injured deer or just was in the wrong place and the wrong time. thanks and will get a good shot one of these days! I should look through my slides, I do have a few shots of them somewhere!
@ marg – When I don’t leave the house I don’t see them! they are quite easy to find in my area!
@ Marty – seems to happen to me all the time! O, well! Now we have a foot of snow covering the carcasses and still snowing!
@ Ruthie – thanks and they would probably eat anything they can! Will work on the Ravens! to be honest, been trying to get them for a while! They always skidoo every time I pull my camera out!
@ threecollie – thanks and be sure to get out looking for them! Wonder why they have not been around much?
4 December 2007 at 12:15 pm
How wonderful to have seen the Eagles! I wish I lived close enough to a big nature area like that to get phone calls with heads up tips. I’d be out the door in a heartbeat camera in tow, and bending the speed limits to get there!
Good on ya mate, loooove the photos!!
4 December 2007 at 2:27 pm
Great pictures even though it’s not what you wanted. Your determination will pay off the next time if nobody interupts! 🙂
4 December 2007 at 2:29 pm
I remember the first time I saw a juvenile Bald Eagle, posted the pic on the blog and called it a Golden Eagle. I quickly had my consciousness raised about that! These are beautiful pics, Tom. They remind me of home. We like being here on the coast of California, but we miss seeing the eagles of the northwest.
4 December 2007 at 4:21 pm
@ Kaz – it was nice and what is great about birds is that we can see them everywhere we go! Here I am wishing I was up north closer to the lake for some of their birds! Thanks
@ Chicago – thanks and just would have told the story better!
@ Robin – They are confused easily! This is how we learn!
4 December 2007 at 7:08 pm
Very cool! Although rare to the area, a friend in the Niagara Region had a golden eagle hanging out near his house this past summer. Would love to see a golden eagle, myself. I’m jealous of my friend!
4 December 2007 at 9:47 pm
Wow, what photographs. I am awestruck. I admire your patience, both with weather conditions and with clumsy humans.
4 December 2007 at 10:25 pm
@ Lana – how amazing to have a Golden in the area! Very rare for sure! Thanks again 🙂
@ Crayons – thanks and I am in aww with your work you do! Thanks
4 December 2007 at 10:25 pm
I think this is a wonderful shot. He looks content. I love Eagles. ~nita~
5 December 2007 at 12:07 am
Thanks and they are great birds for sure!
5 December 2007 at 7:03 pm
OMG ~~ SO beautiful!!!
6 December 2007 at 3:50 pm
Your disappointing shots would be “money” shots for me. I can apprecitate that you have to work at it though. 2-1/2 hours is a long time to wait for a photo op. I can’t say that I would do that for any bird short of something extremely rare.-Great photos! I’ll be looking for that Golden Eagle pic.-Could you try to find one and have it posted by Saturday?
6 December 2007 at 10:18 pm
“Sometimes we compare them to crows! 1/2 my problem is that I ignore them and sometimes forget to take their picture whenever we see them!”
I could not believe that I would ever hear you compare a BALD EAGLE to a crow! If you start ignoring them you won’t miss them when they’re gone. Marvel each and every time.
8 December 2007 at 8:44 am
@ Lisa – thanks
@ Larry – thanks and sometimes we needed to do what we need to do! Thanks and sorry I doubt I will have one posted by Sunday! LOL
@ Nancy – Thanks and I guess I am not ignoring them but more focusing on some of the other birds that I have around me! They just seem to be everywhere now days!
8 December 2007 at 9:39 am