This was one lucky blackbird, he got the bald eagles breakfast!
So here’s something to keep in mind this time of year. During the fall, especially in November and December, the wildlife takes over the beaches at Devil’s Lake State Park. Geese and ducks fill the waters along south shore and bald eagles begin to hunt the shallow waters along the beaches. This is the WILDLIFE season at the lake.
Sadly, and all too often, we see people tossing rocks, chasing geese on the beach. There will always be jerks and they should be reported.
That said, sometimes with no malice at all, we can be the problem as well.
A couple of days back we were hiking along the beach and came across a fresh kill. A big pike along the beach. Pretty standard fare for our local bald eagles. Suddenly we felt bad. Had we inadvertently chased an eagle from its meal? We’d been watching them fly around all morning but hadn’t seen any on the beach. Still, after we took a moment to look around it became clear, it wasn’t just us, it was all of us.
It was the guys trying to get the picture, who were getting too close and basically chasing the eagles away. It was the lady with her dog, taking it right up so it could sniff and eat on the fish. It was the rock tossers who weren’t trying to scare the geese, but just “throwing stuff”. It was the fisherman taking advantage of the people-free shoreline. The eagle was robbed of his meal in essence due to everyone at the park who were simply oblivious to the animals who live here or, just a little TOO interested.
With the bald eagles chased away, the birds who don’t worry so much about humans, the blackbirds and the gulls, quickly moved in on the eagles meal. Thing is, that bald eagle needs that big fish and all those nutrients and fat much more than the blackbird this time of year. The eagle had to work to get that meal and will have to work to replace it. It sucks that those of us who Devil’s Lake so much that we visit on a cold day in November, chased the eagle away from its meal. I’m sure that wasn’t our intent. Most of us simply miss the little wildlife dramas that go on around us. But hey, we love the park right? We love seeing wildlife, right? That’s great. We just need to be more aware this time of year. Sometimes we just have to be reminded.