Eat or be Eaten

A few days ago when the snow came down hard and heavy, I felt sorry for the birds, as I always do when the weather makes their lives hard to bear. But I had forgotten that not only do some birds — the weak, the injured, and the unlucky — have a hard enough time finding food, but they have to beware of becoming food for other birds.

The forested patches near our house are home to many bald eagles. Because the ocean is nearby, it is ideal for them, especially now as herring time draws near.Β  But until the herring fishery begins, the eagles take advantage of the suffering of other bird species. They are especially fond of snatching seabirds from the water or the beaches.

Out in my backyard, under one of the firs that the eagles love to use as their dining room, I found, discarded, a wing that had been stripped of all meat. My guess is that it was from a loon, as these seem to be one of the eagle’s favourites. I have found several loon carcasses under the dining tree in the past. For the photo, I have put a pop can beside the wing to show the relative size.

In the animal world it still goes that you must “Eat or be eaten.”

59 thoughts on “Eat or be Eaten

        1. wordsfromanneli Post author

          I will have to read the instructions to find out how to do this on my camera. I’ve been a lazy photographer, just taking my chances, but I miss out on a lot of good dog pictures because they are moving too much, or in this case, the snow falling. I will make a point of looking it up to find out how to do it.

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  1. Jet Eliot

    Wow, Anneli, you have some fierce activity going on in your yard! I enjoyed your descriptions, the “dining tree,” and the snow photo. The wing photo with the soda can was very informative. How great for you to live here and see so much wilderness and wild activity.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Since I’ve gone camera crazy, looking for things to click on, I’ve paid more attention and have realized how much life (and sometimes death) is all around us. Mostly I look for living things, but it’s a fact that the eagles drop a lot of body parts from their “dining tree.”

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  2. Anonymous

    The kids have to be fed. Hard to look at though..I remember when Ivy was quite small, the eagles would stalk us on our morning walks. Stay close to Momma little one:).

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      1. John

        We Michiganders have always called it Pop too, must be a very northern dialect thing! In Vegas, it’s always been Soda. Soda is something you put in the fridge to absorb odors!

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  3. Pat

    I think it’s also breeding season for bald eagles. That means they’ll be doing more hunting. Pregnant mom needs more food and once the babies hatch both parents will be going nuts trying to feed them.

    Re: Soda vs. pop, I can remember when I was a girl that the drink was called soda pop. I guess some folks use the first name and others the last name. πŸ™‚

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I know I didn’t have the setting right, but the snow was coming down so fast and hard (and semi-wet) that it was almost like streaks of white rain, so maybe a faster shutter speed wouldn’t have shown much difference..

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  4. Lori

    I had given up meat when I was young and single for the very reason that I didn’t want to eat animals. Marriage changed that for me. Didn’t want to cook two different meals. My favorite meat is chicken. I don’t like to eat it off of bones though, because it reminds me. πŸ˜›

    BTW, I can’t imagine having eagles around as a natural part of my landscape. They are so cool looking. We had a huge variety of birds where we lived in Florida, but an eagle sighting was (and still is) a rare treat.

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  5. deepasthoughts

    Eat or be eaten. So true. And such a nice discussion in the comments too. From the shutter speed to vegetarianism to soda or pop. πŸ™‚
    I was reminded of the eagle taking away the dog and then the phone scene from the movie The Proposal while reading the comments.

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  6. Luanne

    Nature is so harsh. I don’t want to second guess you-know-who but couldn’t we not have sentient, fully emotional beings being prey? Why does it have to be this way? OK, I know you can’t answer that. Just musing out loud, I guess.

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  7. Uzoma

    I really feel for helpless and defenseless creatures in the wild; they are the easiest of targets. Sadly, the “eat or be eaten” rule also affects animals (buffaloes, for examples) that move in their hundreds, as they too tend to lose one or a few more of their own to predators from time to time. If I were to wake up someday as a creature of the wild, I pray I’d have the speed of a cheetah and … perhaps wings to fly.

    Poor thing (in the second photo); it was devoured without mercy!

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  8. reocochran

    We call any drink in a can “pop” which is just like you do! This makes me smile, Anneli! πŸ˜€
    The fact is I like meat, even lamb and other darling animals. I feel bad about the loon. I don’t really feel sorry for fish although they too seem to have feelings when you have them in an aquarium. They race back and forth and like staring at Christmas tree lights.
    I try not to think about feelings of the food I consume but I have a vegan DIL and son who has vegetarian tendencies.
    I forgot to tell you I like kale soup! I make mine with chicken with sweet and sour flavorings. πŸ˜‹

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Kale soup with chicken would be good too. I feel the same way about fish. It’s harder to think that they have feelings, but who knows? Maybe they do. I mean feelings besides pain nerves. Do they feel happy and sad? Do they feel love? I doubt it but maybe I don’t know fish, except how to cook them.

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      1. reocochran

        I imagine they have a “primitive” sense of pain. 🐠🐠
        I mean a fishing hook is sharp! My Dad took us out fishing on Lake Erie, as well as one boyfriend took me to Florida. We always threw anything smaller than a ruler (12 inches) back into the sea or lake. Mainly we hoped for 24″ to make it worth cleaning the scales and bones out. 🐟 🐑

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