Two Birds With One Tree

Two bald eagles in the top of a dead fir tree.The two bald eagles have been guarding the river closely these days.

They can be seen swooping low to watch the water then soar high above the hillside in an air-dance frolic with each other. Occasionally they will sit for hours while they wait for a rain shower to clear, or for their wings to dry before taking off on another hunting jaunt.

These two adults have been a part of the area for several years now and prefer to hunt and rest together. We do not know if they are a couple or what sex they are. Sam showed up first, it just seemed patriotic to name him after ‘Uncle Sam.’ A couple of years later, ‘Yul’ showed up to complete the name, Sam and Yul…Samuel.

The sounds they make remind me of squeaky cupboard doors as they call from one tree to the next. Even when they sit close to each other, the squeaks continue.

Once aloft the familiar cry, the high-pitched iconic squeal, pierces the air as they protect their hunting route.

These birds monitor the river in anticipation of salmon as they complete their life-cycle of returning to fresh water after spending a year or two out in the open sea. The salmon make a harrowing journey back up into fresh water to their own spawning area in order to procreate only to perish in the water from which they originally were hatched. The change from fresh water to salt water was an easy transition for the fish, the change back from salt water to fresh water is impossible for the salmon and they die within a couple of weeks of entering the river. Carcasses of the fish float to the sides of the river after spawning, where the eagles pick the bones clean in short order.


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