Monday, May 7, 2007

EAGLES, VULTURES AND HERONS

This blog entry is really about the guy above. But I thought it would be interesting to include some other river birds I saw today. The Black Vulture is a much overlooked bird and even frowned upon by some. It is said to be filthy and a disease carrier. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This bird is indispensable as a cleaner upper. It removes any bodies lying around on land or water. It cleans the environment. It would be interesting to see how the average picnic would fare if the vulture didn't pick up the dead from the beach and the hiking pathways. Their ability to digest decayed material is amazing. There are powerful enzymes present in their bodies that eliminate harmful germs present in putrid carian. They bath after each meal. Sometimes they will bath for hours along the river. Truly an amazing bird.
This is the season for babies in the bird world and one bird that is just as interesting as any is the Great Blue Heron. I discovered an island on the Little Tennessee River last year and promised myself I would visit it this spring. The results are below the vulture pictures. The rookerie is on an island with very tall trees. The pictures are of Heron families two story's high in these trees. Each nest has two chicks. A truly beautiful bird and one of the more interesting birds on the river.
And finally the eagles. I have been watching them closely the past few days. At first I could only see one chick in the nest. Today, the second chick appeared. I was elated! I get goose bumps when I observe these birds. But that's not all. A half hour later, down the river further, the two fledglings from the previous year appeared. They were still dark brown as they are still adolescence birds. The white will appear next year. I am privileged to present to you these occupants of the river's edge and the symbol of our country, our countries heritage and the symbol of the bravery that the son's and daughter's of America have displayed through history.
"I see everything. "My life depends on death"
What a good looking fellow!
If one gets to the lake or river early enough, one can catch the Black Vulture asleep.
This master fisherman is not fishing. He's watching me as I drift my boat very near his nest and brood. He is over two stories high up in the top of a tree in a Great Heron Rookeries.
Is that dad flying in over there with our fish dinner?
Two cute Heron babies, and mom
My first visit to the nest this morning yielded this one chick as seen below. But to my joy, as you'll see later, a second is present.
This little guy was so handsome I had to put him in here alone without his sister.
I was afraid both chicks did not make it this year. But to my joy, a second little head appeared. It is awe inspiring to see these young, healthy birds preparing to represent our country and symbolize our freedom.
Two very healthy chicks. It looks like the current crop of young eagles are healthy and growing rapidly
This is the eagle's back yard. Today was an absolutely picture perfect day. The trees and foliage were reflected off the water as if a mirror were placed there by nature.
The next two pictures are almost identical. They were taken ten seconds apart. I am so excited about being able to share these photos with everyone interested, that I don't want to leave anything out. This young bird was forced into this tree by a marauding crow. Yes, small birds harass raptors. This bird and the second young bird I saw just minutes later surely must be last years brood. Sensational!
This is one of two "last year youngsters" I saw flying today about a half mile down stream of last year and this year's nesting site. He is magnificent.