It was April 27th of this year, and when I grabbed my camera equipment and headed out the door I had no idea that I was about to have a very important lesson reinforced in my life. You see, I’ve loved nature ever since I can remember. I love being out in it, I love the way it looks, the way it smells, and the way it sounds. These days, I especially love taking pictures of it. There’s something else I love about it, something that almost certainly comes up every day, most likely every minute of every hour of every day. But, like a lot of other people, I suspect, I’ve become somewhat of a specialist at avoiding looking too hard, or too long, at this particular aspect of Nature, and that aspect is Nature’s sometime’s brutal honesty. I mean we all love to look at the incredible beauty which surrounds us everyday as we walk about this amazing world we live in. The flowers, the trees, the bright blue skies, the fluffy white clouds, the cute little animals, it’s all just wonderful. And in a perfect world, it would be that way always, everything in perfect harmony, nothing but joy and happiness for every person, and for every animal.
Well, that’s how the day sort of started. I found lots of wonderful flowers to take pictures of, and I’ve shared a few of them with you here. If the day had ended like it started, it would have been just another not so remarkable, but certainly enjoyable April afternoon. Until I found myself walking into the park area at Kitsilano Beach. It was later in the afternoon, and still early enough in the year that I was considering turning it around and heading back in the direction of home. And that’s when I noticed something sort of falling out of the sky. I say falling because it wasn’t really flying even though it was a young Eagle, but more like fluttering as it came into a rather hard landing about 50 ft. up in one of the taller trees. The bird had what I later counted to be six Crows hot on it’s trail who also took up positions in the tree shifting themselves around (in a very organized manner) until they basically had the Eagle surrounded. For the next hour or so I was about to witness the other side of Nature, the side that isn’t as pretty as all those flowers I had taken pictures of earlier, but unless I miss my guess, probably in some way that I might not understand, every bit as important.
It looked to me like the fight was already quite a ways advanced, because like I already mentioned, the Eagle didn’t appear to be able to fly very well, and it looked pretty exhausted. The Crows, on the other hand, appeared to be fresh as daisies, and I would attribute that to the fact that while three or four were actively engaged with tormenting the Eagle, another two or three could be catching their breath. It was only the larger bird who was getting no rest. The strategy of the flock was pretty obvious, and just as obviously effective, and long before it was a done deal, I had realized that this Eagle was living out its last day. What the Crows would do was get two or three of their number to jump in and out at the front of the Eagle risking being impaled by its very efficient-looking beak, or even its talons when it could muster the strength to raise a leg. When the Eagle became sufficiently engrossed with the Crows doing the distracting at the front, the remaining Crows would dive in at the rear and attempt to tear up the Eagle’s feathers. If you look at the photograph I took from the back, you can see the damage to the feathers (especially the tail-feathers) that I’m talking about. The more damage the Crows did to the Eagle’s feathers, the more helpless the Eagle became.
As it became obvious that this fight was decided, and having broken my usual rule about not interfering in stuff like this (my father taught me not to judge Nature, but to accept that sometimes harshness is necessary), but to no avail, I just accepted that on this day the Eagle was the “bug” and the Crows were the “windshield”. Tomorrow, it might be the other way around. Anyway, I packed it in, and headed home. I suppose there was a chance that the Crows decided to show the Eagle mercy, but I wouldn’t want to bet the farm on that one. Then again…