Dining with the eagles


The question of the day really isn’t about the eagles dining out on the Keweenaw Bay.

The question is:  How in the world did that dead deer get out on the ice?

What's on the menu? Dead deer on ice.

Did the deer run out on the ice, stumble and fall into the icy bay, and drown?  Then it surfaced atop the rapidly freezing ice?

Or did a human somehow maneuver it out there?  (I don’t think so–the ice is too thin.)

It is sad to consider the fate of the deer.

Table for one, please.

In any event, an eagle discovered the dead deer and broadcast to his friends:  “No fish for lunch today!  Today we’re dining on venison!”

Nine eagles joined him.  The ten dined with gusto.

They were not sad about the fate of the deer.

Today only bones and fur float atop the ice.  Today the eagles will dine on fish again.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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30 Responses to Dining with the eagles

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    That’s so beautiful and horrific all at once! Did you know about this and come to seek it out? Or, did you come upon it unawares? Blinking at this like I do upon finding a bear along my walks!

    • Kathy says:

      We came upon it completely unaware–I think it was Tuesday afternoon. We were driving up to Houghton (way too many trips to Houghton lately) and I pulled over and fumbled for the camera in an attempt to get the picture. They were too far away to get a real good close-up shot but was able to crop it to see it pretty good. Finding a bear would be amazing!

  2. wombpower says:

    Amazing picture Kathy. See the juvenile eagles as well. This is a family group. Yes a mystery how the deer died, and your theory is as good as any. Is the ice thick enough for a deer to walk on it at all?

    • Kathy says:

      The thickness of the ice changes every day, Carla. It could have been thick enough for a deer to walk on. Their weight is more evenly distributed over four legs than ours. And they are usually lighter. Thank you for pointing out the juveniles–you are so right. Did you know it takes four years before a juvenile eagle gets its white plumage?

  3. Dawn says:

    I wondered what the darker birds were..juveniles! How cool. Though I am sad about the deer…seeing that many eagles is really special.

    • Kathy says:

      It was special to see so many eagles together, Dawn. There were ten of them, although I couldn’t get all ten in the same pictures. Too much flying going on!

  4. Gerry says:

    Their dining habits are one of the reasons Benjamin Franklin thought the Wild Turkey would be a better national bird than the Bald Eagle. He had a point. I’d rather watch them hunting than scavenging–which probably says more about me than about them–but at least they perform a service. It’s good the deer carcass was cleaned up.

    • Kathy says:

      Ahhh, the wild turkey! We don’t have many of them this far north. I hear they are in the lower part of the U.P., though. I love seeing them on the sides of the road when visiting down by Bellaire. You are lucky to have Benjamin’s bird down your way.

  5. holessence says:

    Kathy – That food chain sure seems wicked at times. When you stop to think about it, we all do the same thing. Our way — the human way — of doing it just seems a bit more civilized. We go to the grocery store and purchase it already packaged up nice and tidy. The bald eagles simply skip that step.

    • Kathy says:

      Indeed, Laurie! You got that right. When we get our nice packages of meat or fish, sometimes it’s way too easy to forget that it was once a living breathing creature.

  6. kiwidutch says:

    It’s sad, but a daily reality of nature.
    At least he wasn’t wasted and his demise went towards another creatures survival.
    I’m supposing he died out there, lost his bearings in mist maybe?
    The Eagles appreciated him at least.

    • Kathy says:

      The Eagles appreciated him, indeed, kiwidutch. Perhaps the deer did lose his bearings in the mist. Nature does handle these things most efficiently, even though it can make us sad.

  7. john says:

    I love how you take time to observe nature and contemplate the event. Both Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold would enjoy reading your blog. As always thank you for the pictures of the Keweenaw.

    An aside, have you ever seen or heard this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE5dlHnSfSk

  8. Cool
    Don’t think I have ever seen that many eagles in on place.

  9. Karma says:

    That’s a pretty stunning shot of eagles! Wow! Are the darker ones the females or just different types of eagles?

  10. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – This brought to mind an experience we had many years ago at our cottage on a northern wilderness river. It was spring and the ice was beginning to break away on the river. My daughter called to me and said there was a bear on the river. As I looked out, I could see a bear in the water strugglng mightily to pull itself up onto the ice. As we watched, we saw the bear put its head back for one last exhausted try and then give itself back into the water to disappear. It was SO DISTURBING to all of us. I’m not proud to say that I later lied to the kids and told them that i saw evidence he had pulled himself out down river and gotten away. It was simply too violent a memory for their first death experience. I still tear up at the thought of it. Thank you for having eyes that “see” and sharing these amazing photos with us. p.s. Your photo of the little girl in the purple coat the other day stayed with me. I found myself thinking of the old movie “The Red Balloon” and thinking what a wonderful story could be written around that beautiful child.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Susan…what a sad terrible story! That must have been so devestating to see the bear drown. I’m tearing up, thinking about that now. Nature can be so cruel. We tend to forget this at times, wanting to idealize it, perhaps. It can’t be predicted or tamed… (Glad you liked the picture of the little girl, though. She was precious indeed.)

  11. Val Erde says:

    That’s so sad, but what an experience… and lucky you had your camera with you at the time. When an otter ate our Koi (fish) Bruce was livid – not just because we lost our fish to it but because he didn’t succeed in getting a photo!

    • Kathy says:

      Every time I leave the house without the camera I worry that something from nature will present itself without an accompanying photo! Once, years ago, I saw a wolf on the way to work. Am so afraid if I forget the camera that the wolf will be back. Would love a photo of a wolf!

  12. Tammy McLeod says:

    That is really rather remarkable. What a sight! I agree that it’s sad to contemplate the deer but this is nature at it’s finest and you’ve captured it.

  13. Robin says:

    That must have been quite an enjoyable lunch for them, as well as an unusual sight for you.

  14. flandrumhill says:

    My brother and his wife once spent the good part of a day trying to save a deer that had got itself caught somehow in iced waters. It didn’t survive either. I know these things happen in nature but it still seems so cruel.

    It looks like those eagles are thriving out your way as they seem to be here.

    • Kathy says:

      Amy-Lynn, I think we humans have this urge to idealize nature, but nature refuses that category. She insists instead upon sometimes appearing cruel and sad. She is life and death itself, intertwined.

  15. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Nature finds a balance in the circle of life… She is as brutal as she is beautiful, and she doesn’t look at things the way we do. Occasionally we get a glimpse of her workings…
    Once in a while I’ve seen stories on the evening news about deer getting stranded on the ice and then falling through. When people are around to see it they call 911 and sometimes the deer is successfully rescued. But in the wild I’m sure most of them don’t make it out. Nice shots of the eagles enjoying their feast! Nothing is wasted…

    • Kathy says:

      You have described our Mother Nature wonderfully. Brutal and beautiful. We don’t always like to think of her that way, though. Glad you enjoyed this, Barbara.

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