Riverkeeper Report: Fly like an eagle

Published 9:51 am Friday, January 10, 2014

Well, it’s been so cold and ugly lately I just have not been able to get Spirit of Moonpie and myself out on the river, so this is not my normal Riverkeeper report. This is just something I saw on 1/8/2014 that ranks right up there at the top of the craziest wildlife things I have ever witnessed.

I was coming across Johnson’s Mill pond, which as most people know is just north of Sedley proper. About halfway across the dam I saw this huge bird.

I could tell it had something in its talons that looked rather large. However, the crazy thing was there was what looked like about 8 feet of cord hanging off whatever it had in its talons and on the end of the cord was something heavy.

The bird was flying all crazy and this 8-foot thing being towed behind it was swinging around wildly. My first reasoning was that it was a goose that had gotten hung up in some idiots’ discarded fishing line and was causing the bird to have major flight issues. About that time the bird dropped what it was trying to airlift away and I quickly drove over to the little boat landing there on the pond near the drop zone.

As I got there I now saw the bird flying away and I had my answer. The bird was an immature bald eagle (no white head) that had grabbed a duck decoy thinking it was real prey. I had seen a couple of decoys in the water a few days before right there at the dam. The thing hanging off the decoy was of course the decoys anchor line and weight. Another crazy thing is 100 feet from where the eagle dropped the decoy, there were two real ducks sitting there on the pond, oblivious to the fact that a bird of prey chose a plastic look a like instead of eating them. Good thing it was a juvenile eagle, I guess.

The decoy is still sitting where it was dropped and I have not seen the eagle since. But then come to think about it, I have not seen the second decoy either!