Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Birds of Bray

With spawning salmon come the raptors. These "birds of bray," as I like to call them ("prey" sounds so violent) come to Wickersham every autumn and populate the foothills and wetlands with their nests, their cries, and their majestic presence. If you've never seen a bald eagle up close, toss out any misconceptions you may have about the fragility of birds with their delicate, hollow frames—picture instead a Rottweiler on wings. These birds are BIG.

FarmWife set out to count the birds on our last outing, but by the time we got to the first bend in the road (not to the trailhead yet, understand, but just on the road TO the trailhead) she had counted eight bald eagles, two red tailed hawks, one great blue heron, and one bird that may have been a golden eagle or a juvenile bald eagle. She gave up, being out of fingers and wanting to spend more time in enjoyment of my company than in concentration on her ornithological survey.

FarmWife learned, much to her disappointment, that it is very hard to get a crisp, clear photo of a bird at the top of a 100-ft. conifer in the pouring rain from the back of a moving mule with an automatic camera. Even when it is a very BIG bird. In fact, this is the best she could do despite an abundance of opportunity.

That's all right. I love her anyway, even if she's never going to make a name for herself as a photographer of birds. I'd rather she make a name for herself as the FarmWife of Bent Barrow Farm, and as Fenway's human, and as the typist of Brays of Our Lives.

As for the birds, we like them. They've never yet snatched up a chicken, a cat, or a baby, and they keep the fish carcasses from creating a stink come spawning season. They still thrill my humans by soaring over Bent Barrow Farm—it's a sight that never grows old. Not unlike the sight of me, Fenway Bartholomule.



  1. HHM Mr. Blondie has hawks - mostly Harris hawks, but sometimes red-tailed hawks. He finds them magnificent, as do I. You are - as I'm sure you know - very fortunate to live where you do.

  2. Great post, Fenny. It's always a thrill to see those avatars of wild nature. There was once a time, back in those useless years before you were foaled, when it was believed that big raptors would die out because of DDT and other poisons. And nobody knew what to do, which quickly mutates into nobody cared. Then there was this mulish woman named Rachel Carson...she was very cool.

  3. Fenway, I saw one of these last night in a large oak tree at my stables.

    Do you know why they keep asking "who, who, who, who"?


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