Eagles are jerks!
Eagles are everywhere up here in Alaska and they are really fun to watch. So I guess you can assume a certain amount of arrogance when you are the national emblem of the most powerful nation on earth, but it has come to our attention that Bald Eagles, by and large, are jerks. It was first observed back in Anacortes, Washington when Paula watched an eagle flat out murder a cormorant then leave. He didn’t eat it, he didn’t use the feathers to make a pretty headdress or feather boa, he just committed murder and left. We thought that maybe this was an isolated incident. Like maybe this one eagle was a member of that small homicidal percentage of the population that so many species have, but while enjoying a nice dinner in Ketchikan we witnessed it again. (I doubt very seriously that same eagle flew all the way up to Alaska…) Right in the middle of downtown we watched as a whole group (flock, gaggle?) of Bald Eagles knocked a large black bird to the ground and while it tried to protect itself with outstretched wings they mercilessly dove on it and ripped it apart. It took longer to die than I would have liked. At least this time they ate it. My final evidence that they are jerks—when we arrived in a recent port a Bald Eagle immediately swooped down and landed on the top of our mast, essentially high-fiving us for having the tallest mast and best view in the harbor. While we were ooh-ing and ahh-ing and taking pictures the giant bird (the size of a large dog) became annoyed with our VHF/AIS antenna that was apparently in his way and decided to try and remove it with his super-powerful beak. Yelling and banging of halyards only seemed to amuse him. Eventually he got annoyed and left, and we think the AIS still transmits ok, but my impression was cemented. You may be drop-dead gorgeous, a national icon, an apex predator and all that, but you don’t have to be such a jerk about it.