by underswansea


Warning: If you are squeamish, especially when it comes to smell. You may want to quit reading.

Lisa and I took Willow for a walk yesterday. All the roads are mud and ice in the mountains so we decided to stay in the valley bottom.

We chose a spot to walk on the banks above the Columbia River Wetlands. The wind was blowing hard and the air had a nip. Once on the banks we noticed plenty of Ravens and Bald Headed and Golden Eagles soaring along the banks.

They will get close during windy days. Willow was intrigued. We had left straight away after work and left the camera at home (always a mistake).

When you see that many birds, especially Ravens and Eagles, it usually means an animal is dead close by and they are feeding on it.

While in the mountains I always keep a close eye out for Ravens and Eagles as it often means a bear, cougar or wolves are nearby. When something dies in the bush everything gets to eat.

We crested the bank. I could see where the birds were feeding. It was about a half mile further down towards the river bottom.

It looked like coyotes had run down a deer or elk.

The birds each grabbed a piece of flesh and set off into the wind. And the wind took them our way.

The Eagles got the best pieces. The onlooking Ravens took after the Eagles with their bounty. It was usually two or three, much smaller Ravens, to each Eagle.

They would go sideways into the wind in battle, the larger bird clasping the meat. Usually the Eagle shrugged the smaller birds off. But every once and awhile the Eagles dropped the meat to fight back. When this happened the Ravens instantly retreated.

Some of the meat dropped near us. Willow was in heaven!

This was not filet mignon raining from the sky. This was a probably a two day dead ungulate, and the meat was the bits the coyotes refused to eat.

Willow ran from bit to bit. Some as big as a teacup. Some with fur on it. All decaying flesh.

She didn’t eat them. Nor did she head our command of, no, no, no! She went right ahead and rolled on them!

I ran after her. On occasion she picked the meat up, ran farther ahead of me to roll on it some more.

Little sniffer hunting dogs will do this, out of instinct, to mask their smell from prey. My old dog Slinky was just as bad.

When we caught her she stunk to high hell.

We drove the truck back home, with all the windows rolled down, even though it was windy, close to raining and freezing.

Even then, I thought I was going to have to pull over for, either, fresh air or be sick.

I’m usually pretty good with bad smells. Lisa laughed and Willow had a wide smile.

Once home, Lisa bathed Willow . . . twice.

Thank goodness Lisa was able to take care of her. I must be in a weakened state.

Willow is soft, fuzzy and smells good now, but doesn’t look nearly as happy without the stink!