Lisa and I walked the river. An inch of snow fell the night before. Plenty of ravens about, which often means something is dead. It wasn’t long before we spotted a small deer, nearly picked clean, that had been hit by a train that runs parallel to the water in the valley bottom.
We counted more than fifteen eagles in the nearby trees. Mostly Bald Eagles, some immature, and a few heavy bodied Golden Eagles. We had interrupted their feast.
While Willow waded the river I came upon the prints of an eagle in the picture above. It was about seven feet wide. These kind of prints are interesting to find. Sometimes small rodent tracks will lead into the eagle or owl prints. In such a case it is easy to figure out what happened.
It is fun to watch animal tracks and try to imagine what the animals are doing. It’s also a good idea to keep tabs on what is in the area. I do this for Willow more than me. She also keeps track of tracks, plus she has smell and hearing going for her. I don’t want her tangling with anything bigger or wilder than her. At the same time she lets me know when anything is approaching us. It’s a team effort.
My thought on the eagle print is this; when an eagle or raven pulls flesh off a carcass, in this case the train killed deer, they often fly to a safe perch and eat. During the flight, flesh often gets dropped while the bird defends itself against their bombing feathered antagonists.
Perhaps a small bit of flesh was dropped and spotted by the Eagles sharp eyes. It swoops down and leaves it’s prints in the fresh snow.
Of course it’s just a theory. There is no telling what happened.
But I will say this; when Willow saw me looking at the wing prints she ran over, sniffed, and rolled in the middle, wrecking the prints.
Willow only rolls on dead things, or where dead things have been. She confirmed my earlier conclusion. Like I said, it’s a team effort.
“Elementary, my dear Willow!”