Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Not So Welcome Visitor

I have been having lots of problems accessing Blogger lately and have missed posting a few of the happenings around Spring Rock.  I still can't access the photo uploading part of Blogger so no photos today.  Hopefully I'll be able to get one of the many computer expert males in my family to figure out what is wrong with either my computer or Blogger (I suspect my computer) and I'll be back with you again complete with photos.

I love birds of prey. I have a vast owl collection and the eagles, hawks, harriers, kites and falcons who visit Spring Rock are simply a joy to watch as they ride the thermals high in the sky. I feel a bit of a traitor sometimes, what with all the vulnerable species resident in the Spring Rock menagerie, but knowing they are all safely ensconced behind some form of wire or tucked up inside the house I usually feel free to admire whatever bird of prey is in the sky grabbing my attention at the time.

Recently I mentioned that my attitude towards birds of prey changed while Hedwig and Hermes were loose. I spent my days then waving my arms and loudly suggesting the predators go elsewhere until my galahs were home safe in their aviary. Now that the wanders have returned and are once again safe from peril I have resumed my admiration of all visitors to Spring Rock – except for two days ago.

I had a persistent Little Eagle visit here that considered my back yard an all you can eat buffet. After looking up Little Eagles via Google I discovered our visitor was a female and that Little Harriers are a threatened species. While I’m glad she’s here and looking in tip top health I’d much rather she confine her hunts to the paddocks where I can’t see the poor little victims that become her main course and the outside members of the menagerie are left in peace.

The Little Eagle started with the ferrets. She sat in the tree where she could get a good look at The Gang Of Three and consider her option of how to get at them. The ferrets were considering their options of how to get at the Little Eagle at the same time. They banded together, standing shoulder to shoulder and watched it carefully, showing no fear and daring it to start something. From where I stood at the lounge room window it looked like the Little Eagle was more than willing to start something so I went outside and had a few words with her, suggesting she move on.

She did. - right over to the tree in the chook yard just a short flight north of the ferret cage. I in turn moved down there and again suggested a different venue would be appreciated. At first she just glared at me from her lower branch in the pine tree, in between noting the number and fatness of the Spring Rock chooks. She took careful stock of Eros and Hellios, my two giant roosters and I suppose lost a bit of confidence in just how easy it might be to swoop down there and grab a fluffy fat hen. I was still flapping my arms and suggesting the canola paddocks or wheat paddocks might afford better scope for her when she jumped up to a higher branch to get away from both the annoying human and the large rooster who had just spotted her and was voicing his own opinions of birds of prey (nowhere near as admiring as my opinion). From her new vantage point in the pine tree the Little Eagle was able to see another dinner option and she flew off to go inspect the two plump galahs near the house (my beautiful Nova Perris, the retired racing pigeon died of old age two weeks ago).

While the chooks, with the exception of Eros, seemed to be almost oblivious to the Little Eagle and preferred to think I was there to give them a second lot of treats, the poor galahs knew a threat when they saw it and became very agitated with the proximity of a hungry eagle even if it was a “little” one (and let me tell you now – Little Eagles aren’t really that little!). I decided that trying to gently move the Little Eagle on wasn't working but I continued waving my arms and telling her to go away. Trouble was she was so high up in a tree I represented no threat at all and those galahs looked delectable. The Little Eagle sat there and looked at me like while I was an interesting oddity, she really had other things on her mind at the moment and would I please go away and leave her to consider her dining options. I ended up going into the aviary to calm the poor birds down, offer moral support and assure them I wouldn't let anything hurt them. Hedgwig believed me, Hermes not so much. Hedwig calmed down quickly and came over for a head and under the wing scratch and we had a little heart to heart about the trials and tribulations of being a prey bird rather than a bird of prey. I couldn’t resist pointing out that had she not come home, Hedwig would have been out there in the big wild world with no-one to protect her from such birds. Hedwig just craned her neck to help me reach a better spot to scratch. Hermes meanwhile was flapping around the cage, shrieking his head off and predicting the end of the world any minute now. No amount of calm talk and reassurance could make him feel better. In the end I decided to go outside the cage and have another go and getting the Little Eagle to move on. The Little Eagle must have thought I'd beat her to dinner because when I came out it was gone and peace reigned at Spring Rock once again.

I saw the Little Eagle yesterday. She was riding the thermals over our canola paddock at the side of her house. She showed no interest in visiting the back yard again, despite all those well fed morsels she’s seen the day before. I have a feeling she just didn’t feel up to dealing with that maniacal human with the flapping arms.


bec said...

My money was on the ferrets!
Love, Bec

Threeundertwo said...

I lost a beloved pet chicken to a hawk when I was little. I still absolutely love birds of prey though. So amazing to watch. You might like this post by an amazing photographer/blogger: