Letter: Ocean Park woman prefers not to become eagle cuisine

Bald eagle cuisine

    Most residents living on the Peninsula have had conversation with friends or acquaintances centered around our eagle population and their diet. I have heard about an eagle flying by with a cat in their talons, or a small dog being carried off then dropped onto the ground and killed. I even heard a story of a pet parrot flying to a roof on a nearby house only to be captured by an eagle before the owner could retrieve the pet. Some bird stories I believed, and some stories I found unreliable at best. I became a believer last year when I watched an eagle capture, overpower and eventually drown a seagull in the ocean.

    Last Friday, Oct. 26, I took my two small 17-pound dogs for their routine walk on the beach off the Oysterville approach in Surfside. As we were walking south about a half-mile, I noticed a large eagle perching on a log beside the surf. It was raining and the dogs had on raincoats. One of their coats was red and as you know red is one of the colors birds can see. We were walking along the sea grass and the eagle was down beside the water, so I thought we would be safe to continue our walk.

    Just as we crossed the eagle’s line of vision, the eagle took flight and flew south. I was relieved and felt that the eagle was not interested in my pets, so relaxed. Suddenly I saw that the wing of this predatory bird was getting larger and appeared to be coming our direction. I didn’t have the dogs on a leash and was unsure if I needed to worry. Just as suddenly the eagle took a sharp dive and came at us like a dive-bomber. Still not actually believing that we were in trouble but wanting to be safe, I put the dogs under me as I knelt on the ground. To my absolute terror the eagle landed not 5 feet from me on a log. His feet were big enough to wrap around my wrist and his beak would most likely have the power to snap a broomstick. He just perched on that log looking at me as if to say, “Give my one of your dogs and I will let you and the other dog live.”

    I looked around for help, but there were no cars or people. So I picked up the dogs, putting one under each arm, and began to walk toward the car. This eagle simply took flight and landed several feet in front of me. Now I have a pet African Grey Parrot and I know how smart birds can be. I figured this bird knew exactly what he was doing. I moved out of his path while still walking toward the car. Again and again the bird flew to other advantage points in front of me. All the way to the car I walked carrying the dogs, resting then walking. All the time this predator continued to advance his position staying just in front us. I knew the eagle was waiting for one, just one, opportunity to get at the dogs. I was determined to reach the car with both dogs. As I reached my destination the eagle gave up and flew north.

    I have become a full fledge member and believer of the “eagles will eat your small pet” club.

    I encourage everyone to take caution when walking your small dogs. The eagles are watching and they will eat whatever they can carry.

Sheila Jones

Ocean Park

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