Thursday, February 2, 2017

Eagle Attack

Eagles have always been my favorite bird... such a strong majestic symbol of life. Growing up in south Texas, I always wanted to see eagles for real, in the wild...

Now I do. Almost daily! While i still admire the birds deeply, reality is that these birds are predators, very efficient predators.

We have a neighborhood eagle that has been visiting the farm most mornings throughout winter for several years.  This eagle will fly over, looking for a quick meal in our pasture full of delectable goodies. From the air it must look like a vegas all you can eat buffet with the doors wide open.

To date, the losses have  been relatively small... a baby pig, small lamb, duck, chicken. We have often seen this bird or one of it's friends swoop down, grab any unsuspecting young animal from above and behind, head off to the nearby quiet pasture and consume what it can. Occasionally the bird will carry the kill off to .. wherever it lives.

This year, is different. If this is the same bird, it is now HUGE.

This morning we found this eagle perched on our pasture fence, resting after killing and half consuming a nearly full grown RAM! The wingspan on this guy is amazing.  It actually caught, killed, and ate over half of the ram in one sitting.

Unfortunately eagles are very hard predators to stop. The best approach we have found is to provide shelter for the animals to run under at a moments notice and hope that they are aware and capable of escaping.  If one is just a little slow, of not paying attention to the sky above at daybreak, they loose. It is not practical to cover the entire pasture, and our farming model of following nature prohibits keeping the animals in tiny protected pens. So they are at risk not unlike they would be in the wild. Fences do not stop eagles.

This will put a huge dent in our lamb products for 2017 if we can not protect these guys quickly. The birds are smart, and know where the easy meals are. He or she will be back, often.

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