Eagle shares brunch with vultures
Let's see ... How can I make this weather-related? Okay, the sun was shining near Dundee Creek on Saturday and the table was set. So this adult bald eagle decided it would be a fine morning to share an alfresco brunch with two turkey vultures.
The menu included just one item - a dead deer they'd all spotted in an open field, about 150 feet off Graces Quarters Road.
Melanie Cellini was on her way to to Dundee Marina when she saw the trio.
"I stopped the car, brought the passenger window down just far enough so my dog couldn't jump out, and zoomed in with my camera. "I've lived in the Bay Country development for 20 years and other than occasionally seeing an eagle in the air, I've never experienced what I did that morning."
Ms. Cellini mistakenly assumed the smaller birds were fledgling eagles. But closer inspection of her photos shows they're vultures. The red on their faces identifies them as turkey vultures, I'm told.
"The mother was standing on the deer while the fledglings ate. When we came back home about two hours later, the mother was gone, but the two fledglings were still there. Later that evening, all of them had left and, unfortunately, have not returned to that location."
Ms. Cellini believes the eagle may be one of the pair that were removed from an aerie near Martin Airport last winter after being judged a potential hazard to flight operations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reported that those eagles nested again this spring, a short distance away, and are raising a new family.
In any event, the picture reveals our national symbol as he is - not always the romantic hunter, soaring high and snatching fish from blue waters. He is also a carrion eater, picking lunch from rotting carcasses. That may be why Ben Franklin preferred the wild turkey for our national emblem.
(PHOTO by Melanie Cellini/ Used with permission)