A Welcome and Unwelcome Guest

I was at my desk today, deep in thought, when I gradually became award of a growing din outside. Blue jays screamed, crows cawed. Then I heard within the frenzy a single, descending whinny. Ah. Even before I reached the back yard and looked uphill, I knew what I would see. A bald eagle, which makes occasional visits, was perched atop the old white pine at the south edge of our yard.

It happened too quickly to photograph, but here's a shot from an April visit.

It happened too quickly to photograph, but here’s a shot from an April visit.

What I didn’t expect was a frantic mob of jays and crows, swooping and diving to drive the eagle away. Surely the smaller birds perceived the raptor as a threat to their young broods. What else would fill a relatively tiny blue jay with the courage to face down a nine-pound monster that has a beak like a crowbar?

Within seconds of my arrival, the eagle had had enough. It launched itself from the treetop and zoomed low over my head as if flew northward. In an instant the caws and screams ceased and the yard fell silent. The defenders, their job done, had already flown away and left me alone, barefoot in the grass and blinking in wonder.