our mortal winds
The phone rang just as the blind heeler and I got settled in to watch TV and have lunch.
Ranger at the State Park has found a dead eagle.
Okaaaaay. The Fish & Wildlife Service wants all eagle carcasses (for tissue testing for contaminants, particularly lead) and for the feathers for Native American tribes (why let someone kill something for its feathers when you can collect enough from birds that are already dead). But most eagle deaths end up being treated as potential crime scenes, first, until you figure out why it died.
Hence, most dead eagle calls go to game wardens, not me.
But, it appears, I'm the only ship in the quadrant.
Lunch will be cold. Or reheated.
Wintertime around here, most dead eagles are goldens. That's most of what we have, that's what tends to get shmucked on the highway when they're too slow to get off a dead rabbit, that's what tends to sit on powerlines to get shot, that's what tends to land wrong on powerlines that still, after 40 years, are not up to code and can electrocute a bird with five-foot wing spans.
But this state park is along the river. We've found several pairs of bald eagles nesting there in recent years as populations of that bird species have rebounded.
Much to the consternation of the powerline companies and federal government, who have lines on maps that have not one, not two, but three of the half-dozen proposed new, giant cross-country powerlines crossing right there, in that two to three miles stretch of river. (The same flat, open country that brought immigrants, the Transcontinental Railroad and the Lincoln Highway here, is now bringing giant powerlines.)
And it's March. Balds could be showing up by now.
It was a bald.
And it wasn't hard to figure out what happened to it. Feet intact, it wasn't poached for its talons. No blood or bullet holes, either. Nor any electrical burns.
But it was right directly underneath a smaller powerline.
And we've just had days and days of horrific winds, that finally started to bare off the countryside.
And, apparently, killed one of our national symbols by slamming it into wires.
I am afraid one of those nests along the river may be empty this year.
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