Eagle Photo by John

My brother-in-law John has been photographing bald eagles lately at a lock and dam near St.Louis. He e-mailed me a shot which I think is his best to date. Notice the shadow on the river and the small fish clasped in the right talons. I also admired the definition and positioning of the wing feathers. I scaled the photo down in order to fit it on this page. A raptor on a mission:

Larry

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23 Comments

Filed under Natural History, Photos

23 responses to “Eagle Photo by John

  1. Virginia

    This is absolutely beautiful. Is your brother-in-law a professional photographer?

  2. Darrell

    Larry . . thanks for posting the picture.
    Eagles on the Mississippi are a rather new phenomenon. When I was a little guy in the early ’50’s, they were seldom around that section of the Mississippi. One of my big sister’s boyfriends lived in the Kinderhook area and actually claimed to have seen one . . . once. Eagles simply weren’t.

    Then in the early ’60’s we were hiking down the railroad track south of Saverton along the almost frozen river. We heard a strange twittering call from the riverside trees . . and when we got closer, a bald eagle launched itself out over the river. We were wowed, and decided that was a once in a lifetime event. But a few weeks later we spotted 2 eagles in the same area. By the time the hikes ended ca 1964, one could count on seeing an eagle in the open water area south of the dam whenever hiking. The advancing freeze of the river was driving them south.
    When I ended up in Alaska in 1999, they were all over the place. I had to chase one out of our back yard . . it was eyeing our cat. It wasn’t easy to chase off.
    A couple of years ago I was driving up Hwy 61 near Bowling Green and saw one there as well . . . and it was in October, not the dead of winter. Hopefully they are back to stay.

  3. Joan

    I guess this is the downside of the Eagle situation if you happen to have a very small dog. 🙂 Luckily he had on his heavy winter coat.

    Chihuahua survives owl attack in suburban Chicago

    http://www.wgem.com/global/story.asp?s=13860072

  4. Darrell

    Joan, for sheer aggressiveness, I think owls will beat out hawks and eagles every time.
    But when we lived in Alaska, an eagle took a pet chihuahua right out of a big filling station lot in downtown Anchorage.

  5. Joan

    To show how ignorant I am about birds of prey, (well large prey) I never even thought of an owl as being a raptor type. In fact I rarely thought of owls at all, living in a suburban area. But we have them. I have heard them at night, although I have not seen them. To think that someone’s pup would be attacked and possibly carried off that way is surreal. The particular dog breed has huge ears. Do you think the owls thought they had a rabbit or does it matter to the owl what manner of critter he’s attacking?
    We have hawks here. Chris got a picture of a red-tailed hawk, only last week, but I have no way to upload it. (sniffle)

  6. Darrell

    Owls are extremely powerful birds. I found a tiny dazzled screech owl in the middle of Market St on very cold winter evening. I picked it up and fortunately I was wearing heavy gloves because it clamped its claws on my finger; the talons didn’t penetrate, but dut the squeeze was enough to be uincomfortable . . . and it was only the size of a pidgeon!
    When we were in Fresno California, there was a nest of barn owls living in the big electric sign of a nearby shopping center.

    Good photo . . . again! In a similar vein,
    I had this listed earlier under “Oddities” but don’t know if anyone say this site: http://www.johnsibbick.com/

    Larry should enjoy the beasts therein?
    Virginia, Sibbick does paleo-landscapes and has one of a Carboniforous world . . . the sort that created coal, etc? Anyway, check ‘em out?

  7. Virginia

    I enjoyed all the raptor stories. A little screech owl flew into our sliding glass door one night years ago and fell to the deck dazed for a few seconds. It flashed it’s beautiful big eyes at the window, then flew off. There is a large barn owl in the area too, though this area is largely urban. The biggest surprise was to drive home one afternoon and see a large red-tailed hawk perched on a no parking sign (for one side of the street) adjacent to our yard. Though it was beautiful its presence concerned me, because I like the birds at our bird feeder. It flew off after people began arriving home along the street. Perhaps it hoped for a more secluded place.
    Joan, I enjoyed your Chiuaua -owl link.
    Darrell the galleries are neat. I especially liked the Burgess Shale Sea in Prehistoric. That was a treasure trove of fossils. Sibbik really captured the essence of the crowded sea floor.

  8. Darrell

    I’ll move some the older stuff up to this feature. It was about comments on rhinos and titanotheres, etc. Back in a bit.

  9. Joan

    OK.. The following video is both informative, repulsive, scientifically interesting, and very funny. Owl forensics. Who knew? 🙂

    http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/dirty-jobs-owl-vomit-collector.html

  10. Darrell

    RE Owl stuffing: When were in a upper grades class at Eugene Field, we read an article on owl pellets. However I never got to see a real one until I was in California in the Sierra foothills.

    One thing that would be NASTY would be buzzard barf . . apparently they’ll drop a load whenever they are startled to lose weight and escape/fly better?

    RE bird on bird predation. I don’t think red tails would try to go after small agile birds . . . but a Cooper’s hawk is another matter; they are superlative small bird killers. On day a few years back I looked out the back window and there was a Coopers sitting on one of our benches and calmly ripping a Carolina wren to pieces. Beautiful bird , but a real killer.

    Glad the paleo-landscapes were well received.
    Is Burgess shale the sort of stuff found around Ilasco? Where are the trilobites and worm holes in the shale/fossil record?

    I found the Sibbick art while looking for andrewsarchus pictures. I’d posted it with the ‘bird death” feature, when we were discussing titanotheres, and not being too closely related to rhinos. This made me think of a VERY strange relationship: the andrewsarchus (the largest land mammalian carnivore to ever live) and sheep and goats (as well as whales). One can never look at Lambchop again without a sense of inner terror. I’ll cut and paste here.

    From Jan 15 . . .
    As I recall, there are some strange lines of descent in the animal kingdom . . . so titanotheres are more closely related to horses than rhinos. The biggest “descent disconnect” I can think of comes from the now-extinct Andrewsarchus, the largest mammalian land carnivore that ever existed. It seems that sheep are descended from the same group of animals as Andrewsarchus . . . so, the thought crossed my mind of of being eaten by a lamb chop instead of the other way around? See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXNQgpCflIs !!

    Which led to: http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/andrewsarchus/

    Which then led me to the art of John Sibbick . . . . http://www.johnsibbick.com/
    Larry, you should enjoy the beasts therein? Virginia, Sibbick does paleo-landscapes and has one of a Carboniforous world . . . the sort that created coal, etc? Anyway, check ‘em out?

  11. Virginia

    Joan, That was a great link. The owl vomit was pretty neat stuff with diarticulated rodent skeletons and other parts likesuch as bird beaks. I enjoy the program “Diirty Jobs” when I have a chance to watch it. It’s amazing the things you can learn cleaning dirty machinery or much more disgusting things.

  12. Joan

    That was a neat video, Virginia, but I stumbled upon it purely by accident. I don’t have cable and I couldn’t understand how the somewhat corporate looking guy with the little almost cub scout sized billed cap was ‘helping’ to sell ford products. My eldest said ‘OH! That’s the “Dirty Jobs” guy! I found him on the net last night along with the owl stuff video. The ‘collector’ said he sold the product to schools. Have you ever heard of it?

  13. Darrell

    Hmmm . . . did my “paleoworld” post come through? Along with shale questions? It contained links, so maybe it’s still in limbo?

  14. Joan

    The post has not come through, Darrell, and I’m stumped as to why. All these other links squeezed through. Maybe just tell the name of the web site and we could try to navigate to it?

  15. Darrell

    Joan, I just looked and it said my comment is waiting moderation . . . so I’ll be more moderate. And I’ll re-paste the non-link stuff . . . .

  16. Darrell

    Here it is:

    RE Owl stuffing: When were in a upper grades class at Eugene Field, we read an article on owl pellets. However I never got to see a real one until I was in California in the Sierra foothills.

    One thing that would be NASTY would be buzzard barf . . apparently they’ll drop a load whenever they are startled to lose weight and escape/fly better?

    RE bird on bird predation. I don’t think red tails would try to go after small agile birds . . . but a Cooper’s hawk is another matter; they are superlative small bird killers. On day a few years back I looked out the back window and there was a Coopers sitting on one of our benches and calmly ripping a Carolina wren to pieces. Beautiful bird , but a real killer.

    Glad the paleo-landscapes were well received.
    Is Burgess shale the sort of stuff found around Ilasco? Where are the trilobites and worm holes in the shale/fossil record?

    I found the Sibbick art while looking for andrewsarchus pictures. I’d posted it with the ‘bird death” feature, when we were discussing titanotheres, and not being too closely related to rhinos. This made me think of a VERY strange relationship: the andrewsarchus (the largest land mammalian carnivore to ever live) and sheep and goats (as well as whales). One can never look at Lambchop again without a sense of inner terror. I’ll cut and paste here.

    From Jan 15 . . .
    As I recall, there are some strange lines of descent in the animal kingdom . . . so titanotheres are more closely related to horses than rhinos. The biggest “descent disconnect” I can think of comes from the now-extinct Andrewsarchus, the largest mammalian land carnivore that ever existed. It seems that sheep are descended from the same group of animals as Andrewsarchus . . . so, the thought crossed my mind of of being eaten by a lamb chop instead of the other way around?
    So look for Andrewsarchus . . the Sibbick art showed one as he visualized it.

  17. joan

    The way I found artists concepts of The Andrewsarchus was to go to Google, access Google images and type in ol’ Andrew’s name. That way you get the Sibbick version and quite a few other imaginative concepts.

    Am glad Chris’s red tailed hawk was not photographed in the process of eating anything …no matter how large or small. ewww!

    Are owl pellets the same as owl vomit? I always thought pellets referred to poop..But what do I know. In the case of rabbits, their feed looks much the same coming out as it does going in. (grin)

    They mentioned in the video that the raptors had this vomit screening capacity because the animal bones would kill them. Now, I was wondering when you see a snake swallowing a rat whole, what happens in the snake’s body? Is there snake vomit or does he actually digest the whole rat?

  18. Virginia

    Darrell, the hawk had a distinctive red tail but I wouldn’t swear to the hawk type. He wasn’t eating anything. When he flew away with a great sweep of his wings he was elegant. You asked if the Burgess Shale was near Ilasco. No the shale around Hannibal and Ilasco is much younger -maybe 340 million years old. The Bugess Shale is roughly 580 million years old. Here is a Smithsonian link http://paleobiology.si.edu/burgess/ and a link to a Berkely website about the Cambrian Period and Burgess Shale http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cambrian/burgess.html

    Joan, I hadn’t heard of the owl vomit kits, but he probably markets to pre-college schools. It would be an interesting exploration for elementary or middle-schoolers.

  19. Virginia

    I forgot to make a comment on your trilobite question, Darrell. Trilobites are found from the Cambrian period nearly 600 million years ago and finally disappeared in the rock record by thePermian -a time span ending about 275 million years ago. That’s just before the age of dinosaurs and a great die-off period. You can find some fingernail-sized trilobites just off the exit of Hwy 61 south of Bowling Green. There is a shallow creek and shale just under the surface. You can break out chunks of shale, take them home, and separate them with a knife blade when it dries. You’re sure to find several. No, I don’t know the name of the shale.

  20. Darrell

    Joan . . . Apparently the owl coughs up a small hollow package made up of the defunct digested rodents skin, with bones inside. In the Field School reader, that was the case. The pellet I found was in the Sierra foothills on a 5 acre spread we once had. It was about 2 inches long, and some small bones had weathered through. It isn’t vomit, more like a hair ball. More common were small birds impaled on barbs or thorns; the work of shrikes . . . the butcher birds.
    I’m glad the Andrewsarchus is extinct, along with hyenadons and the big bear dogs (amphicyonidae) . . . that might have been a nature too tough for humanity to survive in?

    Virginia . . . So shale is older than limestone generally? It is inorganic too, unlike limestone? Permian trilobites were the final chapter of their existence . . and even then living in the after glow of their time on earth? I’m not familiar with that creek off 61. But I longed to canoe/hike Spencer Creek a little distance away after the 60’s, but never made it. You see, after I was divorced at that time, I made a resoultion (temporary) to remain single and live an outdoor life centered on canoes, hikes, and cameras . . . a proto-60’s type a few years ahead of the crowd of Nature Children maybe? But, back to Spencer Creek . . . something tells me that interesting things may be found along it watercourse. Just a feeling.

  21. Virginia

    I just went to the Andrewsarchus website. It was interesting to see the
    the largest of so many ancient animals.
    Darrell, You’re putting words in my mouth. Shale isn’t necessarily older than limestone. In Hannibal as well as all over the midwest you can see layers of limestone and shale one after the other. Remember how the top level of rock at Lover’s leap is limestone. Under that is a 20+ foot thickness of the Hannibal Shale. Beneath that is more limestone. You might have noticed that in the Marblehead quarry. If you don’t remember seeing any shale when you worked there, check any roadcut of layered rock. You are likely to see limestones and shales and possibly sandstone as well.

  22. Adrian Ayers

    Thanks for sharing this photo Dad, Uncle John is an amazing photographer!

    • Leslie

      So many interesting comments since I saw this! Yes, Adrian, I agree, John is an amazing photographer. 🙂 You aren’t so bad yourself, though now that I think of all the amazing photos you’ve taken of your travels and hikes!

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