Eagles on the Ice, A Forester's Northwoods Adventures
This video came up on my suggested videos today on Youtube and it reminded me of an interesting story from one of our many ventures in the Northwoods.
Many years ago we were doing a Goshawk Survey a the edge of the Boundary Waters near Orr Minnesota, a very cold and snowy winter, as most of them are up here.
I was impressed with the number of Eagles I would see huddled up standing on the lakes, bracing themselves against the wind. Seemed kind of silly considering there are so many better places to be than on a frozen lake with 50 below windchills.
About a month later one of my sons who was helping with this project came back at the end of the day with an interesting story involving an Eagle encounter.
He was crossing a large lake (1x6 miles) to get to some of his survey plots when an Eagle swooped down and brushed against his head. Not something you expect as you are minding your own business enjoying the quiet solitude with nothing but the sound of your snowshoes on the crusty snow to interrupt the quiet.
Always alert for Wolf packs and Moose, one never expects an attack from an Eagle.
After diving down to avoid this Eagle, Nick noted that it continued across the lake and settled down next to an ice fisherman.
So, Nick hiked on over to say hello to the fisherman and noticed as the Eagle sat 3 feet away from the hole in the ice, getting excited every time the fisherman wiggled his fishing pole.
Turns out that Eagles up here rely on these fishermen to share their catch with them, and the fishermen are happy to share any fish that they do not want, mainly undesirable species and small ones.
In this harsh environment where food is scarce, the Eagles seem nearly domesticated as they have grown to trust and cooperate with the fishermen to supplement their winter diet.
Enjoy the video!