Puffins have always seemed such a comical bird. I suppose just their coloring and crazy beak, plus their little round eye that seems to be bisected by two black lines is a good start. They also have these colorful flappy feet sticking out of their rotund bellies that make them waddle-walk. Out at sea, they run on top of the water, flapping their wings furiously for what seems like eons, trying to get their unsvelt bodies up off the water and into the air. And somehow they manage to catch little fish and get them all lined up without dropping them, and walk and fly with them hanging out of their beaks. We laugh at them a lot. They are cute and funny. I have to say, though, that I had to laugh at myself when I was going through my shots of trying to capture juvenilles flying to and from the cliffs, practicing flight and strengthening themselves for their time at sea and finding out that only two out of the twelve pictures I shot had birds in them at all. Haha. Crazy fast when you don’t want them to be.
Sometimes, just below the surface, life happens. It roils and spins with a purpose that we, simply put, cannot truly understand.
Bald Eagles are very prolific in Unalaska. After a long, soaking rain it is not unusual to see eagles on every light pole with wings outspread trying to dry out. Even two and three to a pole. During salmon season when the humans are fishing there are always eagles lined up on my mother’s roof, watching us fillet fish, and then with a flip of the head, watching for fish jumping in the bay.
It is unusual, though, to find two absolutely abandoned nests that were active only days ago. This one, I can only speculate about. This nest is located in a remote area, halfway up a cliff. The other one, located on the cliffs near the senior center, has a story. There was a witness. One of the residents of the center told my husband that the pair of eagles were not actively on the nest when another eagle, with talons extended, came and snatched the baby eaglet out of the nest. The parents took chase, the baby was dropped by the evading eagle, and the parents actually ended up trying to drown the offending eagle in the lake. Of course the baby was dead. The parent eagles sat on the grass over hanging the cliff for 2 or three days. They have now completely abandoned the nest.
Survival, even for birds of prey at the top of the food chain, is never a given.