The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘eagles’

Caching in on the Hide & Seek Movement

I’ve noticed a lot of my pals have been writing about hide & seek and Easter Bunnies hiding eggs and chocolate the last few days. Well, I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks here on the Campbell Estate and I’ve missed out on all that fun.

The Estate was invaded by those bad boys, the Wiley Wolf Pack.

Before you read further, Elizabeth says this post has some gruesome elements, so read on with discretion!

Those Wiley guys really keep me busy. I don’t like having them around. They haven’t got much respect, and I’m afraid that they might move in on my two-leggers one day when I’m busy somewhere else. They aren’t very friendly, if you get my drift….

And they’re always leaving messes for me to clean up.

Actually, that’s only a half complaint. I kind of don’t mind cleaning up their messes. But their messes have a less savoury aspect… they attract a lot of characters I would also rather not have around: big white-headed black flappers, croaking black flappers and cawing black flappers now that they’re back.They’re noisy, noisy, noisy, and they do their business wherever they happen to be, without any regard for anyone who happens to be in the way, gravitationally speaking.

Black flappers are really hard to chase away. They work in teams. I’ll be busy cleaning up the mess the Wiley Wolves have left, and one of those scoundrel flappers will hop up behind me and pull a bone away. And while I chase that flapper off, three or four more will move in and steal anything they can dig their beaks and talons into. They will carry it off and dump it somewhere else when they’ve finished with it, leaving me with even more cleaning up to do than the Wiley Wolves left, and with less meat to pick at by then, too!

So, the Wiley Boys killed a Sneaky Deer at the end of our bay. They ate what they wanted, then moved on, leaving the carcass right there on the ice! My two-leggers draw their drinking water from very near the spot, so it was imperative that I get the area completely sanitized.

Eventually, I decided I was wasting my time chasing the flappers. I worked harder at dismembering the remains and carrying them off to my own hiding places, where I could enjoy them at my leisure. Wild meat is always better if it hangs a little, you know….

It took several trips, but I’m better equipped to move large portions than the flappers, so I did pretty well.

This was all I could find of my deer head trophy. Now this is gone, too....

This was all I could find of my deer head trophy. Now this is gone, too….

First the head, which I hid in the woodshed. I think. I may be wrong, ’cause I can’t find it in there now. Then I removed the legs one at a time. For some reason, I can only find two of them now. And I’m not telling where I put them. I think You Know Who is finding them and taking them away to a place I won’t find them [Scribal interjection: Who, me?]. I know she got the spine, hips and ribs, which I was able to get up all in one piece in my last trip through the woods. That was hard work. I was so tired after that one that I just tucked that piece under the front of Kay’s Growly Beast until I’d rested a bit. When I went back for it, You Know Who’s scent was all over the area and I couldn’t find my prize anywhere!

I even got some meltwater to sluice down and give the area a wash. Pretty thorough, eh?

I even got some meltwater to sluice down and give the area a wash. Pretty thorough, eh?

Oh, well. I enjoyed what I was able to glean. And I think you’ll agree when I show you a picture of how the kill site looks now (Elizabeth says it wouldn’t be nice to show the before scene; she wouldn’t take a picture for me.  -:o/=  Whose blog is this, anyway?).

The Inspector found this, but I think she's pulling hairs, don't you?

The Inspector found this, but I think she’s splitting hairs, don’t you?

Learning to Soar

One day last autumn I was with Elizabeth in the living room of the two-legger house. She was making two-legger fur on her sticks and I was hard at work keeping her feet warm. All was as it should be until I felt a shadow in the room. I knew I hadn’t imagined it when Elizabeth dropped her sticks and called Kay. But Kay wasn’t in hearing range….

A few minutes later, while both of us were looking out the wall hole to see if it would come back, a great big brown flapper seemed to drop out of the sky. It wasn’t flapping. Elizabeth said it was soaring. And it was soaring straight into our wall hole!

It was huge. Even if the glass wasn’t there to keep critters out, that flapper would have had trouble getting through without clipping its wing tips. We thought there was going to be a terrible crash.

But the flapper realised just in the nick of time that it couldn’t pass through. Maybe it saw us at the last moment. Sometimes the wall hole has a sort of shine on it or it reflects instead of letting you see through. Little flappers bump into it sometimes by mistake. But I’ve never seen a flapper this big crash into a wall hole!

Elizabeth said it was a baby white headed big black flapper.

White headed big black flapper fishing. Click on the photo to learn more about these raptors.

White headed big black flapper fishing. Click on the photo to learn more about these raptors. Photo from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Facebook page.

I said no. It was brown and way too big for one of those.

She explained that it takes them a few years to grow the black and white feathers that the mature flappers wear. And because they aren’t as good as flying, their big primary feathers are inches longer than those of the adult birds – it gives them more lift, more time to manoeuvre. Which was a good thing for this youngster. We winced as one of his flapper tips smacked the wall hole. But he got away fine.

I think he was a bit shaken up by his experience, though. Elizabeth let me go outside because I was so excited by what we’d witnessed. I saw the big brown flapper fly past Al’s and Joanne’s house and down over the bay to a big old dead jack pine, which he managed to grab with his feet on his third pass. He folded up his wings and sat there for a long time, making a lot of chirping noises.

His parents flew over to see what he was on about. I don’t understand white headed big black flapper talk, but it sounded as if they were trying to get him to come back to their house. It’s in a tree on the island past Siggy’s Island. It sounded like the youngster was saying, “No way! I just nearly killed myself doing that flying thing and I’m not going anywhere that way again! No way!”

Eventually mom and dad flew back to their house. Perhaps they thought that if they ignored him and went home, he’d eventually fly back. The big brown flapper was a stubborn cusser though. He meant what he told them. I know because I listened to him chirping away. He was really loud. And he kept on chirping. All. Night. Long. Every once-in-a-while I heard the parents from the island calling back. I think they were telling him to shut up and go to sleep. If I spoke white headed big black flapper, I’d have been yelling at him, too!

I think in the morning his dad read him the riot act. “Get back home this minute or you’ll never see another fish/deer haunch/goose from me again!” It’d work with me. I just love eating too much. Evidently, it worked for junior, too. The noise eventually stopped, and later in the day I saw the whole family cruising the thermals over the next bay down.

Eye on the Sky

Did you know that not all danger is limited to ground level? It’s true. That’s why I like to keep an eye on the sky, too.

My first memory of things that fly is from the days of my puppy walks, just after Elizabeth brought me to Keewatin. We went for walks along the wide gravel road, and one day, I remember seeing – and hearing! – a lot of big black flying creatures flapping around and sitting in the trees on one side of the road. There were all black ones that croaked and gronked, and there were much bigger ones with white heads that made loud chee-chee-chee noises. They would fly up to the tall whispery trees [trembling aspens] from across a little inlet and back. I could smell something interesting on the breeze. It seemed to be what they were interested in, too.

I was just little then, and the big black flying creatures made me a bit nervous. I wasn’t too scared, ’cause my two-legger was with me. But I wouldn’t want to be alone with one of those big white headed ones! It fascinated me, though, how they stayed up in the air like that….

Winter came, and I remember chasing the all black flying creatures’ shadows across the white snow. They moved fast, and I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up – or at least close!

In the spring, two of the big white heads started hanging around. They talked to each other a lot, and sometimes I saw them with long sticks in their yellow, pointy mouths. I liked watching them. I thought, Anyone who can carry long sticks like that AND stay up in the air at the same time demands a little respect!

I like sticks a lot, too. But if I pick up long ones like that and try to take them anywhere, they seem to get tangled up in bushes I pass along the way. Those flying creatures… they’ve got the right idea!

I was watching one – no stick this time – from one of my favourite rocks one spring day as Elizabeth puttered around digging the ground up. It flew around in a circle, high up, hardly flapping its flappers at all. Fascinating! Then all of a sudden, I noticed it was getting awfully close to me awfully fast! It was diving straight at me!

“WOOF!” I warned it. Look out, you flapping creature! You’re going to crash right into me!

I’d warned it nicely, but it wouldn’t listen to me; it kept coming. So, I did the only thing I could do. I taught it a lesson!

I leapt straight up at it. I didn’t say anything – no time for words – but my look told it everything it needed to know: BACK OFF!

And it did. Its flappers spread out and it stopped in mid-air. I felt the wind as it flapped once, twice, and then flew away.

I came back to tell Elizabeth about my adventure. But she’d seen it all happen, and she seemed pretty impressed with me. She gave me a big hug and a scratch behind my ear.

And those white heads? They don’t mess with me anymore!


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