Saturday, November 1, 2008
I saw an eagle on Sunday morning
Mä näin kotkan Sunnuntai aamuna ~ I saw an eagle on Sunday morning, I told Mrs. Laitinen* when I dropped in on her yesterday a.m. after my yoga class. As I cut her hair, I told her the story of the bald headed eagle I saw last Sunday out on my walk with Musti and Tassu. How I looked up into the sky above me right after being startled to see a doe and her fawn hiding in the bulrushes. The deer were perfectly camouflaged in the brown and wheaten colours of the dried reeds and rushes, sheltering in the marsh from the loud clanging of the train that was passing by. The deer were just as surprised to see me as I was to see them and in a glance, hightailed it out of the marsh, flashing their white tails.
I don't have a photo of the mother deer and her fawn as they were so perfectly blending into the background of bulrushes that it took me a moment to register that those were deer faces staring back at me.
I don't have a photo of the eagle I saw immediately afterward, either. I was taken by surprise to see it directly overhead just as the deer disappeared into the bush, leaving only the bulrushes for witness. I was still in a state of disbelief, and easily fell into enchantment watching the huge raptor spiral slowly in graceful loops across the blue sky. This is the 2nd time I've seen the eagle in that same out-of-bounds place past the pond. Is it looking for prey? Searching for a partner? Out for a glide? Not many people are lucky enough to see an eagle, to be blessed by the medicine of eagle. I've seen an eagle 4x this year, twice at the waterfront, once at Mission Island Marsh, and earlier, an eagle answering to the drumming of the Nishnawbe, who were drumming in front of the city jail to protest the imprisonment of the Kitchenuhmaygoosib 6.
Mrs. Laitinen told me friends of hers had seen some eagles, too. That this summer Pirjo and Veikko had had a pair of eagles nesting in some trees back of their summer camp property.
But, Veikko shot one of them with his gun and killed it, she said. Eventually, the other eagle went away and it didn't come back.
Voi, hyvänen aika! , I said, oh, my goodness gracious! He shot it?! Doesn't he know that eagles are protected species? That no one is allowed to shoot them? That eagles have only recently begun to return to the north shore and nest after almost being wiped out by DDT? That there are big fines for killing eagles? That instead of killing eagles we are supposed to protect them? The government of Ontario grants 100% tax relief for private property owners who have eagles nesting on their land as a means of furthering their return.
I looked at her with incredulity.
The eagle was killing all the other little birds, she said. He had to kill it, she said matter-of-factly, so it wouldn't kill any more of the little birds.
When I left, the sun was shining just as brightly as when I first arrived, but now I felt despair. Wordless. I really felt sick.
How could someone not know that eagles are to be protected? How could there be so much ignorance?
*I used pseudonyms today