Thursday, December 3, 2009
A while back we were watching a bevy of ducks, Buffleheads, in the harbor, with an eagle cruising above them. These were diving ducks. Suddenly the eagle spiraled down and the ducks scattered. The eagle seemed initially to have missed its strike but a lone duck, left, didn't fly off and remained on the surface. The eagle made a lazy circle over the area and then a long sloping descent onto the lone duck. The duck dived at just the right moment and the eagle seemed to have missed. This scenario was repeated at least five times and each time the duck dived for shorter and shorter periods. The eagle was relentless. It appeared to rake the duck on its last foray and then returned to pick up the duck, who could, it seemed, no longer dive.The eagle flew off with its prey in the talons. I felt a sense of horror for the duck. Even though I know this is part of life, I am always struck with the brutality of reality. Predators have to eat and supply their family. Eagles are large birds with big appetites that eat a variety of land and marine life including ducks. Still, I find it sad. I can't be a hypocrite however, since I too am part of the food chain and I am omniverous. My meat eating is at arms length from the killing fields so, as many others, my action is sanitized. I see it as acceptable. I seem to thrive on denial. Cognitive dissonance!