[Tweeters] Snow Goose trying to fend off Bald Eagle

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 16 19:02:57 PST 2021

Dear Tweeters,
Late this afternoon, the sixteenth February 2021, a flock of about a thousand Snow Geese was gathered in the field just north of the Samish West Ninety. I was there ten minutes before even noticing them, and then only when they started honking.
A few minutes later, the flock rose and called more vociferously. The reason was soon apparent, an immature Bald Eagle making a clumsy run at the rising geese. The flock headed southeast toward Padilla Bay, later to be joined by a few thousand more.
However, back standing in the field where the flock had been, one lone adult Snow Goose abided. Soon, an immature Bald Eagle, I think the same one as before, began strafing this lone goose. Each time, the goose would raise its wings and snap its bill at the eagle. Despite possessing what I would have thought was a supremacy of weapons, the eagle made attempt after attempt, only to fly off each time, rebuffed by the goose's defense. 
After these strafing runs, the eagle landed near the goose. It hopped toward it several times, but each time, the goose ran toward the eagle, flapping its wings and snapping its bill. The eagle backed off. 
Over the next ten minutes or so, the eagle took off, strafed, and then landed three more times, with the same result to each sortie. Sometimes, after facing down an attack by land, the goose would turn its back on the eagle and simply walk away from it. Any approach was met with a quick turn and a strong defense.
Finally, the eagle hopped in for what I thought would be the kill. The two were very close together, but there was still a bit of daylight between them. Then they stayed there, remaining that close together for a minute or two, with no sign of action. 
Then the eagle took off. It flew directly toward another immature Bald Eagle, which had been feeding on something on the ground the whole time, about two hundred meters away. Within a few minutes, up to five Bald Eagles were at this carcass, which I think was another goose. "Frosty" the leucistic adult Bald Eagle joined them for a while, but it was mostly immatures feeding there. 
It seems that the eagle that had been attacking the goose must have decided that it is easier to eat a purloined dinner than to catch one's own.
Ahh, our national bird!
As the light faded, the lone Snow Goose stayed out in the field, walking a few steps this way, a few steps that. A couple of pairs of Mallards flew in and foraged quite close by. I never did see this goose fly, so I am guessing that it cannot do so. Close to ten thousand other Snow Geese are presumably settling down out on the bay, for the night. I'm not sure how pleasant a night the lone goose will have, out alone on that cold field.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
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