Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Death of a Eagle

Glen

From his nest high up on the south facing cliff an eagle watches as the sun rises in the east, slowly at first as if unsure it will make it up an over the mountain top.
He had lived many years in these glens and mountains distant memories of his first tentative flight out and over the heather moorland far below.
The early morning mist had receded grudgingly to the west and Ullapool far off
today was going to be a good day for the hunt …
by 11.00 0’clock the sun was beating down the skies were a blue of near perfection
He leaned forward on the nest and with one final look at the chicks gently rolled out and over the cliff edge .
Falling 10 feet then 20 he tumbled to the earth far below
but this master of the skies was playing with the air as a champion boxer toys with an opponent he knows he has mastered.
As the speed increased he gently unfurls one wing then the other and dips to his right and away from the cliff edge
The air rushed up and filled the full length of the wings..
Then all below stand in awe and look up at the master of the Scottish highland skies his full wingspan 6 feet and more .
His feathers golden ,his eyes a deep and knowing black .
A loud call that sets of across the distant glens that all Scots know .
To me as a scot whenever i have been away from Scotland ,the two things that would bring a tear to my eye and a longing to be home.
The sound of the bagpipes and the call of the Eagle ….
He set of across the glen to one of his favourite places to hunt
Passing over the river he swooped round sure he had spotted something to the edge of the river
letting the air escape from his wings he glided slowly downward till he was certain
A rabbit lay across a post an EASY meal on this sunny highland day ..
With yet another call ,this time to his partner high up  in the nest to let her know he had found some food ..
After a couple of mouth full’s of fresh meat he grasped the rabbit tightly in his mighty talons and leapt into the air ,happy that his family would feed well today …
A few powerful beats from his wings and within seconds he was soaring in an ever increasing circle gaining height faster and faster ,until he had enough height to simply soar to the cliff nest and his family ..
The calls between the family echoed out across the mountains all excited at the thought of the meal
He dipped his wing and headed to the nest
WHEN a pain the like he had never felt shot out and quickly enveloped his whole body ,unsure what was happening he struggled to stay in flight but then more pain filled his body until he lost control of his prey that plummeted to the ground .
He struggled to fly but with total loss of all his muscles his wings folded in a twisted wrap around his body
He called in desperation to his partner a scream this time
no magical call
simply pain and fear .
Then ,and no matter how hard he tried to stop it
the plunge to the ground and death began ..
A final call was quickly followed by a sound i hope to never hear ever again as long as i live ..
The Golden eagle lay on the ground his wings and legs at strange angles every bone has been smashed and a tiny whimper from him said he still tried to battle the poison within ..
High in the cliff the female darted from her nest and dash across the sky soon found her by his side ..
I watched as the female nudged him and called
but i could see his eyes had closed the poison had WON.
For the rest of the day and into the night the female let out call after call to her partner but as the sun rose in the morning she knew he had gone and with the chicks calling for food she had no choice  she had to go
so with a final SCREAM to MAN she grabbed the rabbit and headed to the nest .
………..May you continue to soar my friend safe and secure away from man ….


LINKS TO THE DEATH OF EAGLES :
http://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/tag/golden-eagle/
http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/?p=279
http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/eagle-poisoned373.html#cr
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/uk-ireland/poison-threatens-golden-eagle-plans-14705138.html
Article: Shocking death of golden eagle
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-182528462.html
Article: Fury as another golden eagle is poisoned
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-20504647.html
The Independent on Sunday

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