Monday, October 12, 2009

Golden Eagle

A few weekends ago, I biked through Rose Canyon (in San Diego). It was the first cold day we've had since I moved here. Almost as soon as I reached the canyon, which is just a minute or so away from our apartment complex, I saw a large brown bird of prey dueling with a smaller bird of prey (red-tailed hawk). The larger bird turned toward us and flew low over our heads, and it was indisputably a golden eagle (it's remotely possible that it was a juvenile bald eagle). It seemed agitated, because it flew over some homes on the other side of the street and circled back to meet the red-tailed hawk. Another red-tailed hawk joined the aerial fight; the three birds had a sudden backdrop of six or more red and white jets flying in formation -- an air show had been going on over the past few days, and these jets were the famous Canadian "Snowbirds". I surmise that the two red-tailed hawks were a couple, and that the golden eagle had invaded their territory. It was clearly larger, clearly not a hawk, and its wings had the same S-shaped curvature, when viewed head-on, that soaring brown pelicans display here.

Update: Members of the Friends of Rose Canyon tell me that this is the first recorded sighting of a golden eagle in Rose Canyon. The birdwatchers in the club think that the eagle likely lives in the Miramar area and left its territory because it was disturbed by the air show.

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