I can't describe why I went for my camera, or why I went out my garage instead of trying to get a picture from my back yard, but I'm so glad I did. It was just one of those moments of rare serendipity where an impulse paid off in a way I'll never forget.
Across the street, a honey locust tree towers over a neighbor's yard. The ravens were swooping around, croaking and diving. I didn't realize they were after something until I got close. Then I realized it was an enormous bird. It was a monster.
It was a golden eagle.
This guy was just sitting there, cool and alert. Every now and then one of the ravens would land and try to get close. The raven would squawk and peck the bark of the tree. At one point, one of the ravens ripped off a small branch, gave it a good thrashing and then threw it down. Very dramatic!
All this time, the eagle just sat there.
This guy was enormous. To give you a size comparison, consider that an adult raven is about two feet long from beak to tail. Here's another side-by-side photo. The raven is trying to look tough.
I could almost hear the eagle saying, "Come one step closer. Just, one, step..."
That was quite a sight.
Ravens are feisty and very cunning. You usually don't see them hanging around cities, or places where Man lives. They like the wild country. You're more likely to see one picking a carcass by the side of a remote stretch of highway then you are to see one circling our neighborhood.
Even more rare is to get a visit from a golden eagle. My kids were awed.
Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, and before long all the neighbors had their cameras out, and were clicking away. People were slowing down as they drove past and gazing into the treetops. The eagle was very well camouflaged.
I would never have seen it had there not been a pair of angry ravens making all that noise.