Predator or prey?

On one of our recent drives along the Mississippi levee, we came upon what appeared at first to be a tranquil scene.  A colony of great egrets, intermixed with a few graceful geese and a great blue heron, was foraging in the shallow water of a flooded farm field.  We sat and watched the peaceful scene for some time.  Then we spotted it.  Sitting on the far shore of the water was a bald eagle, obviously hoping to intimidate and pick off a weaker bird.  After further observation, we spotted a younger eagle sitting high atop a nearby tree.  It was intently keeping a watchful eye over the adult’s progress and encouraging it on.  What had appeared to be a predator in search of small fish or frogs, also turned out to be the potential prey — a hopeful meal for some hungry eagles.  Such is the drama of nature.

“The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.”  ~Douglas Horton

17 thoughts on “Predator or prey?

  1. Nice series of this scene, Rebecca. I especially like the images of the Egrets in amongst the stocks, taking advantage of the flood waters. It’s so interesting to see birds’ behaviors, with the Eagle scoping out his next meal.

  2. I’ve never seen so many egrets in one place Rebecca. I’ve seen them in Florida, but not around here. What a nice scene to come upon with all the shore birds … then the eagles appearance. Could you sense the shorebirds and geese’ apprehension over the eagles’ arrival, or were they not mindful of them? Nature is dramatic sometimes – almost too much drama for us nature lovers and you wish sometimes you could “unsee” the sad circumstances.

    • The birds were aware of the eagles presence. Most had their heads up and appeared to be watchful. We moved along, as I really didn’t want to see if the eagles got their lunch or not.

      • No, I wouldn’t like to see that either. I was outside one day and heard a screeching in the sky above. Looked up and saw a peregrine falcon trailing a medium-sized bird. I had to look away because the bird was screeching because the falcon was so close. Moments later, no more screeching – I assume it got its prey. I can’t see that – turns my stomach and makes me sad.

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