Friday, July 28, 2006

Eagle redux

A few posts ago, I agonized about the possibility that one of our many bald eagle residents on Whidbey Island might come swooping down and haul off one of my cats from the deck. In the past two weeks or so, I've been careful to accompany them out onto the deck whenever they wanted to go outside, watching the sky for ominous wings, listening for the creaky call of the wild, and hustling them back inside when danger seemed to be near.

Today I spent a bit of time on St. Google researching the hunting and feeding habits of bald eagles and I have learned that eagles are unable to lift much more than 4 pounds aloft nor do they typically dive silently from the heights to pluck innocent pets from their yards. Not to say it can't ever happen, but I think I've been overly concerned.

The clincher was the 4 pound limit and pretty convincing evidence in one major study that eagles have never been observed carrying off new lambs or calves, which is one of the myths that anti-raptor ranchers have promoted. Since both Loosy and Lily weigh a whole lot more than 4 pounds, I think they're safe, and while I will never get cocky about this, I think it's time I relaxed a bit and let them go outside on their own again.


Phyllis said...

So fine, let them outside and let a Coyote run off with them!
Sorry, but there are some mean animals in these forests! I was on the way to work last week and saw an Eagle try to fly off carrying a big animal. 4 legs flailing and a big stomach. By big I mean bigger than a rabbit. It was near WAIF so it was probably a stray cat. The Eagle had trouble trying to take off with it, but carried it a ways across the street. The claws can kill, so be careful of the kitties.
Someone told me that they read where an Eagles nest was found and in the nest was some collars from dogs and cats.
Hi! Glad to find your blog! I copied my page and gave it to Hildred.

ms. kitty said...

Don't be worried, Phyllis, no coyotes are gonna get my cats. They don't leave the deck, which is fenced off so that there is no access on or off the deck. It's safe from coyotes, at least.

I will continue to be careful with the cats' safety, but I don't feel so scared all the time now.

Christina Martin said...

I once had a kitten carried off by a falcon, but never a full grown cat.

Welcome to the blogosphere!!