magpies and golden eagles

There aren’t very many birds here in the desert sage, at least not  compared to the multitude on the shores and in the forests.  Not much to eat, I imagine.  I’ve seen one lizard so far and s/he didn’t look that tasty.


A couple times a day some gorgeous black-and-white, long-tailed, pigeon-sized birds land nearby and poke around for a bit.  I think they are black-billed magpies.    More decorative, IMO, than peacocks and a great deal quieter.  

I understand that peacock recipes were popular in medieval period.  Guessing the birds were desired for their beauty but eventually the incessant screeching became unbearable.  [comparisons to matrimony not intended]

golden eagle

I mentioned obliquely the other day that a Class C was parked nearby for a while.  When the owner first pulled up and mini dachshunds came running out, barking at and swarming Muffin who was sitting calmly on her lead. She dealt with the intrusion in good temper.    I’d seen her react calmly to idiot dogs many times at the dog shelter in ELP where I was volunteering;  it’s one of the reasons I picked her.

The owner came over and apologized, saying she didn’t know any other dogs were here.   Not much of reason to let one’s dogs roam near others, but ok.  I told her it was “no harm, no foul” because Muffin had already eaten breakfast.  She didn’t take the hint or seem aware of the possible danger to her small animals. I am reminded of this snippet of  vandwelling wisdom:

> > "If you can’t recognize danger when you see it, this is not the life for you.” – TrainChaser > >

Later when I hiked to that nearby saddle I saw  a HUGE raptor soaring overhead.  One of the largest birds I’ve ever seen in flight, maybe the largest.  My reading suggests it was a juvenile golden hawk eagle, because of the light patches at the primary feather bases.

On my return  I didn’t go out of my way to tell the owner about the large raptor in the area.  My rationale:

  1. I try to limit my contact with crackheads (real or apparent)

  2. she could have looked up and seen the giant herself – their wingspans run 6 - 7.5’!  If it were any bigger the FAA would require tail numbers and landing lights.  

  3. a person who lets their small dogs run up to an unknown larger dog is unlikely to have qualms about birds.  Reminder:  Muffin’s “I’m paying attention to this situation” expression looks like this.  

  4. I have ever-decreasing interest in saving people from the results of their own poor decisions,  raptor, covid, or otherwise.

  5. “Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig” - Heinlein

  6. the dogs were annoying 

Not saying saying I wanted the eagle to take her yapping, undisciplined hamsters (one in each talon, screaming victory as it powered back into the sky) but I wasn’t going to fight it off with a stick if it descended for a snack.  Circle of life and all that.  Any bird calls I was practicing behind the van were entirely coincidental and, it seems, ineffective.