bird watching · Pacific Northwest

Eagles, Swans and Ducks in the Distance


Weekend before last, Don and I went to Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve. It’s only about five miles away but we don’t go there often because they don’t allow dogs and Smarty wants to go everywhere with us. Plus, we’ve been there and not seen a single animal, bird or living creature, aside from fishermen on the river. On this particular day, Don saw swans on the pond on his way home from the gym so we decided it might be worth breaking Smarty’s heart to leave him home to go there.

We were not disappointed (although Smarty sure was). There were dozens of swans and hundreds of ducks on the pond. Unfortunately, we went just a little too late and the sun had gone down behind the hill, leaving the pond and a strip of land on the other side in shadows. Add to that my inadequate lens and slow reflexes and I didn’t get any great, or even reasonably good, pictures. But the swans were such a beautiful sight and a couple of eagles showed up to put on an amazing show for us. Even though I grew up on the Skagit River, a favorite place for eagles to winter, I’d never seen eagles hunt like they were hunting this poor little bird that got separated from the others. (I couldn’t tell if it was a duck or a baby swan.) Here are some of the photos I got, in no particular order. (Thumbnails are just too hard to see.) Click on any image to see a larger version.

I can’t remember if the swans are trumpeter swans or tundra swans but they’re much larger than they appear here. Don’s friend ran into a wildlife expert at the preserve and she said the swans can kill a coyote with their wings. Although I don’t like to see any animal die, that would really be something to see!

You may be happy to know that the little duck/swan/whatever it was escaped death by diving under the water every time one of the eagles swooped down for it. 🙂


12 thoughts on “Eagles, Swans and Ducks in the Distance

      1. me too. I almost didn’t read your whole post bc of it! LOL I was thinking “I’m not going to like this one, cuz I’m too sad about the bird” EVEN THOUGH I still liked your pictures. hahaha.

  1. Love the orange/golden glow and the tinge of light blue that you captured in the photos. The mountains are wonderful in the background. It must have been a glorious experience just to be there.

    1. It was a glorious experience to be there! On crisp, sunny days like that, with the snowy mountains in the distance, winter is my favorite season. On days like today, when it’s rainy….not so much. 🙂

    1. I was happy when the eagles gave up. I felt so bad for the little bird and the family of swans that sat helplessly watching. But it sure was an amazing thing to see!

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