I hate to bring this up but the national symbol of the United States is getting a little annoying on Whidbey Island.
Twice in the last week the bald birds have interfered with my driving. One was playing daredevil at 5:30 a.m., seeing if I would slow down and perhaps swerve a bit to the right to miss him. It’s as if he knew he had national protection, and he was daring me to damage even a single feather. I chickened out and let the eagle have his way, swerving to the edge of the road so he could have the center line. He may have been looking for fresh road-killed rabbit or raccoon.
More recently two eagles flew low above the road just in front of my car, causing me to quickly slow down as they all but disappeared into the tall grass which started shaking like a Japanese nuclear plant. I can only guess what was in that grass but it had no chance against four killer talons and two sharp beaks. I’m assuming a procession of rabbits soon formed for a Bugs Bunny memorial funeral.
Other times motorists themselves are the problem as they slow, or even stop, to gawk at bald eagles dining on field mice running from a farmer’s tractor, or to watch several eagles try to sit on the same slender branch at the top of a towering tree.
It should be pointed out that we have plenty of eagles and the sight of them should no longer bring traffic to a stop, but people just can’t get over them. We now have so many eagles that crows amuse themselves by pestering them. Not all of them are real, of course. Real estate agents employ a number of life-like, remote-controlled glider eagles. Hesitant homebuyers always fall for the bait when an eagle majestically glides above the “for sale” sign.
A Whidbey Island veterinarian who has saved dozens of eagles during his time euthanized one earlier this month. It was found by a tour boat, floating like a duck with a badly dislocated wing. It’s future as a duck or flightless attraction didn’t look promising so the vet put it out of its misery, resulting in considerable misery for the vet, who only did the right thing. It’s just that people love our eagles and some would prefer to keep them disabled in captivity rather than send them up to the spirit in the sky. If eagles could choose, can anyone doubt they would prefer the latter course?
So let’s not make a federal case about a euthanized eagle. We’ve got plenty of others to entertain and annoy us.