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Eagle kills crane at bird festival

May 14, 2009 at 01:38 PM

HOMER, Alaska (AP) - A Homer resident opened her picturesque farm to bird-lovers hoping for a close-up view of sandhill cranes, but was horrified when one of the elegant birds was attacked and killed by a bald eagle.

Mossy Kilcher last week had opened her Seaside Farm for a 7 a.m. breakfast event, “Cranes and Croissants,” part of the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival.

Kilcher, a lifelong Homer resident, has welcomed cranes to her farm overlooking the sea for 30 years. She gives presentations on nesting songbirds and a crane bird tour.

“They come here to photograph the cranes, and several had already arrived,” Kilcher said. “Someone saw the eagle on the crane, blood and feathers everywhere. But it was too late by the time I saw what happened. It was dead, limp and warm.”

Kilcher said many people don’t believe eagles will take an adult crane, which can weigh up to 14 pounds. However, cranes are more vulnerable on the ground, with their slo w takeoff time to get airborne.

“There are more and more cranes every year, and there are also more eagles who harass them,” Kilcher said. “They were dive-bombing, trying to get this one pair, but hadn’t succeeded.”

The attacking eagle was one of two that seem habituated to humans, Kilcher said. Nothing she does intimidates them.

“This pair is particularly aggressive, and they finally got a crane,” she said. “Most (eagles) are shy, but these seem very used to humans. They fly several feet from me, over my head.”

The same pair, she said, likely are the culprits that recently killed chickens and pheasants. To see them dive-bomb cranes was a new level of audacity.

Visitors who arrived for “Cranes and Croissant” didn’t get to see many cranes. They did, however, get a poignant view of the dead crane’s mate circling and calling.

“It took off down East End (Road) and came back a few minutes later,” Kilcher said. “They mate for life, and sometimes they don’t ever mate again. That’s the sad thing about it.”

Kilcher fears the killing will keep cranes from returning in their usual numbers. Since the event, she has not seen many cranes in her fields.

“For the past 30 years, they trusted me to be safe,” she said. “Cranes are intelligent. They don’t return to places, for example, where they’ve been shot at.”

Kilcher said she has counted up to 20 eagles on the beach, playing with shorebirds in what seems a games of “cat and mouse.”

When she was growing up in the same area, she said, eagles didn’t behave that way. Every spring, they took off to remote locations, not sticking around and waiting for an easy meal.

Kilcher said she believes the eagles became an “industry” in Homer when they were fed on the Homer Spit by “eagle lady” Jean Keene, who died in January.

“At this point, the eagles are just unbalanced right now,” she said.

Kilcher reported the incident to the U.S. Fish and Wild life Service. Beyond that, she was not sure what she can do to protect the cranes from predation.

“I really want to have the cranes trust my place and come here,” she said.

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This could very well be the most stupid article I have ever read on PSO! My GOD lets all do something to stop the onslaught of this murderous renegade Bald Eagle!!

Am I missing something? This woman is living in Alaska for crying out loud. My suggestion to her is to get out while she still can!!! LOL!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 02:13 PM

Sorry if this offended you. I just saw humor in the fact that she reported the killing of a sandhill crane by a bald eagle. Actually, the entire story had me in stitches, even though I appreciate cranes. This lady wants a clean, sanitized version of nature that is just not accurate.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 05/14 at 02:26 PM

No I wasn’t offended and I am glad we both read the article the same way. Please go re-read my post with the image of me cracking up while saying what I wrote.

Yes, she wants a “sanitized” version of nature. Yup, nature just don’t play that way.

Thanks for the laughs.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 03:08 PM

Not enough eagles were killed last year due to standing corn.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 04:00 PM

Bald eagles doing what bald eagles do….doesn’t sound like this woman should be living in AK. LOL.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 04:04 PM

I love it!!!! The eagles showed up for cranes and croissants!!! HAHAHAHAHA!! Next thing this lady will be surprised that a brown bear would kill a moose. This lady should hike the back woods carrying a 5 lb roast with her.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 04:28 PM

Thanks everyone for your comments…after having a somewhat bad day at work…I needed a good laugh!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 05:40 PM

Well she IS living in Homer, AK. Homer is the “Greenwich Village/Berkley CA” of AK. But maybe she could take up Timmothy Treadwell’s cause for a bit…LOL

Posted by carpsniper on 05/14 at 07:30 PM

That “standing corn” line makes me laugh every time.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 05/14 at 09:28 PM

There are a ton of eagles in Homer so the women should of know it could happen at any time.  Homer is a awesome place to fish out of.  Hopefully I be back there soon.  Maybe she should buy a few chickens and make sure they are feed well.  I am sure “Flathead” would donate a few.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 10:15 PM

Aren’t you guys glad Ben Franklin lost the argument over which bird to make our national symbol?  May God forever bless the wild turkey.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/15 at 08:03 AM

Wow… every time I think these animal lovers are as dumb as they can get.. they prove me wrong… a dumber one shows up… I enjoyed reading this story… makes me laugh and understand how lucky I am… not being that stupid!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/15 at 03:49 PM

Chuckle…...I just read the article again….I like the part where she said it was too late….it was dead, limp, and warm…...What did she expect, It was gonna get cold ?....Grin~~~~

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/18 at 08:22 PM

Where can I get one of these Killer bald eagles? I have a few pest that need taking care of. Does anyone have their number?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/19 at 06:11 AM

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