It's something most people have never seen and, for those who have, it's uncommon. Yesterday, however, I was treated to another display of a Bald Eagle death spiral. I've witnessed this a few times before but usually in remote inlets up the coast. This time it happened just a mile from my home over the local highway. Here's what the spiral looks like:
I was riding, in trail, with a neighbour. I spotted the pair of eagles around 50 feet up, spiraling in their talon death grip and seemingly out of control. I was sure my friend ahead would hit them one way or another. Instead, when they were about 15 feet above the highway, no more, they disengaged. One eagle appeared to shoot straight back up into a nearby tree. The other kept falling until it was no more than 4-feet off the tarmac as though it had seriously miscalculated. Fortunately it pulled out in time although it was between vehicles.
The incident reminded me that, while we give up a great deal of convenience in leaving the metropolis to live in seaside towns, there are offsets. Watching a grey whale with her calf rolling, churning the sand flats for molluscs, not 80-feet from the water's edge is surreal. The same goes for observing pods of orca transiting your neighbourhood. I can't begin to describe what it feels like to discover, while swimming, you're in the midst of a gaggle of curious sea lions. A few years ago I was awakened by the incredibly loud purring of a cougar in my backyard. Twice I've discovered a sea otter in my driveway, a hundred yards from the ocean. Awesome.
Meanwhile I'll take this opportunity to post a photograph from The Guardian of Orangutan orphans in Borneo: