Opinion: Lucky duck
A mallard duck escapes a bald eagle’s grasp. (Chris Peterson photo)
Editor | November 8, 2023 2:00 AM
So the other day it was pouring rain, so we decided to go for a hike, you know, might as well test out a new coat, which is to say new to me.
It’s one of those coats made in jolly old England and I bought it on eBay from a guy who said it was barely worn. It was way less than what it cost brand new.
The coat arrived and looked OK.
The seller said he’d only worn it a few times, which made me wonder if the few times he wore it he was poking around in a dump, because it was quite rank, kind of like my socks after multi-day hike.
So I got online and they said to spray the lining with alcohol, so I put some cheap vodka we had into a spray bottle and sprayed the heck out of it.
It worked, sort of. I had to spray it quite a few times, but to be honest, good old fashioned sunshine helped a bunch.
It’s one of those waxed cotton coats. The wax wears out eventually and sure enough, this one ended up leaking around the shoulders like a sieve. It’s not too horrible to fix, you just have to re-wax the coat.
At any rate, I was finding out this coat leaked as we walked through the woods in the pouring rain.
We came near a stream and the ducks below were nervous, flying up, circling around and then landing again. I was tucked into the woods, back in the shadows, but with a good view.
I figured someone else was probably just coming up the trail the other direction and had spooked them.
But the ducks’ problem became quickly evident as it swooped down out of a big spruce and onto a hapless mallard. A bald eagle snatched dinner right in front of us. By the time I got the camera out of the chest bag the eagle was half flying, half swimming with the duck through the shallows until it could get to a dead tree on a sandbar.
I figured Daffy was a goner and fully expected to get a photo of a bald eagle tearing the head off a duck.
But the duck managed to squirm away and the eagle couldn’t regain its grip. The eagle landed back in a tree and then left entirely. Daffy swam around in circles. I suspect the duck had a couple of holes in it, but for the moment, it seemed no worse for the wear as the eagle flew downstream.
Still, I suspect the drama wasn’t over. The duck may have had some mortal puncture wounds unseen under its feathers or broken bones.
The eagle would most assuredly be back. If not before it got truly dark, most assuredly the next morning.
But it was tough to tell. The duck looked fine and its brethren went on as if nothing had happened, feeding merrily as the rain pelted down, letting out an occasional and dare I say happy, quack.
Their coats don’t leak.