I've had a few odd raptor moments in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, I came home from the grocery store I just happened to be facing the right direction and noticed a red-tailed hawk perched high in a neighbor's tree. As I was calculating if I had time to run upstairs and get my scope, I noticed a gray squirrel with trashing tail working its way up to the hawk. The red-tail watched the squirrel with intense interest. Before I knew it, the squirrel charged the red-tail and drove it off! Huh? And then--I saw a gray squirrel do it to a Cooper's hawk outside my living room window this morning! What is going on in my neighborhood? Have the hardened urbanized squirrels declared war on raptors? Crazy.
Speaking of raptors, remember Golden Eagle 42, the eagle my buddy Mark Martell has been tracking as part of the study on golden eagles that winter along the Mississippi in winter? Well, the bird is booking a hasty retreat back to Minnesota. After recovering from a leg hold trap injury at The Raptor Center, the eagle was released last spring. He took his time heading north and arrived to late for breeding. He didn't appear to set up a nesting territory, but rather lived the free wheeling life of a bachelor eagle in Nunuvaat--north of the Arctic Circle. As of September 21, the golden was still in Nunuvaat, Canada hanging around Franklin Lake.
A report came out that the golden eagle was showing a definite movement away from Franklin Lake, covering about 400 miles between October 7 and October 11! According to Mark, the eagle is not retracing his spring path but basically taking a compass heading south.
Here's a copy of the map of Golden Eagle 42's movements sent today! Look at him go. This map shows that between Oct 6 - 15 the golden has traveled 926 miles (1,444.23km) and the last reading had him at 54degrees lat. The distance he covered in any single day varied from 14 (first day) to 170 miles (23 – 274km)! Mark said that if he continues this rate of travel he should be in Minnesota by the beginning of next week--holy cow!
I wonder if he will fly over Hawk Ridge? If you would like to learn more about Golden Eagle 42, check out Audubon Minnesota's website.