Monday, December 6, 2010

The Crow and Eagle

There is a poignant painting by Georgia O'Keeffe completed after her husband, Alfred Stieglitz died in 1946, of a lone crow flying over a bare landscape, a metaphor of his death and her loneliness or freedom afterwards.  Crows fascinate me, not that that has always been true-they sure seemed more of a pest than anything-loud and obnoxious but so intelligent and social.  They can usually give away a hunters hidden position or lead to a dead carcass.  I've come to respect them-their freedom, playfulness smarts and carefree life.  There was a sick crow hanging around the woods here this fall-I felt bad for "him"...perhaps he had West Nile disease or some other injury that prevented him from flying.  He'd just appear  and I'd see him hopping around for several weeks and never knew what became of him.

I decided to experiment a little after gun season when I moved a found yearling deer carcass to an open spot on a field.  There was good ground cover nearby and thought maybe I'd get some photographs of an eagle, coyote or wolf.  Well, the crow became the number one subject-I should have known.  This first photograph is just crazy with the silhouettes and wing position of the crows-you can almost hear their raucous calls.
In this second image, you can see the nervousness of the crows on the carcass as the eagle has his wings set and gliding in to claim his share of a meal.  In the far north, the wolf and the raven have a relationship-each benefit the other.  Here, I think the crow and the eagle likewise do.  It's common to find one bird or the other locating their next meal, which is grudgingly shared.  The eagle, gets first dibs and takes charge upon arrival though.

Eagles are still not that common around here, and I always appreciate it when I do see one.  For me, it is a good omen.  I marvel at their size and strength and in the image above-the size of their wingspan is amazing.  The lone crow in the distance doesn't stand a chance of feeding anytime soon.

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