|Its on the evening the day before New Year's Eve, the rucksack is packed
and I am ready to go to the eagle cottage.
I have been ill the whole Christmas holidays and spent all my time indoors, so I really enjoy to go outdoors and look for eagles again. Every year when the eagle feeding seasons starts, I have the same ambition to spend much time in the eagle cottage and really check how many eagles there are at my feeding place, but every year it is the same. It is always something coming in between. Children, work, everything that had to be done first and the winter cold of course. This year I had visited the eagle cottage just once before. At eleven o'clock in the evening, I kiss my wife Vanja good night and move away. The temperature is 11 degrees Fahrenheit below cero.
I drive in on the small forest road and park my car on the old timber storing place as usual. It is easy to walk, when the ground is frozen and it is still very little snow. Earlier this winter the brook was overfull and I had to walk to the knees in the water to come to the feeding place. I load the sleigh with two pigs. They weigh about 80 kilos, but the sleigh goes easy on the frozen ground. It is pitch-dark and the head lamp is needed.
It has been very cold for a long time and all the meat is deep frozen. In spit of that, the feeding place is quite empty. I unload the pigs and use the axe to make it easier for the eagles to eat the meat.
Indoors in the little cottage, I unpack my things to make everything ready for the next morning, when the eagles come. Then I pull out my sleeping bag, go to bed and fall asleep. Oh well, the sleep is only so-so. The floor is very hard and I am, maybe, to old for such things.
ravens wake me up just before eight o'clock in the morning. They are always
the first individuals on place and it is not until they have come, that
the eagle will turn up. I make a fire in the stove and not long after the
heat is coming. Then the first eagles have come. It is an adult golden
eagle eating from one of the pigs and an adult white-tailed eagle sitting
in one of the trees we have "planted" close to the feeding place. The golden
eagle eats for almost an hour. During that time, three younger golden
eagles turn up but the old one don't allow them to eat. They are one juvenile eagle (born in 1996), one second winterer and the last one shows up for
just a second and I am not able to clearly identify it. Al the time the
white-tailed eagle is close to the feeding place, but without eating anything.
That is the usual behavior for the white-tailed eagles. They are much less aggressive
than the golden eagles. At nine o'clock, when the old golden
eagle leaves, about 50 ravens enter the pigs. The young golden eagle from
early in the morning eats a little bit and the white-tailed eagle find
a pice of meat and flies up in a tree, where he drops the food. I really mean he, because of the small size, I can se that it is a male eagle. He
is one of the none colored ones. After ten o'clock the ravens decrease
and in the middle of the day, the feeding place is empty.
Instead of looking for birds, I fix some coffee on the stove and pick up my papers and books. When I have had enough of my bird magazines and other "useful" literature, I bring "The Ice House" of Minette Walters instead, a really good book of a really good author. From time to time I look up and check the feeding place. There is no chance at all to miss anything, because the ravens are very noisy.
At two o'clock in the afternoon the white-tailed eagle is back, still very careful and mostly sitting in a tree or walking on the ground in the neighborhood. At tree o'clock, the young golden eagle come and eats for 40 minutes. Finally, when it is almost dark, the whit-tailed eagle eats. Only for a short while, but he eats.
Just before four o'clock, the place is empty and I pack my things and
leave the cottage. The heater has burn the whole day and it is quite warm
and nice indoors.