For a Real Twitter

photo by Josh ScholtenAs I headed out to do farm chores this morning, I heard unusually loud bird vocalizations from the woods near the barnyard.  They were distinct twitters and trills–friendly and engaging sounds being answered between the woods and our lone fir up on our hill.  I stopped a moment to look and saw two mature bald eagles with at least one younger eagle swooping back and forth over a few hundred yards between various perches, clearly enjoying a winter morning together.  Their sounds were very much like what you can hear clearly on this video from the Eagles of Hornby Island webcam video starting around the 2 minute mark.

Eagle Vocalizations (Doug Carrick webcam from Hornby Island eagle nest)

These were happy family sounds; there was an intimacy and comfort in their back and forth that made me assume I was probably seeing and hearing a conversation between a mated pair and their grown offspring.  I’m more used to hearing the raptor screech of the local hawks and eagles as they threaten others in their territory or they announce a kill but this truly was a delicate and melodic twitter one would expect from a much smaller (and less intimidating) bird throat.

I’m rather relieved to know the bold bald eagle has a softer side–almost canary-like–when they are together as a family.  All that talon action, screeching, ripping and shredding of prey can get a bit overdone.  Instead, an eagle can use Twitter to communicate the important things without ever needing a keyboard.

I’m grateful all I have to do is step outside my back door to get the latest Tweet.

photo by Josh Scholten