This time of year is great for observing the wildlife of our Valley from our kitchen window. The hawks and falcons are a common sight, roosting in the trees on the berm as they survey the area for squirrels, rabbits and other small game. We have watched a family of coyotes - one of the adults has only three feet - as they hunt for rabbits and hide in the sagebrush to enjoy their meal. Through the binoculars you can see where she (since this one is the smaller of the two, I am assuming it is the female) most likely chewed her foot off to get it out of a trap earlier in her life.
The variety of birds that come to feast on the seeds and treats in the feeders are always amazing, but this past Monday we had a very special treat. A full-grown bald eagle landed in a tree just beyond the fence. I figure it must have been checking out the local fields getting ready for its winter dietary smorgasbord of afterbirths from the newborn calves this time of year.
Some of the eagles come from hundreds of miles away before returning to the lakes and rivers for their usual diet of fish. We are quite fortunate to have them in the Valley while we still have cattle ranches to draw them. If you notice several cars pulled over on the side of the road on Highway 395, there are probably some bald eagles in the fields. They are magnificent to watch and to observe how the other birds wait their turn to eat. The eagles dwarf the hawks and a magpie appears tiny next to the 3-foot-tall raptor. Their wingspan can reach 7 1/2 feet and it is quite amazing to watch them effortlessly glide over a field and off to the mountains.
The Carson Valley Visitors Authority schedules an Eagles and Agriculture Tour each February to allow people to be able to see these awesome birds. You are able to go onto some of the local ranches and get very close to the eagles and other birds of prey that may be in the area. The tours usually sell out so if you would like to be a part of one, you can contact the visitors authority at 782-8144 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The money collected helps to support local agriculture and other preservation causes.
Have a ramblin' good week.
-- To reach Gail Davis, e-mail RuhenstrothRamblings@yahoo.com or call 265-1947.