Wings Over Water

The eagle family I watch swooping ducks on Birch Bay also makes seasonal jaunts to Harrison Lake in British Columbia for fall salmon runs. Sometimes the adults hunt ducks in pairs, one pretending to wander off away from a floating flock, while the other dives in from behind. Occasionally, while the adults keep watch from the top of shoreline pines, the juveniles practice swooping each other, turning their talons toward the other in mock displays later used in rituals, where breeding pairs lock talons in a cartwheeling free-fall they break just before hitting the ground.

Reading about the Bald Eagle on Wikipedia, I note that eagles on nearby San Juan Island consume introduced wild rabbits for as much as 60% of their diet. Weighing about the same as a duck, rabbits can be carried to a nest for distributing to chicks. Anything heavier would have to be dismembered before transport.

Something else I found interesting on Wikipedia is that Golden Eagles, which are rarely seen in this area, are not larger than Bald Eagles. For some reason, I had it in mind that they were.

While on the subject of eagles, residents of the Salish Sea might enjoy visiting the annual Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival held in mid-March at Blaine, Washington. In addition to boat rides, guided field trips and birdwatching on the beach, the Sardis Raptor Center brings an array of live owls, falcons, hawks and eagles to the Blaine Middle School cafeteria, where the public can listen to knowledgeable speakers and see the birds up close.

If you’ve never been before, the show is definitely worth the trip.


Selling Their Soul

Northwest Washington Central Labor Council — the patsies for Peabody Coal’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal  — recently whined about the fact that they wished it wasn’t a notoriously anti-union company they were getting in bed with, but since it might get them a couple hundred jobs at the expense of Coast Salish peoples and the commercial fishing and tourism industries, they are willing to eat crow.

Meanwhile, the Peabody propaganda promulgated by hired PR guns, posing as local citizens, has been exposed in Seattle media as a lame hoax–apparently contrived by coal shipping industry consultants led by their main mouthpiece Craig Cole.

But the most interesting aspect of this colossal fraud by Peabody and Wall Street is the fact that the billions of tons of coal they want to ship across the US and the Pacific Ocean to sell in China doesn’t even belong to Peabody. It belongs to us, the American people. As revealed in a handy video by Greenpeace, the Powder River Basin coal is on public land, and the U.S. Government is giving it away for a dollar a ton to Peabody, so Wall Street can make a bundle while taxpayers get stuck with cleaning up their mess.

And it isn’t like we’re talking about subsidizing something worthwhile; when it comes to Peabody, we’re talking about the company that raped Appalachia and Black Mesa, brutalizing impoverished miners, and forcing Navajos to relocate so Peabody could turn West Virginia and Arizona mountains into toxic waste sites. Now they want us to pay them to do the same in Montana and Wyoming.

Maybe it’s time members of Northwest Washington Central Labor Council get their heads examined. Sucking up to Peabody is selling their soul.

Woefully Unprepared

Geographically, Cascadia corresponds with the Pacific Northwest coastal temperate rainforest, also known as The Lands and Waters of Salmon Nation. Named after the Cascade Range of mountains from British Columbia to California, it is a coastal region noteworthy for its earthquakes and volcanic activity. A region that includes the Skeena, Fraser, Columbia, Coquille and Klamath rivers, Cascadia is presently targeted for a massive energy export assault. From Kitimat, B.C. to Coos Bay, Oregon, the pipelines, rail lines and shipping terminals proposed for exporting Tar Sands crude and Powder River coal would escalate the threat to coastal waters tenfold over the next decade. While accustomed to minor spills of oil and coal in coastal waters, the populations of the Salish Sea in particular are woefully unprepared for an energy invasion of this magnitude.