Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Leuco and I
Leuco and I were in between presentations at the Kantishna Road House. He likes to sit outside as much as possible so I always travel with his outside perch. I decided to set his perch up by the stream that runs along side the lodge. I had hopes that he would bath in the water. I sat on a rock carving on a piece of cottonwood bark watching the big bird and answering questions while keeping the Japanese tourists at bay. They really were quite excited to see the immature eagle. He did not seem to mind the attention, especially when one of the guides decided to catch a grayling in the stream for him. Clifford even took great care to keep it alive until he could give it to Leuco. Leuco was excited and promptly killed the fish and devoured the front half of the fish. Because the tail end of the fish was full of sand at this point, he walked over to the stream and washed the sand from the fish before finishing his meal.
You will note that he is not attached to his perch at this point. He tried to get as far away from us as possible; in doing so he was at the end of his leash and could not grasp the fish with his talons. I disconnected his leash from the perch and walked him up stream until he reached a point where he was comfortable with the distance between himself and the tourists. He than ate his fish. The attached photo shows him coming up to me after finishing the fish. I am convinced he thought I would pull another fish from my pocket as he watched me intently. He quickly settled on sitting next to me, playing with pebbles and splashing about in the shallow stream.
This was a great experience for me as well as the guests at the lodge. I did another presentation yesterday at the Eagle River Camp Ground. The people on the bus were on their way to Kantishna and were delighted to hear the stories of our experiences there earlier this month. Their guide, also from Kantishna, had already heard the story of Clifford catching a fish for Leuco but was disappointed when he found out I left the day before he arrived at the road house. He was glad to finally meet the famous bird. From an e-mail by Gloria Beckman.
Posted by Dave @ Around Alaska on Tuesday, August 24, 2004