On several mornings this week, a majestic bald eagle has perch on a tree just inside The Cove Preserve near the little bridge on Utah Street. It’s probably just a seasonal thing, but it illustrates Crossroads 2017 Educational Theme: “Location, Location, Location.”
We find bald eagles in locations where they are most likely to find food, so a place where fish are plentiful is a good location.
Benjamin Franklin, who championed the turkey to be our National Bird, wrote “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.
“You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”
Franklin was right about eagles stealing from ospreys. And ospreys frequently fish in The Cove, but “bad moral character” and “ lazy”? Maybe pragmatic would be a better description.
We have all seen nature documentaries showing eagles swooping down and effortlessly snatching a fish in its powerful talons. It’s not effortless.. The reality is that eagles miss far more than often than they succeed.
And that may be another reason the eagle is hanging around Big Creek. Fish, exhausted and battered from spawning, are slightly easier to catch than healthy fish, and dead fish are really really easy to catch. Eagles are scavengers. (And when the mallards lose their flight feathers, they’re pretty easy to catch too.
Curiously, the “eagle perch” is directly above the site of one of our archaeological digs—a dig which will be active this week, thanks to a grants from the Ruth and Hartley Barker Memorial Fund,the Clifford and Clara Herlache Heritage Foundation, and the Barb and Mike Madden Foundation of the Door County Community Foundation. This week, sixth grade students from T.J. Walker Middle School and the entire student body of Sunrise School will be involved in this on-going excavation.
Last fall, sixth grade students from T.J. Walker, working under the close supervision of professionals from Midwest Archaeological Consultants, began the study and unearthed artifacts suggesting that during several different periods during the past 3,000 years, native people had lived beside The Cove.
We have yet to find evidence of a permanent settlement, but it is likely that seasonally, like the eagle, native people came to the location, the shore of The Cove when there were lots of fish or when the mallards lost their flight feathers.
The Cove was able to sustain the wildlife and by extension, indigenous people for thousands of years.. And for a long time, our land has been able to sustain us. But people are beginning to question the sustainability of current land use.
On Tuesday, May 15, at 7:00 Crossroads will host the screening of the “Sustainability; A Documentary.” According to the promotional information, This film is “a vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations.
The narrative of the film focuses on Marty Travis, a seventh-generation farmer in central Illinois who watched his land and community fall victim to the pressures of big agribusiness. Determined to create a proud legacy for his son, Marty transforms his profitless wasteland and pioneers the sustainable food movement in Chicago.” The screening is sponsored by Kewanee Cares and is free and open to the public.
Tuesday, May 16
7:00 Screening: Sustainability: A Documentary
Kewanee Cares will sponsor a free screening of this film which explores the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations. Lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.