A crisp cold fall morning had me wishing I brought some hot chocolate in a thermos with me for my morning birdwatching.
The temperature was less than 25 degrees Farenheit. There was a bit of a breeze over the water. I was thankful the sun was out.
I was dressed in my warm long down coat, winter boots, and warm gloves as I peered over the clear blue water.
Searching the over one hundred gulls, I was on the lookout for a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
One minute the group of gulls was swimming peacefully in the deep, calm water of the pond.
The next minute, dozens of birds were aloft in the air, flying in different directions, but not going anywhere.
For many people, seeing gulls in the sky is a sign they are looking for food, often near a beach or picnic area.
That’s not what was happening with the gulls from the pond.
There was another reason they quickly flew up and scattered above the pond, but didn’t travel to another location.
One of my fellow birders turned their binoculars to the sky. I followed their lead, looked upward, and scanned the blue sky and white fluffy clouds with my binoculars.
Far above, a black spot became clearer. A black spot with a white fan tail. A Bald Eagle was circling the pond.
Now I knew what was happening.
Gulls sitting in a pond could mean a quick meal for an eagle. I once saw an eagle swoop down over the Detroit River to quickly nab a mallard and carry it away.
A mass of gulls flying haphazardly over the pond is a good defense against an eagle searching for food.
The eagle stayed high in the sky as it slowly flew over the pond.
Within a few minutes, the gulls returned to the pond.
And I found the Lesser Black-backed Gull in the back section of the group of birds. Success!