Monday, January 02, 2006

Food fight

Date: Jan. 2
Mileage: 8.7
January mileage: 26.9
Temperature upon departure: 25

Today I did an hour on the trainer and then went out for a punchy but exhilarating 8-mile night ride on the ski trails around my house. I have to admit, I'm going to be a little bummed when winter ends and all the good trail riding around here melts into the sog and bog of summer. I'm going to have to take up sea kayaking because the biking's gonna be bad :-)

Homer's infamous Eagle Lady restarted her annual bald eagle feeding frenzy recently. The population that consisted of a few dozen resident eagles is quickly growing to a few hundred. And while her well-meaning eagle baiting brings amazing photographic opportunities to the masses, I'm a bit torn on the issue of blatantly habituating wild animals. If you leave your garbage out where bears can get to it, you'll be fined - but somehow artificially supporting a nationally protected raptor is legal. The Eagle Lady claims the eagles wouldn't survive without her selfless charity. But they were doing just fine before she moved here - wintering in other places around Alaska, where they could still ride the thermal drafts over coastal mountains and hunt for their food. Now they all congregate in Homer and fight for scraps.

Wildlife officials say Homer's shorebird populations have suffered since the eagles started coming here in droves. My co-worker swears that his little Yorkie puppy was carried away by an eagle. He followed the Yorkie's tracks until they just ended in an untouched field of snow, specked only by a few drops of blood. It seemed as though if his dog was lifted up by the Rapture (or raptor). In the end, eagle baiting just isn't natural. But it's a touchy subject in this town. I'd be interested to hear what nonlocals think about bald eagle baiting.