Wed, Oct

Yukon Territory Eagles in Mid-Air Battle Yukon Territory


Conservationist Robert Hancock of the Hancock Wild Life Foundation was on hand with local resident Yong-ai and O.W.L Volunteer Judy Williamson, for release of one of the combatants at Kiwanis Park in Surrey BC.

The happy ending came with a call from Judy Williamson of OWL(Orphaned Wildlife)  with information of the recovery and impending release of the two eagles rescued a week earlier. The first release was at Kiwanis Park in South Surrey and the second to be scheduled a day or so later - in a different location.

Bald Eagles are native residents in the park area, usually perched or nesting at the top of 170 ft cedar trees.  The rest of the time they can be found soaring over the residential community hunting and fishing at Crescent Beach in South Surrey B.C. This peaceful routine sometimes breaks in a struggle rarely viewed and does not always have a happy ending as in this case.

While out walking, South Surrey resident Yong Ai was alerted by a crash and loud commotion presided over by excited crows. On closer examination she was confronted with the “cause and effect” of a territorial battle by two bald eagles and their subsequent crash through the treed canopy of Kiwanis Park in South Surrey B.C.

The birds were locked together by their talons, seemingly oblivious of the other, were dazed as they lay on the arboreal floor unable to loose the hold each had on the other. It was a ultimately a death lock.

Yong Ai jumped into action and placed a call to O.W.L. (Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society) in Delta, B.C. She stayed with theeagle team 104573 birds keeping them company while standing guard against any crows that might try to attack them while they lay helpless. Within the hour, OWL Volunteer Judy Williamson and representatives arrived and the rescue was put in motion. The birds were a bit dazed and one obviously had the “looser look” so routinely the eagles were bundled up in separate cages, to be examined at OWL headquarters, banded and then to be released when ready.

The territorial battles of these regal raptors is sometimes viewed, much like their courtship ritual, in which the male and female lock talons together in mid-air. The birds then pirouette through the air before gracefully soaring apart only to come together again to replay the ritual.  In battle this release sometimes does not happen as raptor claws have an instinctive locking mechanism natural to birds of prey.

"The powerful feet of bald eagles are tipped with sharp, sickle-shaped talons, used to grasp prey — and fight. Bald eagle battle strategy plays out when, they circle each other in the air, swooping higher trying to gain an advantage over their opponent", Judy Williamson said.

"The upper bird zooms down with its talons extended, while the lower bird flips its talons up, like other raptors, eagle feet close through a ratcheting mechanism, which enables them to tightly grasp a struggling snake or rabbit. But once an eagle closes its claws, it can have a hard time opening them — and that is how the eagles can become stuck together, she explained.

"They get excited and scared and their feet start tensing up and they can't release," Then they come crashing down.

Rob Hope (senior raptor rehab specialist at Owl), said "about 600 injured bald eagles are brought to the Owl facility each year, including many that have been hurt in battles over territory. These birds share the spectrum of Bald Eagle posed one last time for his final freedom picture calamities of others that come into conflict with poisons, power lines or the human race. They currently have 40 permanent residents, 80 in rehab and 20 eagles to return shortly".

“Most eagles, while stunned, suffer only minor injuries but others are blinded or develop serious infections from their wounds”, Hope said.happy eagle 104607

Sometimes, the birds do not naturally release and are so focused on their struggle that they don't realise where they have landed; in a tree, parking lot, or residential neighbourhood.

This story ended happily as one "ruffled" Bald Eagle flew to freedom in a nearby tree to pose one last time for the cameras.

These birds and many other animals are followed and studied by the Hancock Foundation and the birds nests can be viewed here on live cameras at Hancock Wildlife


Glen Echo's Spanish Ballroom "dominates the local swing scene." We couldn't agree more. Add the contra scene, the waltz scene, the blues dancing scene .... well, you get the idea, it sets an example to other North American communities to follow. 

Glen Echo Park offers regular social dance events and classes in waltz, swing, contra, salsa, and more. Dances take place in the historic Spanish Ballroom, the Bumper Car Pavilion, and the recently-renovated, climate-controlled Ballroom Back Room. The renovation of the Spanish Ballroom in 2003 brought it back to its original splendor, and it remains the premiere site for dancing in the Washington DC area.

All social dances are open to the public, for all ages, with no prior experience or partner required.Glen Echo Park Balroom All dances offer an introductory lesson before the dance begins and most include live music. Tickets are $5 - $20, depending on the dance, and are sold at the door. Tickets generally cannot be purchased in advance. Alcohol is prohibited on park grounds, and smoking is prohibited in all buildings. Dress is casual, and layers are recommended, because the dance halls (with the exception of the Ballroom Back Room) are neither heated nor air-conditioned. A thousand bodies will do the job.

Social Dance Presenters

Ballroom Dances
• Occasional Sunday afternoon ballroom dances are presented by Mike's Ballroom Blast, featuring live music by Mike Surratt & The ECB.

Balboa Dances
• Once a month Balboa Dance to DJ music presented by American Swing.

Blues Dances
• Weekly Thursday night Blues DJ dances and various special Blues weekends are produced by Capitol Blues Band.

Cajun/Zydeco Dances
• A variety of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday dances with live music are presented by Dancing by the Bayou.

Contra & Square Dance
• Weekly Friday night Contra & Square dances are produced by Friday Night Dancers.
• Weekly Sunday night Contra & Square dances are produced by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington.

Family Dances
• During the summer, a monthly Sunday afternoon Family Dance is produced by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington.

Milonga/Tango Dances
• Weekly Sunday evening Milongas are produced by Tango Brillante DC, usually in the Ballroom Annex, and occasionally in the Spanish Ballroom. Check out Tango Brillante DC on Facebook.

Salsa Dance
• An annual Salsa Showcase and monthly Friday night Salsa DJ dances are produced by High Energy Productions.

Swing Dances
• The following organizations produce Swing dances on Saturday evenings and occasionally on other days and nights:
DC Lindy Exchange
Flying Feet Enterprises
The Jam Cellar
Tom Cunningham Orchestra

Waltz Dances
• Twice a month Sunday afternoon Waltz dances and the Annual Viennese Waltz Ball are produced by Waltz Time.