Bald or Golden Eagle

My guess is that this is a 2nd or 3rd year Bald Eagle.  This was as clear of a photo I could get from the Alsea Bay Bridge this evening.

Eagle on Alsea Bay
Golden or Bald Eagle

The Harbor Seal pupping season brings in the scavengers.

Eagle near Seals, Alsea Bay
Eagles Have Patience

Seals give birth to their pups close to the water, if not IN the water.  I think because it’s easier for Mom to protect the pups from hungry seagulls who are the first to arrive.

Seagulls Hover
Seagulls Hover Around Birthing Seals

As the pup is being born the seagulls are trying to pick off the nutrient-rich placenta; or maybe the lanugo (protective coat which is shed in utero).

Protective Mom
Protective Mom

When another seal hauls out nearby, Mom puts herself between her pup and the other seal.  Looks like she’s laying down the rules.  Once she’s convinced there’s no threat, she moves back to the best position for the pup.  I think the pup is facing her in the photo below.

Harbor Seal Mom and New Pup
Harbor Seal Mom and New Pup

I didn’t see the new pup move.  They are able to swim and open their eyes as soon as they are born so I don’t know if this one is doing too well.  I didn’t even see it nurse.  But then they only nurse for a minute every 3 hours.  They must really suck it down though, they double their body weight in 6 weeks.

Alsea Bay Haulout from the Bridge
Alsea Bay Harbor Seal Haulouts from the Bridge

The seals were split into 2 groups today.  The pup and eagle are in the far group.  I didn’t see any pups in the closer group.  There is another, smaller, group west of the bridge.

People can walk to that haulout so I expect the seals won’t stay there long if people keep bothering them.  Some don’t think they’re bothering the seals by moving slowly and quietly while they try to get as close as they can without a seal moving off.  But all the seals keep an eye on the people, so you know there is some tension.  Tension is not something a mother in labor needs more of.  So please watch from the bridge with your binoculars.

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