From the early morning temperature and clear blue skies, I knew it was going to be a perfect fall day in Tampa Bay.
I got to the trails at Circle B a little after seven and so the sun was fully risen by that time. I was only the third of fourth car in the parking lot, so whatever trail I went on, I knew I was likely to have it mostly to myself. So, I chose the trail that would take me down by Lake Hancock and it was a good choice.
The half mile walk to where you first encountered the lake takes you through some wonderful live oak woods and then the trail suddenly bursts out into the open of tall grasses and interesting plants and bushes.
This time of the morning and with the temperature as it was, it was like stepping into a silver wonderland. Everything was glistening in dew and I was startled at the number of webs that were there, each one laden in dew and not likely to catch anything for their creators until the sun dried things off.
When I got to the little pier part way down the lake, there was a guy there ahead of me and he pointed out what was happening some distance out over the water. Eagles were chasing an Osprey and harassing her until she dropped the fish. He said this was the third one he had seen this morning and while I was there, there was even another one after that.
There was a parent eagle teaching his/her offspring the art of bullying and though it took place about 2,000 feet off shore, I was able to get some sort of pics to share with my big lens. Forgive the quality of those ones, I was just happy to get something.
There is a decent overall selection of shots at the end of the blog … hope you get to enjoy them.
I was rooting for the Ospreys of course, but the eagles were too many, too big, and too fast and the poor little guys had no alternatives but to dump the fish and run for their lives.
The more I watched, the more annoyed I became. In all honesty bullying of any sort is a character flaw in my books, so to witness it being taught like this was upsetting.
I have seen Osprey adults teaching their kids to fish on many occasion and it was been a joy to watch. I can’t understand why eagles feel that teaching their offspring to bully rather than catch their own fish, is something worth teaching.
Of course, here in America I am somewhat in a minority. Much of the culture embraces bullying and often glorifies it. It is why we have to have an armed forces budget larger than the next fifteen countries combined, why we sanction governments in countries that we don’t agree with, and why we support similar regimes in regions like the middle east even though we know they are the aggressors.
Our schools are rife with bullying, our colleges employ hazing, and our businesses use the threat of being fired in order to maximize profits for the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
Our sports such as football and hockey are infused with violence and intimidation and our games identify opponents as the enemy so that we can not just beat them, but destroy and annihilate them. Is it any wonder that high school last week in CA thought it was OK to beat their opponents 106-0 in a football game?
We even elected one of the most pathetic imbeciles to be our president a few years ago. And if you listen to his supporters, they love him because he is a bully. They respond fully to the hate and rage that spits from his dotard mind and they feel right to do so.
These are the folk that identify with Biff in the Back to the Future movies. Do they not realize that he ultimately becomes the joke?
At the end of the day, all bullying fails. Bullies only win for a while and ultimately they get called out for what they are. Therefore it becomes a very short-sighted view on going through life.
Eagles, throughout the world, have rarely thrived. In many ways their success is hampered, but it doesn’t help that they teach their kids to bully rather than to fish.
Osprey, on the other hand thrive.
Perhaps it is apt that America adopted the eagle as its national emblem in 1782. We and they seem to share a common path trough life.
Except for the fact that America enacted protection for the eagle as an endangered species, they would probably be gone by now. And would they be missed?
Perhaps by the nationalists and politicians, but to the rest of us, they would likely just fall into storybooks like unicorns and the dodo bird.
I suspect the natural world wouldn’t miss them to any great degree. Their size and nature allows them to bully and in effect become a parasite on the lives of those that work to catch their own fish.
And therein lies my point. Just as the Osprey have to tolerate the eagles, they would not shed a single tear should they ever fall.
Similarly, those peoples that tolerate the bullying we get away with now … they too will not shed a tear when we fall.
Empires rise and fall over the course of time. History books are littered with peoples that thought their empire would live forever.
The true path to life involves coexisting, not bullying. Accepting that others don’t necessarily see things the same way you do. And finding a way to live in harmony through compromise.
… just a thought.