As I was rebedding lettuce this afternoon, the crows started squawking and raising a ruckus, a sure sign that an eagle is near. Usually you can tell where the eagle is by following the shifting trajectories of the crows as they fly toward the center of the mob, chasing the eagle around the sky until the bird leaves.

This time, however, the black birds were all streaming toward a nearby tree, clearly visible to me and about 200 feet downhill, placing the crown of the tree at my eye level. Crows were bouncing up and down out of the tree, clearly actually landing in it and not simply pursing their usual boom-and-zoom diving arcs. Puzzled for a moment, I realized that this almost certainly meant that the predator was in the tree.

Pretty much as soon as I figured this out, the massive shape of a bald eagle emerged from the boughs for a moment before returning to them. The bird appeared in no hurry to leave. I started calling for Viv, and she came to join me in watching.

A moment later, the eagle reappeared, flying strongly toward us before turning away to the south, crows in hot pursuit. The chase was lost to sight behind more trees a moment later, but in the second or two the eagle was flying toward us we clearly saw a small crow clasped in the eagle’s claws.