It was not the aroma of broiling Sock-eye that brought in the eagle; it was a putrefying seal pup carcass. When the eagle yanked it out of the rocks, the flies rose enmasse and so did the stench. It was the kind of rank odor that permeates everything as only particulate oils can do. In a word - YUCKY! Birds do not have olfactory receptors, so it isn't actually the smell that has attracted them (a juvenile just swooped in as I'm writing this), it's sight. The carcass is jammed tightly into the rocks, so wasn't visible until Mom yanked it out last night. I can only guess that it is masses of flies that they can see, which indicates a goodly chunk of something decomposing. I myself follow flies when I want to find a dead animal.
The usual photographs that one sees of eagles are in flight. I've taken more than my fair share of those shots, too. But, I thought I'd give you something a little different - details and repulsive behavior. Aren't those talons out of this world? Somebody needs a manicure! My daughter once had an iguana that was around three and a half feet long. It also had some helacious nails. My daughter painted them hot pink. The iguana did not seem to mind, in fact, it started some courtship behaviors with itself while looking in a mirror shortly afterward.
After Mom worked on the carcass for about an hour, she went to the water and tidied up. She dipped her beak into salt water and drank a few slurps. Then she wiped her beak a couple of times across the grass and sharpened her beak on the rocks before taking off.
I'm sure you're thinking "Wow! What luck to live in a place where that's the dinner theater entertainment!" True enough. But bear in mind, that pile of funky carrion is close enough that it might as well be in my living room and sitting poolside is out for a couple of days.
Scraping her beak to clean it off and sharpen it on the rocks like a giant honing stone