(EnviroNews Alaska) – There are still a few places left on our now sadly tattered planet — totally remote and wild — where the nature and wildlife displays are so amazing that we at times prefer not to disclose the location, so as NOT to attract any more humans there.
From deep within the EnviroNews nature and wildlife archives, we bring you an amazing event filmed on the Sony FX1, which represented the very first generation of consumer-pro, high-definition cameras.
This particular region on the Alaskan frontier presents a place where the fish are just so good that it draws to it any and all from a variety of species, turning this place into a truly spectacular yet competitive wildlife party.
Two large Alaskan grizzly bear mamas rearing three cubs each had chosen this well-known spot of “low-hanging fish” to impart a little training to their young cubs. What is unique about this occasion is that we see two bear families both consisting of not two (the common number of grizzly cubs) but three offspring, and one set of cubs is in its second year of rearing, while the other is in its first year.
Both mothers seemed enthusiastic about the low-lying opportunity in this shallow water to involve their little ones in the fishing activities. The older cubs try their utmost to reel something in as they prepare to depart their mother and enter the solitary life offered an adult bear.
As for the younger cubs, although these fuzzy and adorable little creatures seem interested in a catch, they frankly appear more motivated to exploit this bustling scene for the excellent educational opportunities available in the art of horseplay. The art of fishing? … Uhhh, maybe not so much.
As for the dozens of bald eagles and other birds swooping down and dropping in for the festivities, they mostly sit around and wait for the bears to do all the work, scrapping about for scraps each and every time these protective grizzly mothers turn their simply massive heads.
The myriad birds that can be witnessed here in this scene include magpies, ravens, several species of gull and multiple other small birds, but it’s difficult to match the displays of power and awesomeness put forth by this massive congregation of America’s most revered bird, as they squabble over the hard-earned labors of the Alaskan grizzly bear’s work, on a path to sorting out their own internal pecking order.
The big, dark, speckled birds observed here at the amazing wildlife congregation are indeed bald eagles, but they don’t seem very bald, now do they? Well, at least not yet anyway. Just like humans, their baldness will come with age, or in their case, perhaps we should say their white tail and head-feathers of wisdom.
At about age four or five, these large birds — scarcely fledglings now — will develop the white head-feathers customary to the iconic American bald eagle, and they will undoubtedly get their chance to move up in the ranks. The more salt-’n’-peppery the bird, the younger it is. It’s interesting to note that juvenile eagles often exhibit larger feathers and plumage than their mature and white-headed counterparts. This is likely a survival mechanism that makes eaglets and youngsters appear larger in their early years. Unfortunately for the splotchy youths, when it comes to the pecking order and who eats first, under no circumstances do bigger feathers, trump the white feathers of age and experience.
Some of the wise old elders at this eagle-tribe gathering have gotten themselves so loaded up on the greasy goodness at this all-you-can-eat salmon smorgasbord that they can just barely get themselves airborne.
In this rare spectacle, squabbling is at a minimum, due to the sheer volume of coho, king, chum, sockeye, and pink salmon spawning here in this fertile oasis of abundance in the unrelenting yet magnificent Northern wilderness.
But make no mistake about it, when nutrition is not so plentiful and fruitful territory is sparse, it may be debatable as to who is truly the king of the food chain here in the great Alaskan wild.
FILM AND ARTICLE CREDITS
- Emerson Urry - Narrator, Director of Photography, Video Editor, Original Soundtrack, Wildlife Videographer, Sound Editor