——by Special Correspondent Jollie Thresher
In response to a recent article in The Fort Collins Coloradoan noting a marked increase in the local bald eagle population, The Focopolitan Tribune consulted several experts as to why this phenomenon might be happening. The Wildlife Biology Department at CSU had no firm answer, “Probably people are leaving their trash cans uncovered, and they smell food. Then they come knock ‘em over and—uh, whoops, that’s the bears. Try the guys in Avian Science.”
Dissatisfied, I travelled to the remote corners of Larimer County, to consult with Yawning Coyote Pratt, who has been working with a colleague, the noted Native American shaman and animal whisperer Swelling Milk, there to help him with the bison crisis reported in an earlier issue. Ms. Milk’s highly specialized work includes not only talking to various species of animals and birds, but mediating when conflicting human / animal issues arise. “She’s the best,” Yawning Coyote assured. “She got those bison together and explained there’s just too goddamn many of ‘em up here now at Soapstone Prairie. Convinced a lot of ‘em to head on up to Wyoming. Man, saved me hours with the bow and arrow!”
Incredulous, I asked Swelling Milk to explain her technique before we touched on the subject of bald eagles.
“I don’t do domestic animals,” was her first comment. “They actually communicate better with humans, having lost their wild vocabulary. They say the dumbest stuff, like ‘Ruining carpets rocks!’ or they want to gossip about their owners’ secretly drinking or jerking off. Or worse yet, ‘Polly. Wants. A. Cracker!’ Ugh. No, I deal only with wild species.”
As to why the bald eagles are settling in Fort Collins, Swelling Milk had the following to say. “Very simple,” she said. “The word is out in the eagle community. Fort Collins is an accepting town. For a long time it was all about the Canada geese, but not any more. Here prairie dogs feel at home, squirrels, iguanas, you name it. Here there is far more species inclusiveness than most places. The conservationists want to take credit, but it’s more about the progressive atmosphere of the town. Plus, the eagles read the signs.” I assumed Swelling Milk was referring to some eagle type of inner ‘spirituality’, but no. “The signs, of course, those signs all over Fort Collins,” she said. “Eagles can read eagle alphabet. One of the languages on those signs that say WE ARE FORT COLLINS is very close to eagle scratches. They saw it and decided, why not?”