The Harvest

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The eyes go first, and then the belly contents. If bears had harvested these chum salmon, the brains and stomach would have been torn away. But unlike bears, gulls peck rather than bite their carrion.

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Last night’s retreating high tide scattered dead chum salmon all across the Sheep Creek delta. Their eye sockets all empty. Most have beak-sized holes through which a gull has extracted their stomach contents.

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Now the gulls, hundreds, if not thousands of them, wade in the shallows. They scream in each others’ faces and wait for the dying to continue. One immature bald eagle flies off as soon as I turn my camera on him. I understand his nervousness. I can also hear the screams and see the fishes’ hollow eye sockets.

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