wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Bald Eagles

45 Comments

I saw an eagle land in a tree below my house, so I went out onto the deck to take its picture.

Then I zoomed in on it and got a close up of it, but had no place to steady the camera and just took my chances.

In a second closeup, I saw that he had his beak open and I could see its tongue, but I see that the photo is quite small on the blog, so if you want to see the eagle’s tongue, you’ll have to click on the photo to make it bigger. Even so, it will be hard to see.

These birds are much bigger than they look. If you had one sitting beside you with its wings spread out, tip to tip those wings could span 8 feet. The bird might weigh about 14 lbs., the size of a small turkey. 

Anyone walking a small dog or worse yet, letting it run around in their backyard in eagle territory, had better watch out for it. They make a nice snack. Although eagles are not water birds, they will do what they have to do to procure food. I have seen an eagle with a loon in its beak, dragging it across the surface of the water as the eagle swims with one wing paddling like a lifeguard saving a drowning person, until it got to shore where it cold devour the bird. I have seen it do the same after swooping down to pick up a coho salmon just below the surface of the water. They are incredibly strong birds.

At this time of year, the herring come close to shore to spawn. This means a bounty of food for the eagles. You can see these birds showing up in the tall trees near the beaches in greater numbers to await the arrival of the herring. 

Eagles are not totally scavengers, but they are like a cleanup crew of a different kind. They are opportunists and will eat what is already dead, but they pick off sick or injured animals, whether they be land- or sea-birds, small mammals, or fish.  A crippled duck won’t suffer long with eagles around.

This is why you will often see eagles high up in a tree. They observe a large area, watching for stragglers in a flock of birds, or any weakness in animals small enough for them to pick up.

 

This raccoon may have been sick, injured, or dead, and became an eagle’s meal.

“Hmm…. There must be a little morsel left.”

 

“He’s messed up my nice white head feathers, but it’s worth it. What’s a bit of blood when you can fill your boots like this?”

“Just a few tidbits left. I hope I can still fly up into that tree with my stomach so full.”

 

Once when I was playing with Ruby, our late springer spaniel (then a small puppy), in the backyard, two eagles had been sitting unnoticed by me, in a nearby fir tree. They swooped down low across the yard, heading for tiny Ruby. I ran for Ruby and spread out my arms to provide an “umbrella” over her, and the eagles lifted up like two jets making an aborted landing. If I hadn’t been out there with her, she would have been eagle food that day.

 

So take care if you live in eagle country and have small dogs or cats. 

 

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

45 thoughts on “Bald Eagles

  1. Wow! These are incredible photographs, Anneli. It’s always a treat to see a bald eagle. Thanks for sharing. By the way, that first photo is stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely story and amazing photos, Anneli!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful pictures, exhilarating story, and valuable tips, Anneli.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your photos are fantastic. Yes, working here in NWT I am aware of what eagles are capable of (and owls and ravens, too).

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  5. Great shots, Anneli. I’m glad you could protect Ruby! 🙂

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    • It was a surprise because I had no idea they were there hidden partway up the fir trees, and then I was even more surprised that they swooped down toward the puppy. I’m glad I could protect her that time and was much more watchful after that.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sure is good to see them around and flourishing! It wasn’t all that long ago when their future seemed very much in doubt.

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  7. Riveting narrative and wonderful photos. A day in our life as part of nature. It doesn’t get better then this.

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  8. What a view, with eagles too! Very nice. I’ve only seen a Bald Eagle once.

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  9. Very good pictures of the eagle! We had a lot of them on our property on the Charlottes. I was going into the yard where the chickens and all the other birds were. I sat on a log and walked up and down and made noises till they gave up on my lifestock. Beautiful birds but not in your yard with small animals.

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  10. Whoa. Eagles are so majestic and they do what they have to do to survive and they’re strong enough to do a lot! Your photos are tremendous.

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  11. You captured great photos! Somehow all seems fair in nature…except for the family pet.

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  12. Ack. Did you take those photos of the eagle munching on a racoon? I feel like I was watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. LOL.

    How scary to have an eagle swoop down by your puppy, Ruby. Glad you were quick on your feet.

    Eagles really are cool though, and at one time, they symbolized the freedom of the U.S. No more freedom for us now. 😕

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  13. Magnificent birds although like many things, challenging neighbours at times. I’ve many happier memories of seeing them in the Tahsis area, and golden eagles too in Saskatchewan. The white-tailed sea eagle (a massive species that primarily eats fish and sea birds) was reintroduced to England a couple of years ago and so far things have gone pretty well.

    Even our eagles were dwarfed by a lammergrier that wandered from the Alps into Derbyshire last summer. Lammergriers are a very strange raptor that mostly eats bones, but with a wingspan of nearly three metres, they’re only just smaller than a Californian condor so you can imagine that caused a bit of a (friendly) stir.

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  14. We have eagles too, Anneli. I wish I could get those fabulous photos of them. I’ve seen them fish, but fortunately haven’t heard of them carrying off small pets. Coyotes are a little more of concern for that where I live. Ah nature. I love it, but caution makes a lot of sense.

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  15. Wow these are fabulous photos. The Eagle needs his food like us . So happy I found your site.

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  16. This is a wonderful celebration of our national bird, Anneli, thanks so much. Such a mighty bird. You did a great job of describing their size and hunting prowess, and I enjoyed the photos and the puppy story too. We are so lucky to have this magnificent bird still on the planet with us, they were nearly extinct in the 1960s. Cheers to eagles!

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    • There are plenty of them around now, A couple of years ago some of them were getting sick and dying on the island here, but I’m not sure what was causing it. Also, it doesn’t help that our Native people use eagle feathers for “ceremonial” purposes. I find that a bit disgusting in this modern age.

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