Eagle Catching Fish At Paris City Lake

Juvenile Bald Eagle Approaching Fish

Juvenile Bald Eagle Flying Off With Fish

Juvenile Bald Eagle With Fish

Juvenile Bald Eagle Looking Toward Me With Fish

These are a few photos I made of a young Bald Eagle catching a fish at the Paris City Lake here in Arkansas. My favorite part is when the Eagle extends its talons to catch the fish. In the last photo it seems he looks my way to see if I caught the action. Thumbs up for a great catch!

To hunt fish, the eagle swoops down over the water and snatches the fish out of the water with its talons. They eat by holding the fish in one claw and tearing the flesh with the other. Eagles have structures on their toes called spicules that allow them to grasp fish. Osprey also have this adaptation. Bald Eagles have powerful talons and have been recorded flying with a 15 pound Mule Deer fawn. This feat is the record for the heaviest load carrying ever verified for a flying bird. It has been estimated that the gripping power (pounds by square inch) of the bald eagle is ten times greater than that of a human. Bald eagles can fly with fish at least equal to their own weight, but if the fish is too heavy to lift, the eagle may be dragged into the water. It may swim to safety, but some eagles drown or succumb to hypothermia. Many sources claim that Bald Eagles, like all large eagles, cannot normally take flight prey more than half of their own weight unless aided by favorable wind conditions. On numerous occasions, when large prey such as mature salmon or geese are attacked, eagles have been seen to make contact and then drag the prey in a strenuously labored, low flight over the water to a bank, where they then finish off and dismember the prey. When food is abundant, an eagle can gorge itself by storing up to 2.2 pounds of food in a pouch in the throat called a crop. Gorging allows the bird to fast for several days if food becomes unavailable. Occasionally, Bald Eagles may hunt cooperatively when confronting prey, especially relatively large prey such as jackrabbits or herons, with one bird distracting potential prey, while the other comes behind it in order to ambush it. While hunting waterfowl, Bald Eagles repeatedly fly at a target and cause it to dive repeatedly, hoping to exhaust the victim so it can be caught. When hunting concentrated prey, a successful catch which often results in the hunting eagle being pursued by other eagles and needing to find an isolated perch for consumption if it is able to carry it away successfully. (Wikipedia)

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2 Comments

  1. Maria Rosa February 13, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Great series of photos. The first one is incredible.

  2. Mia McPherson February 13, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Love this series Steve!

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