Bald Eagle’s Unusual Pose

While driving along the auto tour road at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I caught sight of a Bald Eagle perched atop a tree adjacent to the road. I pulled over and, in order to get some photographs, had to open my car door. To stabilize my camera and lens, I positioned a bean bag on the upper portion of the door. From there, I was able to capture several shots, one of which features the eagle reaching far back between its legs.

Bald Eagle Reaching Between Legs
Bald Eagle Reaching Between Legs

Bald Eagle Grooming Facts:

  1. Bald Eagles are known to be very particular about their feathers and spend a significant amount of time grooming them. They use their sharp talons to preen and remove dirt, debris, and parasites from their feathers.
  2. Unlike other birds, Bald Eagles are not waterproof and their feathers can become waterlogged. To combat this, they will spread their wings and allow the sun and wind to dry their feathers, and then use their beak to spread natural oils to make their feathers more waterproof.
  3. Bald Eagles are also known to engage in a behavior called “anting”, where they will pick up ants and rub them into their feathers. It’s believed that the formic acid in the ants helps to repel parasites and other insects that can harm the bird.
  4. During the breeding season, Bald Eagles will engage in mutual grooming with their mate, which is a form of bonding and reinforces their relationship. They will preen each other’s feathers and even feed each other.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: RF 800mm F11 IS STM


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: February 15, 2023 (09:43 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f11 (Fixed)
  • Shutter speed: 1/2000
  • ISO: 1600 (Auto)
  • Exposure Bias – +1/3 EV
  • Focal Length: 800 mm (Fixed)

Here is another unusual photo I took at this refuge of a Bald Eagle: Leucistic Bald Eagle