As noted in the previous entry, I went to Seabeck to see eagles in action, and I had a hard time capturing even a small part of the action the two days I was there. Although there were more than enough fish around for the herons and the eagles, many of the eagles seemed to prefer stealing a salmon from another bird rather than catching their own.
Though that quite often entailed harassing a Great Blue Heron until it dropped its catch, the eagles weren’t at all shy about attempting to steal a fish from another eagle that had caught one. I was a little surprised to see an immature eagle trying to steal an adult’s catch, though.
Sometimes it wasn’t clear whether a bird was trying to intimidate another bird or just get to an exposed fish before another eagle did.
Though it wouldn’t have been surprising to see an eagle startled enough to drop its catch as another eagle came hurtling down upon it,
more often than not it would merely fly away with its catch,
suggesting that most of the eagles had played this game before and weren’t about to be intimidated.
Photographically, though, the most exciting shots came when one eagle tried to steal another eagle’s catch mid-air.
As close as they came to each other, I didn’t see a single collision either day.
Judging how few fish were actually stolen from another eagle, it would seem that it wasn’t hunger that was driving these air battles. In fact, the eagles seemed to enjoy it almost as much as the lines of people stopped beside the road.