Competition is Everywhere

For the most part, my bird photography seems “static” because birds are easer to photograph when they’re undisturbed, sitting in one spot. So, I’m always excited when I can catch them in action, like I did this shot on my second day at Seabeck before the real action had begun. This crow obviously thought this bald eagle was infringing on his territory and would have none of it.

crow harassing Bald Eagle

Here, they seem to be giving each other a piece of their mind, though the squabble didn’t end until the eagle decided it was time to do some harassing of his own.

Although some eagles seem quite adept at catching their own fish, their favorite strategy seems to be to scare a Great Blue Heron into dropping its catch so the eagle can take it. Some herons do just drop their catch and fly off, but others, like this one

Bald Eagle harassing Great Blue Heron

stand their ground, seemingly more than ready to defend their territory.

At times the herons almost seemed to be trying to intimidate the eagles, particularly when they were in groups.

Great Blue Herons stand their ground

Though I doubt the eagles were intimidated, I noticed that they did tend to harass single herons more than groups of herons.

Even the gulls tried to steal fish from the herons,

gull and Great Blue Heron

but it was clear that this heron was not going have its fish stolen by a mere gull, and the gull was more intimidated than the eagles ever were.

It’s easy to forget just how competitive the natural order really is, but a day like this makes it clear that natural competition is fierce even when, or especially when , a food source is plentiful.

6 thoughts on “Competition is Everywhere

  1. Several years ago a couple of sparrows set up a nest in a far corner crevice of our porch, ingeniously out of the way of marauding blue jays, or so we thought. Put all the usual tireless work into it, then produced the eggs and proceeded to tend them for a good week or more. We were anticipating baby birds, but one day came upon the tell-tale carnage, egg pieces and straw scattered across the porch. The nest had been found, and was no more. Nature: red in tooth and claw, to quote Tennyson. Definitely not for sissies…
    I’m liking the spunk of those herons, Loren!

    • I’m so used to see GBH fishing like some Tai Chi Master that I was shocked to see this reaction, Andrew. But I loved their attitude almost as much as I loved that of the crows who weren’t about to be intimidated by a bird that merely outweighed them 5 to 1.

What do you think?