Eagles On Attack:
Along and near the Father of Waters, the mighty river dividing Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Bald Eagle now makes its home in large numbers year around. Some them move south during the winter while new arrivals in large numbers come south from Canada to winter in "tropical" southeastern Minnesota. . Hundreds of bald eagles prefer to overwinter in the Red Wing and Wabasha areas near the Mississippi River, where the current of the inflowing Chippewa River maintains open water throughout the winter.
Recently, friends Gary and Bobbie photographed an unusual sight in the backwaters of the Big River near the Iowa border. Take a look....
At some distance several eagles were chasing an osprey. As I pointed out in a previous post these attacks often involve forcing the osprey to drop its catch .... the fish. Outright thievery as I described it. As the above picture shows, two mature and one immature eagles are involved. A flock of mallards flees the ruckus. According to the photographer the immature eagle actually struck the osprey although the photograph is unclear whether it used its talons.
The second photo shows the osprey clearly escaped to land in a nearby tree. Five eagles landed above on the same tree and several others in adjacent trees. Unfortunately, I can't relate the final outcome of this very rare misadventure as Bobbi had noted a seriously low tire on their car and they had to hurry off to the nearest town for a repair.
Finally, and in the interest of complete disclosure, while my bias in favor of the hard working osprey has no doubt been noted, the better half of the Troutbirder family, Mrs. T. stands firmly next to and behind her favorite raptor, Angel the American Bald Eagle and Ambassador of her species at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota......:)
That is a beautiful spot on the river, we watched for quite a while the day we were there. I wish we had taken the time to stop at the Eagle Center. Lucky you live pretty close by to go often! :)ReplyDelete
I do hope the osprey escaped unscathed. And we certainly do have plenty of bald eagles around these parts, too. They appear in amazing numbers in certain spots. :-)ReplyDelete
Bald eagles are impressive birds when the are just sitting in a tree. we have the odd one that overwinters here.ReplyDelete
Thanks for that info and the stories. Minnesota Public Radio could use someone who can tell a good story, and who has actually been to the edge of the prairie no offense Garrison Keister.ReplyDelete
All seriousness aside though, before this I was Osprey ignorant. I've seen so few bald eagles -- two -- the sight of one is a large thrill for me but you've converted me to an Osprey admirer. The under bird, the proletariat of the prairie, you and he.
The trouble with being a townie is that nature and its occupants are missed. If it wasn't for people like you I would never be able to appreciate life in the wild. I did once see a white eagle when on holiday somewhere abroad. I couldn't miss it since it flew right across the front window of the car I was driving. But I have yet to see an osprey.ReplyDelete
One doesn't realize how big they are in most photos.ReplyDelete
While I admire the Osprey, I do like the majestic look of the American Eagle. Mrs. T looks great in that picture!ReplyDelete
Sounds silly, but that is a huge eagle! We have an osprey that hangs out on the top of the rope swing on our dock in winter. Often he eats his dinner from up there while I'm sitting nearby on the dock. Scales fly down. He doesn't seem to mind me watching him eat. Fun to read your post.ReplyDelete
We have a number of hawks and owls in my neighboorhood which is on the edge of the Sandia Mountains in the foothills People say they have seen a golden eagle flying above Tijeras Canyon which is only mile or two (as the crow flies). Yesterday, I walked out and found a disturbing amount of feathers and wing parts all over my back yard. Suspect a hawk took out one of the White Winged doves that hang out in my backyard waiting for a seed handout. Well, at least it wasn't my cat this time.ReplyDelete
Hi Troutbirder - amazing photo and how lucky your friends were there with camera to hand. Lovely to see Mrs TB and her friend with the eagle ... thanks for this series - cheers HilaryReplyDelete
I've witnessed similar bird fights in Maine with bald eagles stealing an osprey's catch and still I'm in awe when seeing one fly overhead. Great photos!ReplyDelete
What an amazing thing to witness and photograph. I've heard that the Eagles steal but haven't observed it. Smart ducks to get outa town!ReplyDelete
Dear Troutbirder, as I've said in a previous comment, I lived in Stillwater, MN, for 36 years. Traveling up the highway by the St. Croix (I can't remember, but I think it's 95), I frequently saw eagles, especially at the Boom Site. I really didn't know about the ospreys or how to identify them. So I may have seen then and not known. Thanks for these postings; I'm enjoying them. Peace.ReplyDelete
Hello Mr T, An excellent post here. I am curious about that last photo with Mrs T and the person holding the Eagle. It appears that the bird is calm enough to stay still for the photo. I did not realize they could be that willing to be that close to a human. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing! Hope you are have a fine week and your 2018 is getting off to a good start! JohnReplyDelete
Angie is a rescue eagle and can't fly.Delete
She lives and the National Eagle Center and visits elementary schools. That day a volunteer had taken her our for a dip on the shore of the Mississippi. We were picnicking and she was on her way home.
Thanks for the 3-part bird journey. My daughter just told me that they have 3 bald eagles near their house in NY state. When I lived there from 1961 'til 1978 we had none so it's exciting to see they've come back.ReplyDelete
The Bald Eagle's dark side contd:ReplyDelete
This has a link in which just by showing up a bald eagle sends a really big flock of Snow Geese into a dither.
You might also be interested in that article -- the Bosque del Apache wildlife preserve covers a part of the Rio Grande (River Big) that widens out and has big marshes where migrant birds stop.
This might help:Delete
From time to time I see Ospreys and Bald Eagles jousting at a nearby lake. I have never seen the eagle trying to pirate fish, but the two species seem to be trying to establish fishing rights. The Osprey is a little more maneuverable but the eagle wins on brute strength. The battles usually seem to end in a standoff with the two birds perched in different trees, often screaming at each other.ReplyDelete
I've often wondered why bald eagles are called 'bald' as they seem to have as amny feathers on their heads as any bird - except for the buzzard, of course, for cleanliness sake.ReplyDelete
Thanks to your fine series of recent posts I too have become a fan of the intrepid osprey. I hope this one suffered no harm from the encounter.