Exciting Eagle Activity

It has been enough years observing eagles for me that I don’t get that excited anymore. Yesterday an intruder at one of the nests made for some excitement. One thing that drives my desire to be outdoors is there is always a chance to witness an occurrence that shows unexpected wildlife behavior. The morning as the photos show began calmly and normal. An early morning swap out on the eggs when the pair did nothing at all exciting or unusual. Not even spending any time in the nest. Just one flying in and landing at the nest tree the sitting eagle flying out and the returning eagle flying in to the nest for its turn incubating.

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The normal calm calm morning is about to be changed as the intruder glides in towards the nest. As it turns out it is the same eagle I caught perched by the lake earlier. Note the disturbed feathers on the top of one leg. I had one shot that showed a bit of bare skin at the top of the messed up feathers.

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Notice the fish in lower right side of the photo above. The intruding eagle attempting to steal it out of the nest.

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The eagle on right returning to the nest to knock the intruder out again. Which it did quickly knocking it out of the back side. When I returned for an hour in the afternoon the intruder was still hanging around. Once again the eagle flew out of the nest running the intruder off before returning to sit on the eggs. Which hopefully were not damaged with the fighting in the nest. Also the time when the parent was off the eggs again is a concern. It is not unusual for an intruder to come around the nests and the pair will run them off. This was the first time I have observed an intruder entering the nest with an an eagle sitting on eggs. Another surprising thing was no sign of the eagles mate which normally would have returned to the nesting area when the sitting eagle did all the screeching and chasing the intruder high in the sky?

Finally the eagle settles back down on the nest still keeping an eye on the intruder circling high above.

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What will today bring?

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8 Responses to Exciting Eagle Activity

  1. Larry Patterson says:

    Jim, What A Day!! GREAT SHOTS !

  2. Mary S says:

    What a fight that was! They were not playing. All over a fish? Could the intruder be THAT hungry? Or perhaps might there be a fight over the female whose eggs were in the nest? (OR maybe I’m overthinking the whole thing.)
    What an exciting day for you and the eagles. MCS

    • Jim says:

      Mary S,
      Yes it was quite the fight. There seems to be plenty of food around. There are a couple hundred pelicans at the river nearby, so there must be fish to catch. I have heard that an eagle would rather steal a meal than catch it. I don’ t think it had anything to do with the eagle in the nest being female although the intruder looked like a male. Yep a little excitement for sure…

  3. Nice to have some action once in a while to keep the blood flowing! I wonder if the intruder was starving. That might explain its wanting the fish bad enough to risk being beaten. There seem to be plenty of fish there though.
    That’s a great shot of the grebe!

    • Jim says:

      New Hampshire Gardener,
      I don’t know starving could be a possibility. Yes, there seems to be plenty of fish as there are over 200 pelicans at the river a quarter mile away from the nest…

  4. Sheila Hauck says:

    I am very glad to hear your wife’s knee surgery went well. I do hope she improves with each week. Thanks for all the photos. It must have been very exciting to watch. For me, I would be upset…as I want that pair to have a very successful birth of new eaglets. I sure do hope the eggs are ok. Your photos are amazing as always. I was down there last Friday. Got some great pictures for me. Then went on to Reelfoot. I had never been there. Interesting, I saw 7 or 8 different nests and not one had someone sitting on the nest. That Saturday was full of fog and rain…so I have nice photos of eagles sitting in the fog. Hope to see you soon. Awesome photos.

    • Jim says:

      Sheila Hauck,
      Thank You, will be glad when the swelling goes out of the knee. It looks to me like that would be so painful to walk on and exercise with as the physical therapy does. Reelfoot is a neat place to visit. Fog can add to a morning for sure. Yes, be good to see you again and Thank You for the compliment…

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