Monday, January 21, 2008

When a duck isn't a duck...

The eagles are busily adding to their nest and today I noticed one is sitting, tucked down into it. It’s so hard to even see her in there, but I saw her hop in and can identify a few feathers now.
The other day was very exciting…the pair was swooping down on a lone bufflehead as they were 'hunting' him on the lake. That wasn't unusual, but something I hadn't observed before was when one of the eagles landed in the water and stayed there, floating for what seemed like minutes.

Please pardon the focus of the picture, as I took it of the eagles at the far end of the lake. I snapped the photo of one eagle floating on the water while the other is above swooping down for the bufflehead (yes, my favorite little water fowl) should he emerge (he didn't at that point). I hadn't read anywhere that the eagles actually stayed on the water, floating like a duck like this one did, for longer than to grab their prey. When the bufflehead emerged, he was probably 10 feet away from the floating eagle, who then took flight. Eventually things turned out as expected...the thrill of victory (for the eagles) and the agony of defeat (for the bufflehead). Fascinating viewing, and evidence that what looks like a duck isn't always a duck!


  1. A pal of mine once saw two bald eagles fighting each other. They locked talons in mid-air and spiraled into the Puget Sound. He was horrified when he saw one of them drown the other! He took the body to the Fish & Wildlife office, and they told him that eagles sometimes fight to the death, but it's very rare.

  2. I certainly hope that isn't something that happens with 'our' eagles!

  3. Eagles are such a surprise. Once in Kodiak I saw the parent eagle force the juvenile eagle out of the nest. The young one started to fly but quickly fell into the bay and floated. He squawked loudly at his parent and the parent squawked louder. They floated on the water for several minutes having a parent-child learning experience.

  4. Oh my, that is exciting--thanks for sharing that experience. It will be interesting to see if something like that happens with the young ones here.


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