American Bald Eagle Fishing Series

January 04, 2014  •  2 Comments

The ApproachThe ApproachThe next 5 or 6 images are a series of a mature bald eagle fishing. I have seen this 1st hand numerous times but it never gets old and the quest to capture it on camera is always a challenge. I like this particular series because the conditions were nearly perfect. The sun came out and lit the bird nicely giving him a warm color. The sun also created this nice deep blue water, which helps add contrast for the bird. Additionally, the wind was blowing out of the South which gave me this desirable side profile view instead of a backside view of the bird. I would like to capture a bird fishing with the wind out of the Southwest sometime so the bird is flying right at me (maybe another trip). Enjoy, and stay tuned for the next image of the series.

The next 5 images are a series of a mature bald eagle fishing. I have seen this 1st hand numerous times but it never gets old and the quest to capture it on camera is always a challenge. I like this particular series because the conditions were nearly perfect. The sun came out and lit the bird nicely giving him a warm color. The sun also created this nice deep blue water, which helps add contrast for the bird. Additionally, the wind was blowing out of the South which gave me this desirable side profile view instead of a backside view of the bird. I would like to capture a bird fishing with the wind out of the Southwest sometime so the bird is flying right at me (maybe another trip). Enjoy, and stay tuned for the next image of the series.

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The AttackThe AttackThe second image of the series of an Eagle fishing. One of my personal favorite poses of the Bald Eagle. I love seeing the outstretched talons, tail skimming the water, and wings putting on the breaks and yet ready to pull their bodies back into the air. A perfect combination of power and grace. I love the angle of this image as you can see the eagle's eyes steady on the prize and beak slightly open as if he is concentrating.

The second image of the series of an Eagle fishing. One of my personal favorite poses of the Bald Eagle.  I love seeing the outstretched talons, tail skimming the water, and wings putting on the breaks and yet ready to pull their bodies back into the air.  A perfect combination of power and grace.  I love the angle of this image as you can see the eagle's eyes steady on the prize and beak slightly open as if he is concentrating. 

 

The CatchThe CatchThe third image of the series of images of a bald eagle fishing. This is where the eagle plucks his dinner from the water. His amazing vision and coordination pay off for a much-needed winter meal. They do sometimes miss or drop their catch. Other times they birds fight them for it. Just because the bird has it in his talons doesn't mean he is home free. Notice the look on his face...he knows it isn't over yet.

The third image of the series of images of a bald eagle fishing.  This is where the eagle plucks his dinner from the water.  His amazing vision and coordination pay off for a much-needed winter meal.  They do sometimes miss or drop their catch.  Other times they birds fight them for it.  Just because the bird has it in his talons doesn't mean he is home free.  Notice the look on his face...he knows it isn't over yet.


- Lifting Off -- Lifting Off -The fourth image in the series of an eagle fishing. Here you can see the eagle is lifting off again. They have to be careful about what they pick up. Eagles can lift only about 5 lbs. depending on their airspeed. Most of the eagles I see prefer the smaller shad that they can easily eat and then go fish again for another. This particular day was very windy so eagles picking up larger shad struggled a little bit to fly in the wind. Notice the eyes of this eagle...he is simply blinking. Eagles have a transparent nictitating membrane. This allows the eagle to see even while he is blinking. Eagles have 4x better eyesight than humans, meaning they can see an animal moving almost a mile away.

The fourth image in the series of an eagle fishing.  Here you can see the eagle is lifting off again.  They have to be careful about what they pick up.  Eagles can lift only about 5 lbs. depending on their airspeed.  Most of the eagles I see prefer the smaller shad that they can easily eat and then go fish again for another.  This particular day was very windy so eagles picking up larger shad struggled a little bit to fly in the wind.  Notice the eyes of this eagle...he is simply blinking.  Eagles have a transparent nictitating membrane.  This allows the eagle to see even while he is blinking.  Eagles have 4x better eyesight than humans, meaning they can see an animal moving almost a mile away. 

The EscapeThe Escape

The fifth image in the series of a bald eagle fishing.  As I mentioned in an earlier image, the eagle now has to find a place to enjoy his dinner.  Many of them fly to a high tree branch and eat.  Sometimes a floating chunk of ice or a downed tree stump will do.  The challenge though is getting to their spot without being bothered by other eagles.  They are opportunistic birds and have no problem stealing from each other. One of my personal goals is to catch on camera a mid-air battle between two or more of these eagles going for a single fish.  It is awesome!

 

 


Comments

Troy Marcy Photography
Thank you Wilfred, these images were shot at Lock and Dam 14. Most are from last year but I'm editing newer images from a trip on Friday. The weather is looking pretty sketchy this weekend, but I'm hoping to go back again this Jan. at some point. The colder it gets, the more active the Eagles seem to get. Once the river gets more ice on it, the action should get better. Of course the cold conditions make it difficult on us photographers too. Good luck and safe travels. Thank you for commenting on my images.
wilfred smith(non-registered)
first saw you eagle picts on the Canon Forum. If I am correct they were shot at Lock and Dam 14. I am planing a trip there next week. Hope to get a chance to shoot the action as you had today. Beautiful images.
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