Bald Eagle vs Osprey

Tammy Brown

In the morning sun, two large black and white birds maneuvered above me.

Juvenile Bald Eagle chasing an Osprey in Bastrop Texas


I thought they were Bald Eagles, then Osprey. Actually, it was one of each.

Bald Eagle chasing Osprey to steal a fish in the sky over Bastrop, Texas.


Bald Eagle attacking Osprey in mid-air to steal a fish in the sky over Bastrop TX

The Eagle seemed to attack the Osprey.

The Osprey broke away

Second Year Juvenile Bald Eagle view of breast and under-wing. Eagle is stealing fish from Osprey in Bastrop TX.

The Bald Eagle appeared to be a second year juvenile.

Second Year Juvenile Bald Eagle view of breast and under-wing. Eagle is stealing fish from Osprey in Bastrop TX. He is positioning himself to catch the falling fish.

The Eagle positioned himself…

Second Year Juvenile Bald Eagle view of breast and under-wing. Eagle is stealing fish from Osprey in Bastrop TX. He is positioning himself to catch the falling fish.

To catch the falling fish.

Second Year Juvenile Bald Eagle view of breast and under-wing. Eagle is stealing fish from Osprey in Bastrop TX. He is positioning himself to catch the falling fish.

Moving in for the mid-air catch.

Did he catch it? I think so. He soared out of sight. A half hour later, I saw the Osprey by the lake, trying again to catch breakfast.

Birding–Outdoor Surprises

What a gift to see this midair drama. I don’t know what the odds are of being in the right place at the right time, camera in hand, and happening to look up and see an event like this, but I know it won’t happen if I’m indoors.

The day before I saw the Eagle and Osprey, I was in an Austin City Park at Mueller with one of my daughters. We were fortunate to get a close up view of a Northern Harrier hunting over pond and field. We traded the binoculars back and forth making notes of all the identifying marks, marveling at his swift flight and almost vertical moves. I shared my hobby of birding with her, and she learned bird identification skills. She also gained a glimpse of what her mom is up to on weekends and why I enjoy birding so much.

Birds are beautiful and fascinating to watch, but you never know exactly what you will see, and the surprises may be thrilling. You could compare it to the rush of gambling. You might spend your day looking for a big event or a rare bird and “dip” on it. (In birder speak, “dipping” means you miss the intended bird altogether.) The difference for me is that there is really no risk; because what’s the downside of going for a walk and enjoying nature?

By the way, the Bald Eagle’s fish stealing is called “kleptoparasitic” and is common for Bald Eagles. Thanks to Dr. Byron Stone for that information and the identification of the Eagle as a second year juvenile.

Some people are surprised to know that we have Bald Eagles in Bastrop TX. Yes we do! You can see them near Lake Bastrop and near the Colorado River.

3 Comments

  1. We just bought a couple acres in Lost Pines and wondered if bald eagles 🦅 were in this area of Bastrop. Your blog and pictures are encouraging. Have you seen any recently in 2020?

    Thank you,
    Tish Holt

    1. Hi Tish,
      Welcome to the area! You are most likely to see Bald Eagles near the river or Lake Bastrop, but their territory is wide. The more time you spend outside, the more likely you are to see all the wildlife of the Lost Pines. I’m sure you will see one! A website called eBird https://ebird.org/map/baleag?neg=true&env.minX=-98.15298828125&env.minY=29.69952912518127&env.maxX=-96.52701171875&env.maxY=30.50385119042553&zh=true&gp=true&ev=Z&mr=1-12&bmo=1&emo=12&yr=cur lists sightings and locations.
      Good luck!
      tammy

      Tammy

Comments welcome!

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