Bald Eagle vs Osprey

Tammy Brown
Bald Eagle and Osprey

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

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

The Eagle seemed to attack the Osprey.

The Osprey broke away

The Bald Eagle appeared to be a second year juvenile.

The Eagle positioned 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.

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.

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