Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon

Eagle Attack!

Eagle Attack!

Image of a Great Blue Heron being harassed by an immature Bald Eagle.  Ridgefield NWR, Dec. 11, 2017.  I drove up to this heron about 50 feet away, as it looked like it was just about ready to catch something in the grass.  Sure enough a few seconds later it had nabbed a vole, which was hanging from the end of the bird’s bill, squirming for its life.  The heron was nice enough to walk a few feet out of the grass to give me a clear shot, all while the vole was still trying to get away.  After a few more seconds the heron lost its grip and the vole fell but the bird quickly grabbed it again.  Now, I was witnessing all this through the viewfinder of my camera attached to an effective focal length of 800mm, so I couldn’t see anything outside of what you see in this image. All of a sudden the bird dropped the vole again and its feathers and wings went up, its mouth opened wide and it squawked louder than I have ever heard a heron squawk.  I quickly took my eye away from the viewfinder and saw this huge immature Bald Eagle dive bombing the heron as it flew past my truck from right to left.  The eagle landed on the road about a hundred feet behind me.  It just stood on the road for about five minutes apparently waiting for the bird to re-catch the vole.  Soon the eagle took off and flew right over the heron again, causing the heron to vocalize again.  These dive bombs by the eagle were just above the heron’s head–very close.  In the end, the heron didn’t recover the vole at least as long as I was there.  If I had seen the eagle coming I would have surely tried to get shots of it rather than the heron.  But I want to thank the heron and the eagle for giving me a memorable show!

Canon 7D Mark II, 1/2500, f4, ISO 250, 500mm, 10:36 a.m.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 at 1:46 am and is filed under Herons, Bitterns, Cranes, Pelicans, etc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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