Eagle Fish ‘N Fly

As soon as I arrived at the marsh area this weekend I spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tall pine tree. I was only watching it for a few minutes when it took off and did a low circle over the marsh and dropped down into the shallow water. It quickly flew up and over the reeds and it was at this point I realized it was carrying a fish which it had just plucked out of the marsh. What made this scene rather interesting was the unusual manner in which the eagle was holding the fish…it had the fish in it’s mouth!!! Normally raptors fly while holding the prey in their feet. This was the first time I had ever seen a bald eagle flying with a fish, even a small one like this, in it’s mouth!  The herons and egrets will carry off fish in their mouths especially if being chased, but an eagle normally will use it’s feet for that purpose.

The eagle returned to the pine tree, flying into the back section of the tree where it consumed it’s snack. After it was finished eating it hopped back out onto some upper branches where it took a good look at me, then continued on surveying it’s domain.

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

Bald Eagle Flying with Fish

94 thoughts on “Eagle Fish ‘N Fly

  1. Absolutely astounding, Phil! Great shots of a rare bird acting in a rare manner. That second to last frame captures his expression as he says, “I suppose you’re gonna blog about this, aren’t you?”. Eagles are all about their dignity – that comment by Angelia about egrets must have HURT!

    • Ha ha! You are right, the poor eagle now has to suffer the indignity of being blogged about along with photographic evidence of him behaving like an egret! Ouch for sure!
      This can’t be good for me, if the eagles and alligators all get together and decide I’m not treating them with proper respect I’m in big trouble. 😯 😀

  2. What a stunning specimen – I have only seen a Bald Eagle once on my Minnesota sojourn many years back and I was well back from him – through in the fish and some set. The feathers and beak combo is really powerful colour.

    • Thanks a million for checking these out Emily and I’m very happy that you like them!
      He is giving me some sort of look, not sure what’s on his mind. Maybe better I don’t know. 🙂

    • I really appreciate your kind words Kate and I’m happy you like these eagle photos. They are among my favorites as well since it’s the first time I got photos of one flying with a fish in it’s mouth.

  3. So I was thinking, yeah, holding a fish in its mouth… whatever… is that really all that unusual… Then a look at the photos of it told me, yes, that’s not how it’s supposed to look! Also, that second to last image? I get that look from my older daughter a LOT.

    • It’s funny too, I took the photos, and I was editing the photos, but it didn’t immediately register that there was something odd and unusual going on here until my wife mentioned it.
      She said…”he has a fish in his mouth”
      I said…”yes he does”
      She says…”but don’t they normally carry fish in their feet?”
      I say…”wow, that’s right, they do! Huh, how about that?!?”

      I’m so used to seeing the herons and egrets fly with fish in their mouths this did not jump out at me as really unusual at first.

      Uh oh, I bet getting that look from your daughter could mean trouble. 😀

  4. Totally awesome pictures. You should come to Unalaska and do our eagles some justice. Having so many of them in our environment has made them common place to me, but seeing your pictures makes me appreciate the beauty.

    • It’s funny I had recently read something about not just the large amount of eagles in the Unalaska area, but how they can be rather nasty at times. Then I saw you recent story which seemed to confirm that. I guess I’m happy seeing one or two glide along the marsh and don’t have to worry so much about one coming at me with those skyhooks at the ready.
      Thanks very much for checking out these photos and commenting, I appreciate it! 🙂

    • I typed “bald eagle flying with a fish in it’s mouth” into google image serach and got pages of bald eagle photos many flying with a fish, but all with the fish in their feet, not a single one with a fish in it’s mouth.
      Thanks for checking these out Molly

  5. I never would have known this was unusual behavior, since I never see eagles. It is true that I’ve never seen an osprey with a fish in its mouth. They always carry them with their feet. What a delight your site is – there’s always something new and interesting to see.

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