Bald eagles forage, hunt, and pirate for their food, and the speed of a river’s flow can greatly impact and eagle’s hunting success.
In addition to foraging by pursuing live prey or consuming carrion, bald eagles often pirate food from conspecifics and other raptor species, such as ospreys (Pandion haliaetus). In general, younger and smaller birds choose to hunt instead of pirate. When pirating food, eagles may fly, leap, or walk to snatch the food. When walking, bald eagles are somewhat awkward, rocking their bodies as they move.
When hunting, bald eagles perch and observe before descending on their prey and lifting it from the ground with their talons. Bald eagles do not submerge themselves to obtain prey; instead, they use their strong talons to remove fish near the water surface. The speed of a river flow can greatly impact an eagle’s hunting success.
• Image | ©️ Jerry McFarland, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC 2.0)
• Sources | (Alderfer, 2006; Anthony, Estes, Ricca, Miles, & Forsman, 2008; Brown, 1993; Brown, Stevens, & Yates, 1998; Bryan, Hopkins, Eldridge, Brisbin, & Jagoe, 2005; Buehler, 2020; Burnie & Wilson, 2001; Crossley, 2011; Dickinson, 2017; Hansen, 1986; Harvey, Moriarty, & Salathe, 2012; Kaufman, 2005; Keister, Anthony, & Holbo, 1985; Korhel & Clark, 1981; McCarthy, DeStefano, & Laskowski, 2010; McClelland, et al., 1994; Norman, Breault, & Moul, 1989; Parrish, Marvier, & Paine, 2001; Sibley, 2003; Siciliano Martina, 2013; Stalmaster & Kaiser, 1998; Thompson, Nye, Schmidt, & Garcelon, 2005)