Monday, October 6, 2014
Going for the Gold
Here is a series of photos taken in 2010 where an osprey caught a goldfish and a bald eagle chased him all over creation trying to get him to drop it. Eagles do that all the time. Theft isn't one of the eagle's stronger qualities. Now you begin to see why Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey as a symbol rather than the bald eagle.
If an osprey is young and inexperienced, it will get rattled by an eagle chasing it and drop the fish. The eagle will then swoop in and retrieve it - if the fish fell into the water and floated. Sometimes they don't float when they hit the water. I have also seen an eagle retrieve one that fell into high marsh grass.
More experienced osprey know they can elude the eagles without too much trouble until the eagle grows tired of the chase. The one shown here went on for a surprisingly long time. Looking at the time code from the camera, the time between the first and the last frame was exactly three minutes!
While both birds are highly maneuverable in the air, the osprey knows that if the eagle gets to close, it can simply double back and almost instantly get a great deal of separation. Osprey sometime appear to be toying with the eagles and enjoying the chase but, believe me, there is no love lost between the two species.