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Old Sep 10, 2008, 9:11 AM   #11
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Wow cool story and captures.

Buzzsaw the gull died (or was found dead the next day).

Too bad though, if the eagle didn't grabbed his body (as in the last photo) by his talons perhaps the gull might have lived?
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Old Sep 10, 2008, 1:16 PM   #12
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Nice capture!


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Old Sep 10, 2008, 5:36 PM   #13
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An alert catch, nicely documented.

The beauties of nature are all in our minds; the realities can be much more stark. Dan, your experience reminds me of a couple of similar encounters. In one, one of my students videotaped a Jaeger tearing apart a Ring-billed Gull while it was still alive, Gulls are piratical enough theselves that it is hard to feel sorry for one, but it was not at all pleasant to watch, and it took a lot longer, too. Much longer ago (as in your boating experieince, but long before SLRs had advanced beyond anything but Exactas), I was participating in a Christmas bird count on a salt-water lake near the tip of Everglades National Park, when three Black Skimmers flew past us and disappeared around a bend in the shoreline behind us. There was a sound like a gunshot, and two Skimmers came back. Thinking someone was poaching, we spun the canoe around and paddled back around the bend. There floating on the water was the head of the Skimmer, behind which were the two wings and then the tail, all in their proper positions. On the top of a large dead mangrove tree was a Peregrine Falcon eating the body. Peregrines have been clocked as fast as 180 MPH in a power dive, and strike their prey in midair with closed "fists," sometimes literally blowing it apart - it is as clear in my mind today as if it were yesterday - the experience could have been surpassed only by actually seeing it happen (although it may make a better story the way it did).
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Old Sep 10, 2008, 11:31 PM   #14
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Fantastic series Dan!!! And I do mean FANTASTIC!! I'm green with envy! Nothing excites me more when wildlife watching than seeing a real life, and death for that matter, situation where you're seeing in real time an interaction between two competing species. What could be more natural than this? I do feel for the gull, but this is what wildlife is. Great stuff!!...cheers...Don
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Old Sep 10, 2008, 11:50 PM   #15
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Wow, great series!!!! I guess eagles are definitely fish eaters. At least, I've never seen them eat anything but. really great work!!

dennis
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 11:17 AM   #16
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djb wrote:
Quote:
Wow, great series!!!! I guess eagles are definitely fish eaters. At least, I've never seen them eat anything but.* really great work!!
dennis
Young eagles have to learn what is and what is not suitable prey, although all predators are opportunistic to some extent. Both Bald and Golden Eagles are as much scavengers as they are predators, and Bald Eagles are also kleptoparasites. Years ago in Florida (when both birds were still abundant there) I don't think I ever saw an Osprey get to keep its first fish if there was a Bald Eagle anywhere around, and I have seen as many as a dozen Bald Eagles on a cow carcass on the Kissimmee Prairie. It may have been habits like these that led Benjamin Franklin to oppose the Bald Eagle and advocate the Turkey as the national bird!
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 2:39 PM   #17
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Thank you so much for your kind words everyone. I enjoyed the opportunity to share this with you.

This was also educational - as this was my first encounter with a juvenile bald eagle. I subsequently learned that they will take fish and waterfowl just as readilyas scavenged food.As Penlota says about the younger eagles needing to learn what they can and cannot eat, it was obvious to me that this eagle didn't quite seem to know what to do with the gull. Indeed, from the moment of attack until I came close enough to shoot in the tree, about 10 minutes elapsed.During thattime, and while I was shooting - maybe another 5 minutes - the eagle made no attemptto devour the gull, as it hung by its shattered wing. In fact, if I had to include a caption to go with my second photo (above) it would be something like "OK, I've caught this thing, now what doI do?" Thanks again. Cheers, Dan
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 3:12 PM   #18
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Awesome work Dan. What an amazing capture of this exciting event! Thanks for sharing the story with us here. Btw, whatwere you fishing for? Bass?

- Hung
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 3:17 PM   #19
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Thanks Hung... Yes, I only fish for bass, both largemouth and smallmouth - they are wonderful game fish. Regards, Dan
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Old Sep 11, 2008, 4:13 PM   #20
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I enjoyed your posts! thanks for sharing them!
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