Osprey & Eagle Interaction

In my previous two posts, I featured photos I’d taken while boating our local waterways off the Chesapeake Bay of Osprey in one and American Bald Eagles in the other.  Both are raptors and are abundant throughout the Bay.  Neither is really an enemy of the other, but they will attack the other to protect their territory rights and local perches, and will even try to steal a fish grasped in the talons of the other.

To get an idea on the size comparison of the Osprey to the Eagle, here’s a chart alongside a male human.  (Sorry for the different language, I had this chart in English but couldn’t locate it.)   Their size in comparison to us humans is really amazing!

Left to Right: Osprey, Human, Eagle

And now their interaction.  It was while we were heading up the top of the narrowing Choptank River, we had rounded a bend and slowed down to enjoy the quiet marsh and wetland scenery, when we heard an Eagle screaming.  And then an Osprey.  To see one or the other is a treat.  To see both at the same time is an even bigger treat, especially when they are interacting.  Or as I like to call it, ‘dog-fighting’.  We saw no reason why they were attacking each other, neither had a fish, and no other birds or nests were in sight; but in the following photos, you can tell that with talons extended, they both were very serious about something!  One must have been in the other’s territory is all we could figure.

I did take these at a distance, so when I cropped to give detail, I lost a lot of quality, but the action is pretty cool!  🙂

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The dog-fighting lasted only a couple minutes and then they took off in opposite directions…..leaving us in awe of the raw action we had just witnessed.  We were in the right place at the right time.  Cool.  🙂

We turned around and headed back down the Choptank River for home.  Instead of rounding the bottom of Tilghman’s Island to reach the Chesapeake Bay, boats can pass through Knapps Narrows that connects the island to the main land.  I enjoy passing through this way and thought I’d share a photo of the Knapps Narrows Bridge, the oldest operating drawbridge in the United States today.  It’s fascinating!

Knapps Narrows Bridge - The Oldest

Knapps Narrows Bridge – The Oldest Operating Drawbridge in the United States today.

I hope you enjoyed the Osprey/Eagle interaction, it’s not something we get to see very often.  Everyone have a super rest of week and thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE:   In case you aren’t a comment reader, I wanted to point out Deb’s/Trek Ohio comment below on some VERY interesting information about eagles & osprey.  Here’s Deb’s comment:

An old news article says that eagles have been decimating the heron population in the state of Washington: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2011454352_eagleheron27m.html

Surprisingly wildlife managers there said if the heron populations continues its abrupt decline due to eagle predation, they were considering introducing ospreys near the heron colonies believing that the osprey would inadvertently protect the herons by protecting their territory from eagles.

Thanks Deb for sharing this!  I found this most interesting and looked into further and found a recent May 2013 article that says the eagles did indeed drive away all the blue heron colonies.  I couldn’t find where they may have attempted to introduce osprey to see if it would help.  I think it would be a phenomenal idea to at least try!  Here’s the article: http://www.kplu.org/post/eagles-return-drive-entire-colony-herons-out-kiwanis-ravine

26 thoughts on “Osprey & Eagle Interaction

  1. You got action from beginning to end, very interesting! I noticed the eagle’s strategy to attack being inverted, tough maneuver to sustain air lift with wings upside down. Nice shots Donna! 🙂

    • Thanks Jerry! I do think the osprey is more of the harrasser just because the osprey doesn’t like any of the larger birds in their territory and therefore puts on a chase. Only if the osprey is closing in on the eagle have I noticed then that the eagle responds/attacks back. Pretty cool to witness, although I hate the thought of my two favorite birds dog-fighting, lol.

  2. Great capture, Donna! Thanks for sharing these shots. The eagle’s talons-up strategy is amazing to see.

  3. What a thrill for y’all to see as it happened! Glad you were able to enjoy the dog fight & get some photos at the same time. After all, you are a multi-tasker deluxe! Thanks for sharing. hugs

    • Thanks Beth! With the area we were in being so quiet, It was also really wild to hear the two going at it, the screams/threats they made at each other. I don’t know if I could say who was the loudest!

  4. An old news article says that eagles have been decimating the heron population in the state of Washington: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2011454352_eagleheron27m.html

    Surprisingly wildlife managers there said if the heron populations continues its abrupt decline due to eagle predation, they were considering introducing ospreys near the heron colonies believing that the osprey would inadvertently protect the herons by protecting their territory from eagles.

  5. That was a very cool series of the eagle and the osprey! I’ve seen that kind of action between two eagles, but never an eagle and an osprey even though there are members of both who fish the river below our house.

    • Thanks Terry, for sure your area eagles & osprey must have scrapped a few times, lol. You may not have seen it yet….but now I know you will be looking for these two to interact; let me know when you do see it, it’s exciting to watch! 🙂

  6. Pingback: My Week, finally, a huge improvement in the weather | Quiet Solo Pursuits

    • Thank you, yes luck being in the right place at the right time! I strive for that luck!! LOL Seriously though, it was intense and fierce, and so neat to see these two large raptors interacting. So glad I got to capturing some photos!

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