Brooks Falls: Bald Eagles

A bald eagle sometimes perched on a tree above Brooks Falls, across the river from the viewing platforms. This was exciting. Before this, we had only seen a few bald eagles at Yellowstone, and those were far away. Bald eagles eat fish, so they’ll perch in a tall tree near water and fish, watching and waiting.

The bald eagle is the USA’s national bird. Eagles look dignified standing or spreading their wings to land on a tree top. All photos in this post can be enlarged by clicking on them.

bald eagle landing
bald eagle landing
eagle landing
eagle landing

But they don’t look so regal when they get their feathers ruffled. 😉

don't get your featthers ruffled
don’t get your feathers ruffled!

To take off, the eagle hops off the treetop, spreads its wings, and descends to build up speed.

eagle taking off
eagle taking off

Eagles snatch pieces of fish from the river and carry it back to the treetop perch.

eagle snatching a salmon head
eagle snatching a salmon head
bald eagle eating a salmon head
bald eagle eating a salmon head

We saw earlier that bears leave most of the salmon. Seagulls eat the salmon scraps. The gulls must feel all the scraps are theirs, because they get upset when eagles take salmon scraps from the river. Below, a gull chases a bald eagle flying away with a salmon scrap.

seagull chasing a bald eagle taking a salmon scrap
seagull chasing a bald eagle taking a salmon scrap

This seagull repeatedly buzzed the eagle, but the eagle remained in its perch above the river.

gull buzzing eagle
gull buzzing eagle

The bald eagle sightings were a wonderful surprise at Brooks Falls and a welcomed change from seeing salmon skinned and eaten alive.

Like many photographers at Brooks Falls, I carried a tripod there and used it with a telephoto lens. On our first day at Brooks Falls, planning to photograph bears, I used an exposure speed of 1/125 second. But this isn’t fast enough to take a sharp photo of a bird in flight. I didn’t realize this until I reviewed the photos the first evening. The next day I used 1/800 or 1/1000 second exposure time, and this was better. The bird-in-flight photos are from the second day.

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charley280

I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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