Friday, October 7, 2011

Bald Eagle Eats Mallard

On 5 October 2011, while birding near Northfield, I discovered a Bald Eagle perched on a muskrat den.  After a few minutes, a flock of American Crows flushed the eagle, which appeared to be carrying either a prey item or perhaps a stick from the den. As I took these photographs, I did not notice the snow-like covering of duck down across the muskrat den.
With a bit of Photoshop work (see below), I discovered the eagle carried an eviscerated Mallard carcass. Bald Eagles are opportunistic foragers, generally preferring fish. When possible, this eagle scavenges or steals prey from other species. It captures its own prey only as a last resort (Buehler 2000).

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