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Old 06-06-2015, 06:25 PM   #1
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Eagle Olympics

This appears to be just a photo of an eagle, right? it's not even a very good photo of an eagle doing nothing of any interest. But this eagle did what to us was a very remarkable thing.

While out trolling yesterday we noticed this eagle fly over, circle, and then make a long swoop down to the water, extend his (or her) talons, and grab something from the water. We couldn't tell what it was, only that the eagle was grasping it in one foot as it struggled to fly to shore.

Whatever it was was pretty heavy as the eagle couldn't climb more than a foot or two above the surface. Finally, about halfway to shore, the eagle gave up and landed in the water. We could see its white head above the water as it thrashed about but it appeared that it would soon sink.

We hauled up our trolling gear as fast as we could and started in toward the eagle which was still struggling in the water but seemed to be sinking lower. The plan we put together as we headed in was if the eagle was still afloat when we reached it to scoop it up in our large landing net. While their wingspan is as much as six feet, we knew the body would fit in the net.

No way were we going to bring the bird into the boat as Lord only knows what kind of damage it could do to us and itself as it struggled to free itself from the net and get away from us. So we figured we'd simply support it in the water as the boat continued to shore.

Once there we figured I could get out of the boat and carry the bird to shore at which point I'd put the net down and let the bird free itself.

It was a plan we never had to execute.

As we headed into shore the bird began to "swim" by literally doing the breast stroke with its wings. It wasn't flapping them, but was shouldering them forward and then sweeping them back in the water. We kept heading in but the eagle needed no help from us. As we watched, the bird made it to the shallows and then dragged itself out of the water, still holding the fish in its talons. It stood there for a few minutes as though catching its breath, and then dragged the fish higher on the rocks and started to eat it. About ten minutes later, the eagle took off, circled to gain altitude, and headed off over the forest, apparently none the worse for its Olympic swim team tryout.

I have no idea if this is normal or regular behavior for eagles, but it's the first time we've ever seen one do it.Click image for larger version

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Old 06-06-2015, 06:28 PM   #2
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Must be normal. I've seen the exact same scenario you have described.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:33 PM   #3
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As have I. Pretty neat though, I thought when I saw it a few years back. Regretted not being able to video or photograph it.
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:04 PM   #4
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I too have heard of it but never witnessed it. We in the PNW often take eagle sightings for granted. We often forget that there are many areas of the country that don't get to ever see them.

They're pretty magnificent to watch and listen to.

Thanks for the tale and the photo. Life in the PNW is pretty special.
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:29 PM   #5
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Life in the PNW is pretty special.
Marin is in Canada, so he's actually on BC's south coast
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:16 AM   #6
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Very common way of eagle fishing. We see it close to a dozen times a year.
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:59 AM   #7
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IMO the PNW encompasses just about everything from Oregon up to the northern end of Vancouver Island. I have been watching his posts and knew he was up there somewhere, just not sure exactly where.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:12 PM   #8
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We watched the same thing occur last summer, with a slight twist. Once the eagle had reached the shore with the salmon, it waited about ten minutes or so and then flew away with its catch. So in that case I guess it was more of a problem of not being able to get airborne once in the water rather than the actual weight of the fish?

We cruise BC coastal waters and never consider ourselves to be in the PNW.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:29 PM   #9
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IMO the PNW encompasses just about everything from Oregon up to the northern end of Vancouver Island.
Well, how USA-centric of you
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:10 PM   #10
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Today, they are much more common (almost attaining their peak numbers pre-colonization in North America), and nest in every continental state and province in the United States and Canada.[25]

Bald eagle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fun to watch here even in New Jersey.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:30 PM   #11
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There are numerous "official" definitions of what comprises the PNW. Some include western BC, some don't. Some include Montana.

So it's pretty much up to the individual to decide what it is.

To me, the PNW is Washington, ,Oregon and western Idaho. I view it as a geographical term describing a region of the US: New England, the Midwest, the Southeast, the Southwest, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, etc.

Canada is Canada in my mind. I consider the coast-- islands and mainland-- to be the "BC Coast." There are specific sections like the Sunshine Coast, Desolation Sound, Vancouver Island, and other regions I don't know the accepted names for. On Vancouver Island there is "up-island" and "down-island."

The coast between Campbell River/Powell River and Prince Rupert I call the Raincoast simply because it's a term I read in the famous Raincoast Chronicles series and thought it was a cool and appropriate name. It's not an official term so far as I know, just as the maze of islands, bays, and inlets between Campbell River and Queen Charlotte Strait was known to locals as "The Jungles" during the early to mid 1900s.

So right now my wife and I are fishing along the BC Coast. We are not in the PNW.

But that's just me.....
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:15 PM   #12
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Another way to define the PNW is by similar vegatation. The forest of cedar, hemlock and spruce spans from Northern California to Afognak Island in Alaska. There are some slight variations in this huge forest but the the forest is more consistent then diverse. Perhaps there is a forester among us that maybe able to inform us as to ways the PNW can be defined by vegatation.
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