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A Swimming Bald Eagle

Publication Information
Journal: 
Florida Field Naturalist
Volume: 
1
Issue: 
1
Year: 
1973
Pages: 
15
AttachmentSize
PDF icon FFN_01-1-p15_EdscornA.pdf50.77 KB

A Swimming Bald Eagle

While on a boat trip from Chokoloskee to Cape Sable on July 18, 1970, with Don Lilley of Macon, Georgia, I saw an adult Bald Eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus) force a low-flying Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) to drop its fish into the sea some 3-5 miles offshore from the mouth of Shark River. The eagle entered the water and floated with wings and tail "spread­eagled" and head held high as it searched in vain for the fish. The furious Osprey hovered just overhead (south Florida Ospreys are especially combative with eagles), but not until I stopped my boat close by did the eagle finally take off--very heavily--and head for the distant shore, with the screaming Osprey bedeviling it all the way. Eagles sometimes briefly dip into the water after fish, but observers with whom I have discussed this have never seen one actually float on the surface. Comment by others with regard to such behavior would be of interest.

John B. Edscorn

Rt. 3, Box 400, Lakeland, Florida 33801.

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