The eagle is hunting for its breakfast. This is the fourth time in the last two weeks that he's come around looking for an American Coot. Typically when he shows up the coots gather in a tight nervous bunch. The eagle dives over them and most disappear underwater. He's trying to isolate one that often becomes distracted and becomes easy pickings. He can maintain this diving for about 15 minutes and then goes sit in a pine tree, out of sight of the camera. He then comes back and does it again for about 15 minutes. Sometimes he doesn't get one.
This time he probably swooped over the coots about 5 times before he caught a straggler. He can be seen clearly in the eagle's talons in the last image.
The coots are here every year, hundreds of them, and they sometimes stay for a long time. We had about 30 of them two years ago that stayed in a tiny open lake water area in front of our house (ground water kept it warm) while the rest of the lake was frozen. They 'camped' in the snow for about a week and then disappeared.
photos and story by Pete Versteegen
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