I know the title says “How To Catch A Bald Eagle” but I’m not physically capturing one, except with a camera.
Because… it is illegal to capture a Bald Eagle with anything else.
Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, it is illegal to do just about anything that involves eagles both dead and alive including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit.
- take – pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb
- offer to sell
- purchase or barter
- export or import
The bald eagle used to be on the endangered species list but thanks to good management and banning of toxic substances they are now delisted as of 2007.
Now that I got that out of the way, here is my experience of capturing an eagle on camera.
It was a fluke actually.
We were out on Lizard Lake doing some early morning fishing.
As we went around the lake we saw a few ducks, a kingfisher calling from a tree and an eagle sitting still on a snag high above the water.
As we trolled around the lake Rob got a nibble on the line, reeled it in and on the end was a nice looking rainbow trout.
It was then we noticed that the eagle had flown down to a lower branch and was looking intently at the boat as only eagles can do.
Its pale yellow eyes were focused on the fish and we realize it wanted breakfast.
Rob said if he threw the fish out as far as he could I could get a picture of it as it dug its talons into the trout.
So… that’s what he did!
Camera at the ready the eagle swooped down, grabbed the trout and was off and all I was left with was a picture of empty water.
He was so quick that he was on his way before the fish even hit the lake.
Not only that but as I had the telephoto lens on the camera I would have only gotten a small potion the bird (like a foot) as he was so close you could feel the air from its wings.
But as luck would have it, he didn’t go far.
Landing on some logs that were half-submerged in the water he proceeded to have his breakfast.
Ripping and gulping with talons and break he made short work of the trout
After which he then proceeded to fly up to a higher perch and sit and preen himself.
It let us get almost underneath it and this is the only time in taking pictures of birds that I’ve had to tell Rob to back away as I was too close to fit the entire bird in.
Not only that but you can see a few scales on its beak from its meal of rainbow trout.
I snapped and snapped (the camera that is) and almost wore out the battery.
Never having been so close to an eagle it was a shot that any photographer would get in line to take.
So, if you are wanting to catch a bald eagle:
- spot a bald eagle (preferable on a body of water)
- catch a fish
- let the eagle see the fish
- move away from the shore so the bird has farther to fly
- focus on the fish
- and I hope you have better results than me
- but if not, follow the eagle and fingers crossed… it lands in the perfect spot to capture it.
It couldn’t be easier (she says with a grin).
If you need help with instructions click here.