It’s Fishing Season for Eagles, too

Author: Jessica | 07/13/20

Bald eagles are not the most graceful swimmers. But when a fish catches their attention, they’ll sometimes plunge into the water and snatch it similar to an Osprey. Unlike an Osprey, however, the heavier eagle must swim to shore first before taking flight with its catch.

Dr. Heide Island observed this first hand in Admiralty Bay on June 24 and captured a wonderful series of photographs. Island, who’s been studying North American River Otters on Central Whidbey Island the past two years, also wrote about the eagles’ fishing adventures in her blog.

Island said the eagle swam about 60 meters to shore before taking the fish to a nearby nest next to the Land Trust’s Crockett Lake Preserve. The fish appeared to be a Coho salmon, said Ralph Downes, enforcement officer with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“They are tough birds and can make the swim while dragging lunch for hundreds of yards,” Downes said. “They don’t like it but they can do it for sure.”


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