A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) snatches a herring from the waters of a cold Southeast Alaska fjord.
Spring signals the run of great shoals of Pacific herring intent upon spawning in Southeast Alaska waters. Predators such as whales, sea lions and birds including hundreds and even thousands of bald eagles congregate wherever the silvery fish are found in immense numbers. Since spawning activity takes place in relatively shallow waters, when herring swim near the surface alert bald eagles swoop down to grab unsuspecting herring with their talons. Scrappy birds that are often more adept at scavenging than hunting, bald eagles often chase other eagles or gulls that nab a herring, attempting to force the other bird to drop its fishy prize.
Abundant throughout the state of Alaska, the bald eagle population is also growing throughout North America from the US/Mexico border well into northern Canada. In the past hunting decimated the big birds’ numbers. Additionally, pesticides wreaked havoc with bald eagle reproduction, causing their population to plummet. However, the good news is that since hunting eagles was declared illegal and pesticide use was restricted in the early 1970s the birds have rebounded in numbers. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List places bald eagles in the category of Least Concern. Through reintroduction into former habitats and an increasing population bald eagles have a successful tale to tell.
Southeast Alaska, USA
May 3, 2012
Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens, Canon 1.4 extender, 1/1600, f/5.6, Focal length 192mm, ISO 200, tripod
This, That and the Other Thing, May 26, 2012
Live and Let Live, May 27, 2012
America the Beautiful, May 27, 2012
If It Moves, Shoot It, May 28, 2012
The Birds, May 30, 2012
Colourists, June 2, 2012
Eagles and Ospreys Only, June 22, 2012