Eagles and hawks are genetically similar but it isn’t too often you see them right next to each other. This past weekend, while taking pictures of a Bald Eagle perched on a power pole in Adams County, Colorado, the eagle was surprisingly joined on its roost by a young Red Tailed Hawk.
I was zoomed in on the eagle and noticed he was focused in on something to his right – he had a look on his face like, “What the heck?” Pulling my eye away from the viewfinder I discover a hawk had joined the eagle on the opposite side of the pole!
The young hawk didn’t seem to think anything of it but the eagle clearly did not appreciate his new roost mate. They sat together for a few minutes before the hawk headed off to hunt a nearby prairie dog colony. It was very cool to see and somewhat amusing.
Scroll below to see more images of the event.
What began as a relatively calm encounter taking pictures of a gorgeous Bald Eagle sitting on a power pole soon turned into a rather dramatic scene as two more eagles appeared and drove off the first.
A friend let me know about a pole sitting eagle in the north Denver area suburbs. I hot tailed it there and took many pictures of the raptor – including some fun ones when a hawk shared the power pole with the eagle for a while.
As I am taking pictures, I notice the eagle is focused on something above. Taking my eye away from the camera and looking north I see two fast moving objects in the sky – more bald eagles!
It soon became clear that these two new arrivals did not appreciate the presence of the first, perhaps because they considered the adjacent prairie dog colonies their home hunting ground.
The aggressor eagles made numerous circles around the first, getting closer with each one. The original eagle was clearly feeling threatened as it began to ‘puff up’ and got very anxious.
The aggressors then took a couple of dives at the pole sitting eagle. They never did make contact but the threat was enough that the sitting eagle flew off with the other two giving chase into the distance and out of sight.
It was an absolutely extraordinary experience with bald eagles passing 20 feet above my head and something I will remember forever. Below are the highlights of what was an action-packed 5 minutes.
These two took up residency in an old hawk’s nest last year and are still hanging around. Here the male was making a little bit of noise this morning in Adams County,Colorado. Remember that I have a 2015 Bald Eagle calendar for sale here. They’d make a great gift for someone on your shopping list. 😉
This past Friday there were hundreds of geese on Lower Derby Lake at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Also there enjoying the beautiful morning were at least 19 bald eagles who were standing on the ice and intermittently going fishing in the parts of the lake that weren’t frozen.
The geese were keeping their distance from the raptors, certainly a smart move. However one of the eagles decided to do a low flyover of the gaggle and that was all it took to send the passive geese fleeing into the air. This images captures the flock as it takes off. Notice the 11 or so bald eagles on the ice as well.
View more pictures from that day at the Arsenal below the image.
Not a great shot as this was taken from a LONG ways away but… Count ’em – 11 bald eagles on one of the lakes at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge this morning. At one point there were 19!
Today’s photo excursion didn’t start out the best as we headed south of Denver looking for golden eagles and found nothing of much interest. On the way back we see two bald eagles circling the South Platte River right by the highway. We took a quick exit, found a place to park and went walking. The pair had landed – not together unfortunately – and the male sat and posed for us for quite a while. Here he looks a bit less than enthused at the intrusion though. 😉
Scroll down below the image for more shots from today including more of the eagle and coots, wood ducks and more.
Out for a drive this morning looking for bald eagles in a spot where a couple had been seen recently. Only found one but it was quite willing to pose while perched on a power pole. Unfortunately I didn’t get any flight shots as when it did take off, it turned around and went away from me.
Scroll down below the image for more photos from the morning drive.
This was actually more of a touch and go as soon after putting its weight on the branch, this bald eagle realized it was too small to support him. Cloudy skies and poor lighting but the action was top notch. A tip from a good friend alerted me to a pair of eagles hanging out near the South Platte River not far from where I live. I hot-tailed it down there with my son and was not disappointed. This one was hanging out with another and after they left, we hiked some more and found another pair. All-in-all a heck of a great day.
Well, technically a bald eagle in snowy weather in Colorado. 😉 Taken this past January during a storm, similar scenes are undoubtedly out there today as the Denver area is experiencing snow and record-setting cold. There aren’t many year-round resident bald eagles in the Centennial State – most migrate here and spend the winter.