Bald Eagle and Canvasback Drama March 27, 2023

On the way home yesterday, we noticed a Bald Eagle diving at some ducks on a roadside pond. I figured it was going after Coots as I’ve seen this behaviour before. We were surprised to see that is was mainly focused on a male Canvasback. Possibly it couldn’t fly? Maybe the eagle knew something we didn’t? It is a rather large duck to choose to attack. All of the other waterfowl from this pond had taken flight and were circling high overhead. We watched as it dove into the water and the Canvasback didn’t pop up. In this photo, the Bald Eagle is laying on the water’s surface and you can see one of the legs of the Canvasback pointing up behind it.
After at least a minute, it took off empty handed and the Canvasback appeared again. Maybe it couldn’t take off with the weight of the duck? Maybe it didn’t have a good enough grip and the Canvasback wiggled free?
We watched as it made 7 or 8 more attempts at grabbing it. Here it is coming in for another attempt.
Each time the Canvasback would dive when the eagle got close.
Another attempt
And another dive, closer this time.
Some nearby Canadian Geese were having none of it. You can see the ring from the diving Canvasback between them and the eagle. Finally the Bald Eagle flew to the side of the pond and landed on the ground. When we left, the Canvasback was swimming near the Canadian Geese exhausted. Wonder how that ended later in the day? I’ve seen eagles hover over Coots and tire them out to the point where the eagle can just pick them up off the surface. The Canvasback seemed to be in good health but must have been tired out after that ordeal.

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