Bald Eagles gather below Conowingo Dam in Maryland for good fishing. When the water is flowing, the fish are also pouring over the dam. Some are stunned when they hit the water, and make for easy pickin’s below. The bank on one side of the Susquehanna River is lined with fishermen and photographers.
The rocks on the other side of the river are covered with birds: Bald Eagles, Black Vultures, Double-crested Cormorants, a few Great Blue Herons, and hundreds of gulls. The real show is the eagles, however.
Not all the Bald Eagles are mature with white heads and tails. Some are juveniles and are quite dark with varying amounts of white.
I love to watch the eagle dive feet first, wings outstretched behind in a V, talons extended and grasping for the prey that was spotted from the air!
Bald Eagles are famous for their pirating behavior. For some reason they often prefer to steal fish from successful hunters, than to catch their own. If they pester enough, the successful eagle may drop his fish and the pirate will scoop it up.
This unlucky eagle grabbed a fish, but without a firm hold, the fish is flung back and behind it in the air.
Many of the eagles take their fish up to the tower to devour them. Others take to the trees across the street from the observers. There are usually branches obscuring the view, but the eagle below posed nicely in the open.
Late fall into January is the best time to photograph Bald Eagles at Conowingo. Every day is different, with a feeding frenzy and lots of chases in the air one day, and almost no action the next. Good luck if you go. On a good day, it can be very exciting!