Bald Eagles Having Their Day

According to this article, an American bald eagle attacked and brought down a government drone over Lake Michigan.

A squabble in the sky over Lake Michigan left one bald eagle victorious and one government drone mangled and sunken.

Hunter King, a drone pilot at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, was surveying an area of the lake near the state’s Upper Peninsula last month …

“When he looked up, the drone was gone, and an eagle was flying away,” said the department, whose name is abbreviated E.G.L.E.”

The department speculated that the eagle could have attacked because of a territorial dispute, because it was hungry “or maybe it did not like its name being misspelled.”

Bryan Pietsch. “Bald Eagle Sends Government Drone Into Lake Michigan.” New York Times, August 15, 2020

It sounds like this eagle is an ex-commando from the Dutch security firm used to hunt and destroy illegal drones.

The combative aggression of the American bald eagle is in sharp contrast to the Canadian bald eagles frequenting my home on Vancouver Island. Eagles nest near by and most mornings I hear their distinctive cries as they go about their day.

There’s nothing so beautiful as an eagle in flight. With their powerful wing span they can ride the air currents for hours, circling their territory and occasionally swooping down to pluck fish from the waves. Gorgeous. Majestic. Imperial. Which is why it’s a shock to see them pursued and harassed by smaller birds like crows and sea gulls. The issue is that the eagles are huge. The have a hard time dodging or going after the smaller spry birds.

I once watched a young eagle perch morosely on a branch while a family of black crows relentlessly heckled and dive bombed him. He looked miserable. His speckled brown feathers were wet and ruffled. He was a juvenile (his white head hadn’t grown in) and it was clear that he’d already been soaked by an unsuccessful venture in the sea. Too wet to fly away, too big to ward off the birds, he just sat there. I called him Alexander because he was having a horrible, no good, very bad day.

On another windy day, I saw an older mature eagle sitting at the top of a tall pole in the harbor. Solitary and majestic, he surveyed the territory that he considered his own. Even so, he was not having a very good day either. His name was Ozymandias.

Bald Eagle perched on tall wooden pole with backdrop of trees
Ozymandias, King of Birds

Photos taken on Vancouver Island, Canada.


  1. I saw that story about the Michigan eagle. Someone should teach it to attack recreational drones! I like your photos of the Vancouver Island eagle. They’re such majestic birds, but as you say, smaller birds often won’t put up with their incursions. Some fish are like that too, harassing eels and even sharks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought of fish harassing eels and sharks but it makes sense. I heard that theres an emerging market for anti drone security. Not only eagles but robot drones.
      I can imagine the Battlebot type of show we might have 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That could be a good show. The trouble with downing them is that there’s no knowing where they’ll fall or what on. I can see how drones are great for some thing such as research in tricky places, and photographers get some amazing shots with them. It comes down to people using them reasonably and responsibly and I think we all know how that goes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve seen some amazing photography & videos made with drones. Particularly nature with wild landscape & seascape footage. As you say though, potential for crash landing can be so expensive. Last summer, in front of our balcony overlooking a bay area, I watched a drone owner taking videos of the surf. All of a sudden he started jumping up and down and scrambling about the rocks. His drone had dive bombed. For two days he’d come back at different tide times, looking for the thing but never found it. I believe these cameras can cost thousands, so he was quite upset.

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s