Wild Wednesday 22/52 American Bald Eagles

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last year we had a pair of American Bald Eagles make a nest in a Redwood tree which is located in the front yard of an Elementary School right here in Silicon Valley. It was very exciting news.  We hoped they’d return this year. Not only did they return to their nest they’ve had two chicks!

Myself and several friends had made a couple of trips over to see and photograph them, 2 weeks ago we met there again.  When I pulled up there were many photographers there, and they were quickly changing positions, and pointing up, one friend already there motioned me to hurry.  There was something exciting happening.  I quickly parked, got out of the car then went to get my camera out of the back of my car. The Female was coming in and she had dinner!  I had to act fast she was flying low, fast, and being dogged by crows who squawked at her the whole time.

There was a row of trees blocking my view, so I ducked down, and sans tripod got her in my viewfinder and fired off three rapid shots then I lost her in the trees. Since I was hand-holding my 200-500mm lens  I wobble all over the place and my position of ducking and shooting wasn’t stable. I didn’t have much hope for having a decent shot. My rig weighs just a smidge under 8 pounds (4kg). I’ve never had any arm strength. 😥 Two of the images were nothing but a blurry blob in the frame, but one was worth saving for myself. It’s not print quality, but I thought I show you it anyway because you can tell what birds they are, and what’s happening.

Mama Eagle scored a whole duck for dinner. A whole duck! There were 3 crows dogging her, but I only got one in the frame with her. See the duck?

Milpitas Eagle Famale with Kill and Crow Chaser

Mama stayed near the nest watching the Eaglets eat for sometime, and the Eaglets would pop their heads up from time to time looking for their parents.

American Bald Eagle Chicks

Mama decided it was time for another flight.  I photographed her just as she left the branch she was on.  I love this shot! Her wings are enormous!  I barely fit all of her in my frame.

American Bald Eagle Adult Female

Dad was nearby on a branch higher up keeping watch, but after Mama left and the chicks were fed he thought it was safe for him to come down and clean off his beak.

He cleaned it by rubbing and wiping it on that branch.  Under his back end below the branch is the nest. You can just make out a chick in there.  Dad has lost all his beautiful white tail feathers!  I hope they grow back.

American Bald Eagle Adult Male

We stayed watching and photographing them until sundown when we lost the good light. I have more images I want to share of the adults, but again I’ll wait for a rainy day, by then I may a few of the Chicks as Fledglings.

Pets Update:  I finally took a photo of Box, and someone cough! (Dan) reminded me that I haven’t shared a photo of Diva Dog in sometime.  Imagonna fix that for ya. 🙂 I had Yosemite Sam pop into my head when I heard that last sentence in my head. 😜

Box is still shy:  He loves to hide in the back corners, and he loves his hay bag. I got him at a good time munching on hay.

Box the Guinea Pig


…and for Dan, Diva Dog- Yesterday was in the 80’s and today is supposed to be 89°F.  Early summer?  When it’s hot she likes to lay on the cool wood floor in the entry hall, or on our bathroom floor’s Travertine tiles.  She wouldn’t pose for me. Too hot! I’m sorry you can’t see her cute neckerchief.

Diva Dog Staying Cool

It’s supposed to cool down mid week. I hope you’re not too hot or cold,  and I hope you’re all having a good week, and great day!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…



52 thoughts on “Wild Wednesday 22/52 American Bald Eagles

  1. Wow!! Such great photos, Deborah!! I am amazed that mama Eagle had caught a whole duck! 🦆 I really enjoyed your post, I learn so much from you! 😊👍🦅

  2. I missed this post, Deborah! These are fabulous captures, I love them! I know you’re like me, the Eagle puts us in awe. Hard to be still and focus when you’re so excited and you’re adrenaline is pumping! You did awesome! 🙂

    I’ve watched Eagles chase flocks of ducks, who are frantically trying to stay together in flight and get away (safety in numbers). Fascinating, but I still got pangs of sadness for the little ducks I’ve seen caught, who I were really rooting for to get away.

    1. I know it’s a difficult thing to watch and reconcile because I’m rooting for both the Eagle to get food for itself and chicks, but also want the prey to get away!

      Thank you so much Donna for the lovely comment and visit. I know you know what I was feeling. 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness! A whole duck! That’s quite a story, and great timing on your part! I’m grateful you got the shots you did 🙂
    Diva Dog is totes dorbs. I wish I could see her kerchief, too, lol, that’s about as much ‘dressing up’ as my dog can pull off, so I’m very fond of them. Don’t know why I don’t buy her one for every single day, really.
    Box is adorable, too, course.
    But THE EAGLES! They’re tops! Thanks for sharing them.

    1. Thank you so much Judy! I was nearly an old lady before I saw one in the wild! They’re so beautiful, majestic, and fierce all at the same time. To think Ben Franklin opposed this as our National Bird! I think he was in favor of the Turkey. I like the Eagle.

  4. That’s awesome that you were able to capture one of her with her treasure. I think it’s a great snag. Action shots are so hard. But that one of her flying down! Wow!! And your pets are so adorable!! ❤

    1. I’m so happy that the first image I shot came out well enough for me to keep for myself as a snapshot. It was exciting!

      The pets bring us a lot of joy, although the Guinea Pig wasn’t planned, or something I ever wanted it’s working out, and I am happy he’s here.

  5. What amazing photos that duck looked so heavy, what a drama unfolding for you. Well done to get a shot in the circumstances. Your little dog and Box look so cute

  6. Beautiful photos, Deborah. I was amazed at the whole duck. You never think in terms of birds eating birds. I guess mama doesn’t think crows are good for the kids or those guys would be gone.

  7. A whole duck? I think I saw footage the other day of an eagle (?) who caught a fox who had caught a rabbit. They all went up but after a while the fox managed to wrestle itself loose. Those birds are strong! Wonderful captures Deborah. I would like to advice you not to take your pets in the vincinity of a bald eagle 🙂

    1. Yes, a whole duck! I thought it might weigh too much for her to carry, but she did it.

      I’m amazed the Eagle didn’t break the fox’s neck. That’s usually what they do when they grab them with their powerful talons.

      Very sage advice Peter! I won’t be taking my pets near there. I have wondered if cats or little dogs have gone missing since the Eagles moved into that neighborhood?

  8. Forgot to mention how adorable your guinea pig and Diva Dog are. Thank you for sharing their pics! 🙂 I used to have guinea pigs and really enjoyed them and the companionable little sounds they made. And your beautiful little dog~Aww! It has been pretty hot here too but we are getting a brief reprieve today.

  9. Wow, these shots are amazing! How exciting to be seeing eagles anyway, but to be seeing successful nesting! Very cool.
    Several months ago Pete the Puppy and I were buzzed by a red tailed hawk intent on having him for lunch. (GULP!) He was coming in low, right at us, just like that.

    1. Thank you so much Melissa! It’s so wonderful that Bald Eagles are beginning to make a come back here. Last year they had one chick, and two this year! I hope to get over there this week-end to see if they’re out of the nest and taking short flights.

      OOOOHHHMMMMGGGG! I’m glad the red-tailed Hawk didn’t get Pete the Puppy! Wow, with you with him too! My heart would have nearly stopped.

      1. I just never thought we’d be seeing them again. It is thrilling when nature weaves herself back together when given a chance.

        Ha! Yeah, I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. I think it was the blue leash the hawk saw at the last moment that convinced him not to grab Pete. He swooped up to the top of a very short tree just a few feet away and glowered at me. “Walk away, Pete, let’s waaallk away….”

            1. I thought she looked like a poodle. Pete is 10″ at the shoulder. The breed standard is 12″ so I call him my micro-westie 🙂 When he chases rabbits, I wonder what he’d do if he caught one because they are often bigger than he is!

            2. Diva Dog is a Bichon-poo.

              I saw a wild hare last week while photographing White-tailed Kite Adults and Fledglings that was big as Diva Dog!!
              Diva Dog barks like she’s super brave, but if anything/anyone comes near her she runs to my side. 😂

            3. Aw! Bichon-poo. That sounds like a nice combination. I remember when I was little poodles were a bit too popular and suffered as a result, but I actually seldom see them anymore.

  10. Hi Deborah. Wow! These shots are breathtaking — and your narrative really was exciting. I agree with Dan about the pic you thought wasn’t so clear — it’s marvelous.
    I was surprised about papa eagle’s tail feathers, but I don’t know about birds. Is that a common enough thing? It sounds serious.
    Anyhow thanks for this midweek beauty. Hugs.

    1. I’m so glad you like top image Teagan don’t look too close you can’t see the motion blur. 😥

      Regarding the tail feather of the Male. I don’t know if it’s part of their normal molting process or not? I sure they come back! An Eagle needs a rudder, and they’re gorgeous!

      Hope your week is going swell! Hugs back!

  11. I thought the first photo was pretty amazing …. until I saw the 3rd one!! Did you squeal with joy when you saw what you had captured? I would have! 🙂

    On the other hand … poor duck.

    1. I did! I did a little happy dance and hoped there wasn’t any motion blur to spoil it.

      Thank you so much Joanne!

      I know I said a little prayer of thanks for the duck. Hopefully, that duck made a brood or two of it’s own chicks throughout its life.
      Nature is cruel, and it’s tough to watch sometimes.

  12. The eagles are amazing, Deborah. I love that shot of mom leaving the nest. As for your out-of-focus image, I’d be very happy to get that. The only image I have of our eagles is a very high blur. I can make out that she’s carrying a duck (that is also amazing) and I can almost hear that crow.

    Box is a cutie, for sure. Thank you for sharing a pic, of Diva Dog. I can imagine her wanting to stay cool and not pose. I hope it cools down for her.

    1. Thanks so much Dan! That take off image had me doing my Happy Dance.

      Diva Dog is laying on the bathroom floor tiles as I type this. It’s cooled down today too. Hope Maddie gets out of the dog house tonight. 🐶

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