Carolina Wild Photo (the blog)

Eagles at Conowingo Dam

by on Nov.14, 2014, under Locations

Bald Eagle with fish

This was my second trip to Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River in Maryland, near the Pennsylvania border. It is a hot spot for photographers and birdwatchers in the late Fall and early Winter. They come to view the Bald Eagles that tend to gather there to fish and fatten up just prior to mating season. Though I’ve been told the Eagles come by the hundreds, I’ve never seen more than a couple dozen of them there at any one time. In fact, you can rest assured there are more photographers there than Eagles most of the time. The thing that draws me is the opportunity to photograph the Eagles as they dive for fish just below the dam. Eagles sitting in a tree just aren’t as interesting to watch as they are when performing their fish-snatching aerial acrobatics.

Bald Eagle with fish

They don’t limit their “snatching” to grabbing fish from the river. They will just as often try snatching fish from each other, which is even more fun to watch. But there was little of that on this particular trip. Though the weather was warmer than expected, the Eagles were few and the light needed for action photography was limited by overcast skies and fog. It wasn’t the best of conditions by any means, but I managed a few fair shots despite the limitations.

Bald Eagle catches fish

The older Eagles become adept at hiding their catch under their flared tail feathers, depending on the size of the fish, of course. Sometimes it’s just too large to hide. They head straight for a perch once they’ve caught one, which seems to be a “home free” card. But until they reach a perch, their catch is fair game for any other Eagle bold enough to try to snatch it away.

Bald Eagle with fish

Bald Eagle with fish

Perhaps next year I’ll return with hopes the weather will be more suitable.


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