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Nature Photography - Done Naturally

Bald Eagle

Photo of the Week (February 28th, 2021)

(archive photos of the week here)

March is about here! March is the first month in South Dakota where you start to believe there may actually be a spring! It's also the month when we start to get some migrants, with waterfowl the main attraction for the month. It won't be long before winter visitors start migrating back to their summer homes.

And, as ice starts to melt across the state, other birds will be on the move. With nearly all non-moving water in the state covered with thick ice during the winter months, the open water below the Missouri River Dams is incredibly attractive to birds, with waterfowl and gulls often found in high numbers. With the waterfowl and gulls, and more importantly, with the access to fresh fish, the areas below the dams are also huge Bald Eagle attractors. If I feel the need to photograph eagles in action, making the 1 1/2 hour drive down to Gavin's Point Dam near Yankton is pretty much a sure thing for finding good numbers of Bald Eagles packed in a small space.

The photo of the week is an adult Bald Eagle, moving in to grab a stunned/dead fish below the dam. What seems to happen is that fish get caught up in the flow from the reservoir above the dam, and come through the dam either stunned or dead. That's the big attractant for the gulls and the eagles. On this day, it looked like there were quite a few small freshwater drum that were being caught, including the breakfast this adult was about to capture.

Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus

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