Wednesday, March 4, 2020


What a beautiful day – crystal clear, not a cloud in the sky, cool and breezy. H and I headed north where there was said to be a bald eagle nest along a tributary to the Susquehanna River. Even though we’ve driven along the road paralleling the stream in the past we’d never seen the nest. Voila, there it was near the top of a large black willow growing along the stream –

We stopped for a look and saw, off to the side, an adult bald eagle soaring high over the road –

It was soon joined by another and the two rapidly circled even higher into the blue sky –

Even further away, was an immature bald eagle –

Apparently the two adults were in the process of driving the immature bird from their territory, especially since it was so close to the nest. The three birds rapidly soared out of sight and, as they departed, a pair of common ravens flew in; one of which landed in the nest tree –

We were facing into the sun which made it hard to see what was happening at the nest. Knowing there was a road on the other side of the valley, where the sun would be at our backs, we rapidly headed that way. Unfortunately, a wide bend in the stream without a corresponding curve in the road now put us almost 500 yards from the nest instead of less than 150 yards as we had been.

It quickly became apparent that the raven had gone down to the nest and now had an egg in its beak –
The raven with, its pilfered egg, took flight and disappeared –

In defending their territory the eagles lost an egg, but the raven gained a meal – such is life in the natural world

Several years ago I watched a raven carry off an egg from a mallard’s nest, and the duck eventually lost her entire clutch to the raven which made repeated trips to get duck eggs.

Will that also happen to this pair of bald eagles? Was that the eagles’ only egg, or just one of the two or three they would probably have this year? If there are more eggs in the nest, will the raven return to get them all? Do the ravens, this most intelligent of our birds, watch the nest to see if the eagles have left? If the eagles lose all their eggs will they have more, or is it now late enough in the year that there will be no more eggs until next year?

In any case, watching the raven take the eagles’ egg was a fortunate sighting, getting the photos was a bonus – even if the photos are far from the best.

Note: Some folks may feel compassion toward the eagles that lost an egg. While that egg will not produce an eaglet, the raven gained a meal it needed. Likewise, bald eagles pressure osprey into surrendering fish, and regularly kill other animals for food. The natural world is neither kind nor cruel, it is just the way it is.


Marcia said...

How very sad for the eagles. It's a wonder you were able to capture the thievery from the distance.

The Furry Gnome said...

Yes, sad for the eagles.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, great photos and sighting. I do feel sad for the eagles, maybe one eagle should stay and guard it eggs. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

Elkes Lebensglück said...

Great Photos, that's the natural law!

Anu said...

Interesting post. Great photos.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It's the way of nature but it's still hard to see. We have so many of those big Ravens here in FL and they are always chasing other birds away. Love the Eagles and it's neat to see a Juvenile. What great photos you took!