Don’t Dive in Shallow Water

Being in the right place at the right time to witness a wildlife drama is always exciting. To witness something unexpectedly out of the ordinary adds another dimension to the experience. With the rise in Pennsylvania’s bald eagle population over the past ten years, seeing a bald eagle is not as rare as it used to be. Here at Montour Preserve’s Lake Chillisquaque, bald eagle sightings have become more frequent through the years. Seeing a bald eagle circling over the lake is not that unusual anymore. Watching an eagle swoop down to snatch a fish is a thrill. But yesterday morning brought something different.

When I arrived at Goose Cove Overlook, I could see an adult bald eagle circling and diving toward something about fifty feet from shore. As the eagle began its dive, there was a splash on the surface of the lake followed by a set of ripples. The eagle broke off its dive just above the water, circled around and the whole thing was repeated again. Although I did not get a close look at the object of the eagle’s hunt, I could tell it was a small diving bird, possible a grebe or coot. The eagle continued to dive toward the bird and it, in turn, continued to disappear underwater just before the eagle would have struck. Again and again the eagle dove, driving the bird into shallower water until the diver could not go under to escape. The eagle splashed down, talons clutching its intended prey. Using its long wings, the eagle “rowed” closer to shore, then took off with its prey for a morning meal.

1 Comment

  1. October 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    No kidding! Really appreciate all the good work you’re doing. Keep it up.

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