Bald Eagle Gets an Easy Meal

While photographing birds at Burke Lake Park in Burke, Virginia, a Bald Eagle was treated to a easy dinner when a Great Blue Heron dropped a fish in the middle of the lake. Below is the story told through several images. For more photographs of Bald Eagles and other birds please visit my gallery at There you will find galleries devoted to Birds of Prey, Beautiful Birds, Landscapes, and more.

I was using a Canon 5D MK IV with a Canon 500mm F4 image stabilized lens with a 1:4x extender. I set the camera to AI SERVO, single point focus with four extended points, auto ISO, F8, and shutter speed of 1/2000. I mount the camera and lens on a Movo gimbal head. The gimbal head makes it much easier to smoothly track birds in flight.

The first two images are of the Great Blue Heron carrying and then dropping a large fish in the water.


Capturing birds in flight (BIF) is very difficult but knowing the behavior of the birds helps. I had been watching the eagle where he was perched across the lake. When I saw the Heron drop the fish I knew the eagle was likely to retrieve it. Bald Eagles are opportunistic hunters. This allowed me to anticipate the Eagles flight path and to quickly pre-focus near where the fish was dropped.

The next few images are of the eagle approaching and then grabbing the fish.

The eagle is successful. The next few images are of it flying from surface of water and towards it previous perch.

I hope you enjoyed this series of images. I will post another set of images of an Osprey fishing. Some remarkable difference between these two birds of prey! Hint - Bald Eagles stay above the water!

Thanks. I hope you enjoy!