Squaw Creek Bald Eagles (16 December 2013)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *

About This Shoot
Date: 16 December 2013
Location: Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Shoot Type: Wildlife
This was my one dedicated day to spend at Squaw Creek on my last of three days in Kansas City. This was a great shoot, as I managed to photograph a number of Bald Eagles, including a couple of Eagle attacks on Mallards.

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16 December 2013

Squaw Creek Bald Eagles

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 16:49:12 -0600
Bald Eagle vs. Mallard drama on the ice at Squaw Creek NWR (21 images)
The following is a 21-image sequence of a Bald Eagle attack on a Mallard hen over the span of under two minutes. There were actually two Mallards that were attacked in the overall kill. This sequence of of images shows the attack of the Mallard hen. There were multiple times the Mallard escaped the talons of one of the immature Bald Eagles, but unfortunately (for the Mallard), the escape was short-lived and would eventually suffer the ultimate fate. This is the sort of action that plays out multiple times every day on the ice in the dead of winter across many mostly frozen lakes across northern Kansas and Missouri where a lot of waterfowl decide to overwinter (especially Snow Goose, Canada/Cackling Goose, and Mallard).

Immature Bald Eagle (BE) in control of the Mallard drake as the hen tries to flee

Immature BE decides, instead, to go after the hen. The drake is free for the time being

Both the Mallard hen and drake struggle to escape, severely injured to the point they cannot take flight

An adult BE joins the immature BE, surrounding the Mallard hen

Both BEs compete for position while the Mallard hen still tries to get away

Some intimidation tactics by both the immature and adult BE, as if they are toying with the incapacitated Mallard

The Mallard sees an opening and tries to escape by running, since it cannot take flight

After allowing the Mallard to get a certain amount of distance away, the immature BE goes after it...

...but only to change its direction putting the Mallard in between both the immature and adult BE

The immature BE descending again on the Mallard (note: the Mallard's head is not gone, just hidden behind the wings)

immature BE closing in on the Mallard as the adult BE looks on.

The crippled Mallard is attacked again by the immature BE

Another take down by the immature BE as the adult BE looks on.

The Mallard hen appears lifeless now...

...yet for a third time breaks free. Another immature BE joins in.

The second immature BE comes in to finish the job once and for all.

As the other two original BEs look on, the new immature BE makes the final kill.

The final attack on the Mallard hen

Securing the prey

The immature BE guards its kill

An announcement by the immature BE of its fresh kill as the other two original BEs continue to observe.
(click on thumbnails for pop-up of larger images)

Sun, 22 Dec 2013 12:22:45 -0600
-The Last Run- A compelling image showing the final moments of a Mallard hen as it tries to escape a pair of Bald Eagles. 16 December 2013
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

Fri, 20 Dec 2013 12:51:54 -0600
Adult Bald Eagle action at the breakfast table, Squaw Creek NWR. 16 December 2013
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 12:25:01 -0600
Three adult Bald Eagles gather around a fresh kill of two Mallards at Squaw Creek NWR. 16 December 2013
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)