Duck learns hard (and fatal) way not to go where eagles dare

Juvenile bald eagle captures duck but loses it to adult bird of prey
Eagle Center Logo

BROWNSVILLE, Minn. (WKBT) — A National Eagle Center staffer captured video of a rare sight during a recent foray along the Mississippi River near Brownsville: A juvenile bald eagle catches a duck in mid-flight.

The young eagle then suffers the misfortune of losing its prey to an adult, providing an even rarer sight.

Don’t feel too sorry for the young baldy’s fate at the talons of an adult — imagine the poor duck, being passed back and forth like a green bean casserole at Thanksgiving.

Staffer Jarod Lueck recorded the video, which is not for the faint of heart — especially if you’re a duck.

Fish are the most common quarry for bald eagles, but they also will attack waterfowl of 2 pounds or less, if conditions are right, explained Ed Han, marketing manager at the center, headquartered in Wabasha, Minn.

It takes about four to five years for juvenile bald eagle to reach maturity, sporting white heads and tails, so they have to become master hunters quickly to survive. In this case, the juvenile made the initial catch, but lost on the follow-through.

The National Eagle Center is closed for renovations and plans to reopen to the public next spring. However, the center is hosting a series of bald and golden eagle field trips throughout the winter season. Details are available on the center’s website.

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