Eagles have been known for their high flying speed and preying powers. For years, they have been ruling over many primary birds, maintaining their strength and terror. With claws as sharp as a knife to a beak as sharp as a razor, Eagles can slice through anything within a blink of an eye.
Eagles are hands down one of the most intelligent hunters. But, unfortunately, they have cost livestock and poultry losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Well, their hunting and preying habits are not only limited to poultry or livestock; eagles also hunt on ducks.
Eagles do hunt and eat ducks. You will often see an eagle dive down in a river, catch a duck and fly up high again after successfully preying on it. Due to their predator-like abilities, eagles are able to sight ducks from afar and then swoop down to hunt on them.
From a razor-sharp claw to a sleek beak and a seven-foot wingspan, eagles hunt within seconds. Not only is their target correctly executed, but before the prey knows it, the eagle picks it up and flies up high in the air.
Eagles roost quietly in the trees, finding their prey using their strong vision. Eagle first notices the prey, evaluates the surroundings, and then attacks.
Eagles are an iconic Northwood bird species. Eagles mainly prey on fish or other wildlife species such as loons or ducks. Most eagles are likely to kill a duck as they usually feed on loons; however, they also feed on dead duck carcasses.
There have been previous sightings where eagles surrounded a flock of ducks, harassed them, and then flushed them into the air. A typical pattern of eagles attacking ducks goes like this: eagle circles around a duck and purposely drowns them in water.
Then they would do a power-dive in the middle of the duck’s flock, knocking them out of the air, towards the water. The Eagle would then pick up one of the ducks, fly over to its roosting place, tear the duck apart, and feed on it.
Watch this footage to see how an eagle plans its attack on a couple of ducks.
Before jumping on to the protection part, let’s first develop an understanding of an Eagle’s powerful eyesight.
Eagles are famous for their incredible eyesight. Their eyesight makes them prowess hunters. Humans have an eye vision of 20/20, whereas an eagle has an eye vision of 20/5.
This means that what a human eye can see at a distance of five feet, an eagle can see the same visibility from 20 feet away, making their vision eight times as clear as a human’s vision. That’s how acute their eyesight is.
DID YOU KNOW?
Eagles are protected. There is a Bald and Golden Eagle Act that states that no person can harass or scare away eagles that prey on any poultry or livestock animal. Killing an eagle could mean a hefty fine or a lifetime of jail.
As mentioned earlier, Eagles have fantastic eyesight, but the irony is that they cannot see through rooftops or open gates. Hence, installing nettings or covering the area with a roof or an area with a gate will prevent eagles from entering the area, ensuring your poultry or livestock’s protection.
For areas that cover a larger piece of land, for instance, free-range farming, keeping animals in a restricted environment seems impossible. However, what can be done here is to try to move the flock far from eagles, under netting areas; avoid keeping your poultry animal in open or roosting spaces as it draws an eagle’s attention.
You can also hang shiny objects around the farm to distract the eagles — for instance, aluminum foil or old CDs.
Bald eagles are a bigger fan of fish, but they will take ducks too. Killing and hunting on ducks is a common practice of Golden Eagles, but Bald Eagles wouldn’t miss an opportunity either.
They wouldn’t willingly go for ducks in full daylight or those on the top of the water. However, if they catch a duck taking off from the water or alone on land where they are vulnerable, the Bald Eagle wouldn’t miss the chance to attack.
Covering an eagle’s eye can help save the ducks and poultry farm animals. As discussed earlier, an Eagle’s eyes are as sensitive to colors as they are to sudden movement. This sensitivity helps them find their prey from up high.
If you cover an Eagle’s eye with a piece of cloth or a hood, the Eagle will quickly go unconscious, shutting down its brain as closing an Eagle’s eye means less sensory movement; this sensory deprivation leads to unconsciousness.
Goose is much larger than an average duck. As compared to a duck, geese have longer necks, elongated bodies, and longer legs.
DID YOU KNOW?
The size of raptors and their prey are directly related. Well, an eagle's wingspan of approximately seven feet makes them one of the largest raptors. This shows that they can easily take any geese or ducks.
On average, an eagle needs around half or one pound of food daily; but an eagle can skip meals on alternate days without feeling any hunger. Eagles gorge on food when they hunt as they can hold up to two to three pounds of food in their crop.
In case of no food availability, they survive on the earlier stored food.
Although an eagle is incredibly powerful and strong, its stomach size is relatively small; the stomach is as small as a walnut. As a result, eagles are capable of consuming food up to ⅓ of their own body weight. This is the reason why they prey on animals and birds smaller than them.
Common behavior and pattern of killing their prey amongst all raptors are through using their talons.
Each of an eagle’s feet has four sharp talons, of which three are on the front that face backward and one more giant talon, also known as the hallux, at the back, that faces forward.
Their powerful leg muscles provide strength and power to each talon to crush and get a tight hold of the prey. The estimated crushing strength of each talon is about 400 pounds per square inch.
From flesh to bones, Eagles eat everything off their prey. Bones provide essential nutrients that help an Eagle maintain its strength. These bones are easily dissolved in an Eagle’s stomach as it contains acids that make the digestive system less complex and quicker.
An eagle is capable of carrying ⅓ of its body weight. In some scenarios, Eagles even kill prey that is of their size; however, the eagles cannot carry the prey to a safer destination to feast on it because they cannot carry anything more than a few pounds.
For instance, if an eagle catches a bird or a fish heavier than its weight, the Eagle will drag it inside the water towards the shore with the fish gripped in its talons. This is because an eagle cannot fly off carrying too much weight.
Every Eagle has a unique way of hunting and hiding. For instance:
While figuring out which Eagle you’re monitoring, note the season, which impacts the environment they pick.
For instance, golden eagles are seen across the East during fall, while bald eagles keep to the Atlantic waterfront and waterways with quick flows. The two kinds of birds will go where the food is, and in winter, that implies typically any place where it is not difficult to find a waterfowl.
Eagles like to devour on a range of feed including:
Eagles are one of the stronger species of birds. They have sharp talons and beaks that make it impossible for their prey to fight back.
Although their favorite food to feed on is fish, they would not miss a chance to feed on a duck as long as it is a lightweight duck.
Since we’re on the topic of ducks, read through this exciting post to learn better about ducks and what they look like.
My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!
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