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Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron

Grand Prize Winner  Bonnie Block

Bald Eagle and Great Blue Herons. Photo: Bonnie Block/Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron

Location: Seabeck, WA

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon 500mm f/4 IS II USM lens; 1/1600 second at f/6.3; ISO 800, manual mode

Snap Judgement: Seabeck is a small town on the edge of the Hood Canal, in western Washington. In early summer Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles converge here to feast on fish that get trapped in the exposed oysterbeds at low tide. While both species catch their own fish, the eagles are especially fond of harassing the herons for their catch. They charge at the herons, which at times release their prey with a loud squawk, dropping the fish back into the water. Though they’re not always successful, the eagles seem to take pleasure in trying to steal a meal.

Bird Lore: The majestic Bald Eagle and America’s largest heron are both top-level predators, and they often pursue the same prey. Where concentrations of fish bring them together, clashes may erupt. In a direct standoff, the herons will usually yield to the eagles, but not without a noisy protest.

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