bald eagle, American bald eagle, ice fishing, eagle on ice,

I enjoy watching and feeding the Bald eagles more than ice fishing. Oh I like ice fishing well enough, but watching the eagles is the best. He was nearby when we arrived, circled over head, and then landed in a tree to wait. Apparently quite hungry, he landed on the ice 50 yards from the tip-ups. Either Taylor or Jed caught the first fish, a yellow perch. I killed the perch and tossed it toward the eagle.

Yellow perch, Patten Pond, Maine, Washington County
14″ Yellow perch
ice fishing, bald eagle, Maine, Patten Pond

He hemmed and hawed, walked a little closer, flew a few feet, and he did something I’d never seen. He regurgitated a bit of dark fluid and some plant matter.

We kill all of the fish we’re going to keep. Imagine being trapped on the ice, wet and slimy, and freezing to death. Eyes first; imagine that pain. Alive and unable to move. Now imagine being eaten alive by an eagle starting at the tail. Kill your fish, folks. It’s the humane thing to do even when you’re not tossing it out to the eagles. It’s humane, and it’s also the legal thing to do. Kill what you’re going to keep in most instances.

Walking toward the Perch

He picked up the perch and flew 100 yards away. After removing the tail and eating a small portion of the perch, he flew to a small pickerel, grabbed it in those impressive talons and flew away.

I knew he’d come back for the perch but wasn’t expecting it to be soon. A few hours later he flew in, swooped down on the perch, and left. A third fish, another pickerel, was left for breakfast. We often see two eagles together on this pond but there was only one last weekend. It most likely has a mate nearby. It’s nesting season though probably a bit early for eggs.

Seeing American bald eagles will never get old. Do you have them in your area? If not, have you ever seen one?