[Tweeters] Bald Eagle Bluffed by Snow Goose

Mark Borden markbordenmd at gmail.com
Wed Feb 17 18:10:27 PST 2021

Dear Tweeters,

As a Birder and Falconer (another type of Birder) I am always fascinated to
hear eyewitness accounts of unique bird of prey/prey interactions such as
the one Gary witnessed.

Even a tiercel (male) Bald Eagle (about 8 pounds) could very easily catch
and kill a Snow Goose, or even the largest type of Canadian Goose. A bird
of prey starts it's life not knowing it's capabilities, and what it tries
depends upon its personal tendencies, which vary from individual to
individual. Birds of prey that are taken as nestlings (eyasses) by
falconers are a blank slate, and will often try tackling prey of heroic
proportions. A 9 ounce male Coopers Hawk that I trained grabbed the first
full sized Canadian Goose it saw. It rode on the gooses back for about 10
seconds as the goose ran around honking. A female Coopers Hawk I trained 42
years ago grabbed a full grown Coyote on the rump and kept her grip for
over 100 yards as the dog ran through the sage, before finally being rubbed
off. Neither coopers tried those items again! The coopers is an
exceptionally bold species in falconry. Without training one, though, a
person would have the impression that they are shy. they are

Some Bald Eagles would have piled right onto that goose, and learned that a
Snow Goose that is acting abnormally is an easy meal. An aggressive,
immature male Red Tailed Hawk might also grab that goose, and the result
would probably be a good "wing whipping" and a decision to never try that

My Peales Peregrine Tiercel this season flew at (best weight) 675 grams
(23.6 oz.) and his first kill was a Cackler Goose. Even though he is less
than a quarter the size of a Bald Eagle, he could take a Snow Goose. Some
tiercel Peregrines would not try a goose, and others would, depending upon
their inherent predilections.

Falconry is an amazing form of birdwatching. Rarely do I fly my falcons
without seeing wild falcons. Once this season my Peregrine/Prairie Hybrid
tiercel flew with two immature male, and a mature female peregrine at the
same time. Once this season while my tiercel peregrine was chasing a barn
pigeon (Columbia livia), a wild tiercel came from out of nowhere, and
struck the dove a solid blow, knocking it to the ground. Merlins seem
unable to resist putting in a stoop or two, and every young falcon needs to
learn that even though Harriers look slow, they are impossibly dodgy and
can never be caught!

Mark Borden MD
Coupeville, WA.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/pipermail/tweeters/attachments/20210217/c76d1b02/attachment.html>

More information about the Tweeters mailing list