Bald Eagle Tries to Steal Fish from Dolphins!

This morning my husband was on the boat when he saw a Bald Eagle swooping and diving over a pod of feeding dolphins. Eagles are often accused of kleptoparasitism, where one species steals food from another (they do it with Ospreys rather often), but in this case it looked more like the Eagle was just opportunistically swooping in for the leftovers.

I couldn’t find much else in the literature about this, so I am guessing it is not that common, but it was definitely cool to see.  I raced down to the dock with my bigger lens, but by then the eagle was roosting on a nearby house.  The dolphins, however, were still feeding along a tide rip.

This is the video we put up last fall about dolphin feeding strategies in South Carolina. The shorebirds and wading birds will often wait for the dolphins to strand feed and gather up the fish on the shore, so this eagle’s strategy is similar.

And in case you’d like to see all the amazing iphone footage shot from a boat bouncing on the waves, you’ll find it below.  Shoutout to Reggie Fairchild for having the presence of mind to raise his phone and get such great footage.