Photographer Captures Hunting Prowess of Bald Eagles Catching Fish and Eating It in Mid-Air

Bald Eagle by Mark Smith Photography

Bald eagles are impressive animals. As one of the largest raptors in the world, they can have a wingspan of up to 8 feet. Expert hunters, they live near water to have a constant supply of fish, turtles, ducks, and snakes. And when they spot a tasty snack, they can swoop down at up to 100 miles per hour and pluck their prey from the water. It sounds incredible on paper, but the visual is even better.

Thankfully, Mark Smith is an expert at capturing video of the precise moment when bald eagles strike. His recordings, which he posts to his popular Instagram, pay homage to the power and glory of this bird, which has been a symbol of America since the 18th century. In one clip, the bald eagle flies down with determination and, after it's gotten the fish in its talons, swallows it whole while in mid-air.

As Smith frequents an area where a large bald eagle population is present, he notes that they are often competing for food. This most likely accounts for why the eagle wasn't taking any chances with its catch. “They often have to eat on the wing in order to avoid theft or confrontation,” he tells My Modern Met.

In another video, the eagle leisurely glides sideways to the surface of the water. The large fish it ultimately grabs is helpless as the eagle flies off into the sky with it tightly clutched between its talons. And while their dives into the water are impressive, this isn't the only way that eagles hunt.

Smith was able to capture a video of a bald eagle slowly making its way across a bed of oysters to snatch a fish with its beak. As it stalked its prey, the bird's gaze intensified. Only once the fish was in its mouth did the raptor take in its surrounding, even looking right at the camera.

For Smith, the opportunity to see these moments is priceless. Thankfully, he's happy to share his work so that everyone can appreciate the power and grace of these raptors.

Mark Smith is known for his incredible bird photography. He's especially fond of bald eagles.

 

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He often visits a location filled with bald eagles and captures their hunting prowess.

 

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His videos give us a sense of their size and power.

 

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And how they're able to snatch a tasty snack from the water at will.

 

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They're even experts at stalking prey on land.

 

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Follow Smith's Instagram to see more awe-inspired bald eagle videos.

 

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Mark Smith: Instagram | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Mark Smith.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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