This amazing picture was tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, so I assume it’s genuine. it appears the bald eagle has captured a gull, and another gull has attacked the eagle to rescue his friend. Or mate. Whatever.
We are informed the picture was taken by David Canales at Prince William Sound, Alaska. He writes, “This eagle flew right into a nest of these birds and just carried this guy away like nothing. A new respect for Eagles.” It gives me a new respect for gulls, too.
Appearances can be deceiving, and it’s dangerous to impute human motives to a bird. Bald eagles prefer fish; but, when fish are scarce, they’ll eat whatever small animal they can catch. Including gulls and other birds. In such areas, prey animals (especially birds) sometimes learn to gang up on the predator. That may be exactly what is happening here.
Or maybe the Eagle happened to be too near the second bird’s nest, and he or she was trying to protect its eggs or chicks. There’s not enough information to know, so I won’t speculate further. Regardless, it’s a spectacular picture.
We are informed the attacking gull gave up, and the captured one was unable to get away.