American Bird: Eagle Vs. Osprey

Bald Eagle lands at LBI today. Raptor Season has begun.
Bald Eagle lands on LBI today. Raptor Season is upon us.

The spectacular photographer, children’s book author, and LBI resident “Dr. Dad” recently commented to me that the Osprey should’ve been the National Bird. He has a good point. Noble, hard working, self-reliant… the Osprey embodies everything we like to think of ourselves as being. To some, Bald Eagles can be a little brutish and scavenger-y.

Fortunately, a Bald Eagle landed on the Island today so we can take a closer look.
Fortunately, a Bald Eagle landed on the Island today so we can take a closer look.
Here comes Osprey... yikes... that's not too hospitable Osprey. The unprovoked attack seems a strike against Osprey,  but America sure like to represent itself as hawkish & aggressive.
Here comes Osprey… yikes… that’s not too hospitable, Osprey. The unprovoked attack seems a strike against Osprey, but America sure likes to present itself as hawkish & aggressive, so maybe that’s good?
It appeared the Bald Eagle was going to sit and just take it. Nope. Eagle was waiting for Osprey to catch a fish before getting off his perch and flying directly over my head (thank you, thank you thank you)...
It appeared the Bald Eagle was going to just sit and take it from Osprey. Nope. Eagle was waiting for Osprey to catch a fish before getting off his perch and flying directly over my head (thank you, thank you thank you)…
And then giving Osprey the chase, ultimately stealing the fish Osprey dropped. (Note: photo is a good comparison. Folks sometime confuse Bald Eagles & Osprey in flight. If it looks like a small dragon, it is a Bald Eagle)
And then giving Osprey the chase like some Black Back Gull, ultimately stealing the fish Osprey dropped. (Note: photo is a good comparison. Folks sometime confuse Bald Eagles & Osprey in flight. If it looks like a small dragon, it is probably a Bald Eagle)

Hmmm. Not conclusive. Either way, we probably should not pit Osprey against Bald Eagles, as they both suffered the same near-extinction event at the hands of humanz and our nasty, nasty DDT. They are both important “indicator” species. They saved us from DDT and they continue to be important barometers of the health of NJ, and Barnegat Bay in particular. Even if you hate these amazing animals, pure self interest should put you on the side of protecting them and keeping their populations healthy. If our Bay ever becomes severely toxic, these animals will die in large numbers before you get sick. They very well might save our lives one day.

Thanks to the good folks at the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, both animals have made phenomenal comebacks after years of tough work, dedication, and lots of cuddling of baby Osprey & Eagles. Please support the CWFNJ with some dollar bills and help ensure we have Osprey & Eagles attacking each other on LBI for years to come.