Hungry eagle bites off more than it can chew: Bird dies after being swatted by bear with its huge paw after trying to steal its food


This is the dramatic moment a bear took out an American bald eagle in one fell swoop after getting too close to her cub and its food.

The bird had approached the bear and her youngster as they had been eating a dead whale in Kodiak, Alaska.

Other eagles had been swooping down on the pair but managed to keep a respectable distance from the mammals.

However, one bird got far too close for the adult bear’s liking and she swatted it down with her huge paw.

And even though the blow was not enough to kill the large bird, it was left stricken on the ground and unable to fly due to a broken back.

The confrontation was captured on camera by 63-year-old wildlife photographer Fred O’Hearn.

He explained: ‘The sow bear was so protective of her food, a dead whale, she wouldn’t leave especially as there was a stream only a few hundred yards up the hill where she could get water.

‘She got a bit tired of the eagles and started chasing them away, even her cub got into the act.

‘Two of the eagles got tangled with one another just as the sow was in hot pursuit, which meant the end of the road for one eagle.


‘In the next few photos she is attacking the eagle and the cub gets quite interested in the affair.

‘Incredibly the eagle still managed to reach up and grab her in the face with a talon which actually quite discouraged the sow from attacking any more.

‘You can see the her drooling which is a sign of stress in a bear. The next few photos are her checking on the cub and then back to napping.’

And even though the eagle appeared to survive the attack, Mr O’Hearn believes it wouldn’t have lived for much longer.

He added: ‘She never actually killed the eagle, I think the talon in the face ended the attack.

‘The eagle was broken up and other than flopping around occasionally, just lay there for many hours. I believe its back was broken.

‘I would have liked to put the eagle out of his suffering but there was no way I was going down there with a sow with her cub so heated up.’


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