Whew…Nothing To Worry About
When I see bald eagles, especially adult bald eagles, on the ground close to the road and not moving away when traffic is present, I begin to get concerned. Are they injured? Might the birds be suffering the effects of lead poisoning? Has something caught them and they cannot fly away even if they want to? Clearly I become concerned since over the years I have captured too many eagles on the ground and transferred their care to rehabilitation providers.
Today I spotted a beautiful adult bald eagle on the ground in new-growth soybeans. About the same time I saw it another person noticed it. They took some pictures with their cell phone (from their vehicle) and the bird did not take flight. That concerned me even more. I was ready to do a rescue since I carry the necessary supplies with me.
After the first folks moved on, I then moved closer to the bird. My intent was to check it through my long lens to look for injuries or possible reasons why it was not leaving the area. The only cause for concern for the bird was probably the three red-winged blackbirds that were harassing it. My best guess is the eagle approached near their nest or nests and the blackbirds were just being protective.
I studied the bird, shot a few pictures, and then, much to my relief, the eagle took flight with red-winged blackbirds in pursuit. After the eagle was a safe distance away from the blackbird nesting areas, the blackbirds dropped back and the eagle flew away alone.
Adult Bald Eagle in Soybeans: