Eagle hovering


Little birds can hover, but not soar; big birds can soar, but not hover. 

By hovering, I mean (what is called) true hovering: staying aloft by flapping rather than by moving horizontally through the air and doing so for an extended period of time. The kingfisher is probably the largest bird capable of pulling this off. 

Occasionally, one does see an osprey or an eagle seemingly hover over a spot below. This is always done when flying into a brisk wind, so the bird actually is moving through the air, but has matched its speed to that of the head wind. Even then, the activity is so energy intensive that the bird can only maintain it for a few moments. 

A large bird wants to do this is so it can position itself for an attack on prey.

A Bald Eagle seems to hover in a brisk wind as it eyes a potential prey (probably a duck) below. It did so only briefly before plummeting to the lake surface, but it missed the target.

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3 Responses to Eagle hovering

  1. Anne Ireland says:

    I’ve seen many of your photos Alistair, but of all of them, for me, this is the absolute best!!

  2. Irene McIlwaine. says:

    Amazing picture . Thank you

  3. Marie says:

    I have been following your wonderful blog for quite some time now. All your photos are stunning. They are often evocative and always seem to catch a perfect moment in time. But this… well this photo is something else altogether.
    Your bald eagle deserves a much bigger audience. It should be framed and shown in a gallery. It should be on the pages of National Geographic. It would win a wildlife photography contest – hands down! At the risk of sounding covetous, people would pay good money for this glorious raptor.
    Alistair, you knocked it out of the park! Well done you. Marie

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