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Casts and Blasts From Photographing Eagles at Work

This shot shows the white is building on the head of this immature bald eagle. Probably less than 10-percent of the original frame, it also shows how well the images from the Canon 7D stood up to cropping, even when shot at 1,000 ISO.A few more details from Sunday’s Outdoors page feature on photographing bald eagles and red-tailed hawks feeding on deer carcasses.


– According to a trail camera near the deer carcasses, the immature bald eagle still feeds on the dead deer most days. Its longest stay, thankfully, was the cold day I spent in the photo blind.

– Twice I’ve added goose carcasses to the deer, and raptors seem to prefer them over the venison. That might because they’re smaller and easier to access than the thick hides of deer. Or, it could be because eagles naturally feed on healthy geese.

– The late afternoon light contributed greatly to the flavor of the photos of the bald eagle on the deer.

– I was shooting a Canon 7D, two of which I’ve had for several months. The ability to still get great details with high ISO settings has really helped with photography in low light. Many of the photos were shot with the ISO set at 1,000 but the images held up very well under serious cropping. The lens was a Canon 100-400 with image stabilization. All were shot from a tripod.

– Checking the trail camera a week after the shoot, it appears the red-tailed hawks have settled their disputes over the carcasses. Mostly they feed one at a time, with no more fights caught by the remote camera.

– Coyotes still haven’t really hit the carcasses. If a pack would hit the remains, all would probably be gone within a few nights. I continue to “saturate the area with human scent.” Yes, I’m actually marking the carcasses the same way a coyote would if it were claiming them. The scent doesn’t seem to deter the birds, obviously.A trail camera photo of the immature bald eagle at the same time it was being photographed from a blind about 30 yards to the left.– Unfortunately, I had the Bushnell Trail Cam set for the lowest pixel setting possible, so the photos aren’t as sharp as they could be. I did it to get as many photos as possible on a 4 GB card…unfortunately I had a 32 GB card in the camera at the time. Since, I’ve adjusted the pixels and gotten noticeably sharper images.

– Oh, there is one opossum feeding on the carcasses every night. A few nights ago it was photographed dragging off the carcass of a big Canada goose. It must have been so proud!