Dateline: Rio Grande, New Mexico, Jan. 10, 2020
I was driving downstream on Hwy 68, and looking ahead to the upcoming County Line River Access area. The cottonwood trees found on the far bank of the river at that site provide favored perches for the wintering bald eagles, and, indeed, as I got closer, I saw that an eagle was perched in one of those trees. I turned in, parked opposite the eagle, and mounted my camera on the van window. My presence appeared not to disturb the eagle, and I was able to get a few photos.
Then, the bird took off and dropped down and out of sight. I repositioned the van and saw that the eagle was sitting in the river.
I thought that that was curious, and then the eagle jumped up and snatched something out of the water. In the photo of that moment, it looks like a dead fish was lodged against a stick, and it was that, that the eagle grabbed, and flew off with.
I had often wondered about how the eagles obtain their food, presuming that their usual prey was fish and wintering ducks. This observation shows that the river acts as a conveyor belt, carrying food down to a perched eagle, who, with an “eagle eye”, spots it as it arrives.