Bald Eagle Devours Seagull in Manhattan’s Iced-Over Central Park Reservoir

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Spectators witnessed a rare bird incident in Manhattan’s iced-over Central Park recently with a bald eagle eating a seagull on Tuesday.

Twitter user Emily Bernay saw a tagged bald eagle named R7, nicknamed Rover, out at the park. She and many bird watchers, er, didn’t expect to catch it feasting on a seagull.

The bald eagle chases the seagull through the air before capturing it with its talons and bringing it down onto an icy patch. Bernay’s 36-second clip then shows Rover chowing down on the bird.

The New York Post reported on the incident.

Connecticut Wildlife Twitter Gets Involved

The Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Twitter account piggybacked off Bernay’s Tweet, explaining this bald eagle’s history.

The agency explained some of Rover’s backstory, saying he was banded by CT DEEP wildlife biologists in New Haven, Conn, on May 11, 2018. The account said Rover migrated to New York City during the mid part of 2020.

Twitter user Brad Balliett followed Rover a little bit more. He used some slow-motion effects for one clip and posted Rover chowing down on the seagull. 

The Central Park Conservatory liked Balliett’s Tweet, posting an emoji with two hearts as eyeballs. 

Spectators Amazed By Seagull Killing

Many spectators caught Rover on video eating around 5:16 p.m. A Twitter account called Manhattan Bird Alert pinpointed the bald eagle’s hunting time.

Bald eagles are making a national comeback. Last year, US Fish and Wildlife officials reported that the bird’s numbers have quadrupled in the past 13 years. The agency estimates 316,700 bald eagles in the lower 48 states.  

Urban Hawks, another website, reported at least two bald eagles at the famous NYC hangout in the past two weeks.

Do Bald Eagles Regularly Eat Seagulls?

Yes, they’re part of a balanced bald eagle diet. They’re just one part the animal’s diet.

Mental Floss said bald eagles would also snack on ducks, rabbits, crabs, amphibians, and more. They’ll scavenge in dumpsters, feed on waste from fish processing plants, and even gorge on dead, decaying animals.

TMZ reported on another feast last year at a Canadian golf course. One Point Grey Golf & Country Club golfer in Vancouver caught the feast video. TMZ followed the action, reporting that the bird took the seagull down to the ground before going to the raw bar. The eagle “eventually took off with the carcass like it was a small purse!!”

Bald eagles come across as ferocious predators. But some may argue about that classification.

One Florida blogger’s not so sure. In a 2014 Tallahassee Democrat newspaper post, Budd Titlow tried to chip away at the bird’s image.

Titlow mentioned Ben Franklin’s desire for the bird not to have been chosen as the national bird. Franklin said the bird has a “bad moral character.” Franklin and another bird researcher named Arthur Cleveland Bent were not fond of the bald eagle.

Bent took it a step further, called the bird “an arrant coward with a ridiculously weak and insignificant voice.”

Noted bird watcher John James Audubon, on the other hand, describes these birds as “ferocious, overbearing, and tyrannical temper.”