Bald Eagle Snatches Florida Fisherman’s Small Shark Catch

by Jonathan Howard

Humans like to think we have control over everything. However a bald eagle showed a Florida fisherman, that’s not always the case. Imagine snagging a catch just to have it ripped away from America’s official mascot?

A lot of fishermen deal with predatory birds at their favorite spots. Great blue herons can wipe out a small pond if you aren’t careful. However, this bird of prey was stalking some coastline on the Dunedin Causeway just as the day was ending. In a video captured by the family in question, the scene couldn’t be any better. Beautiful water, beautiful sunset, and a beautiful bird taking their catch.

Chad Rissman found that he was being harassed by the eagle a bit and when he reeled in the small shark on his line, it swooped down to claim it for itself. Check out these pictures below from Fox 13 Tampa Bay. If you want to see the full video, head their way.

Rissman spoke with the news station about the situation. “The way everything line up, the sunset; I couldn’t have asked for a better time,” he said. “It’s just like brushing the greatness of the country all into one picture and one experience,” his uncle, who witnessed the incident said.

The eagle in question isn’t just a random raptor, either. No, local wildlife officials are familiar with the eagle. His name is Eugene. Florida is home to one of the densest populations of nesting bald eagles in the contiguous 48 states. Of course, the bald eagle has been a protected species for years. However, there has been good progress made on bringing population numbers up. It has been 14 years since U.S. Fish and Wildlife took the species off of the federally endangered and threatened list. So, it looks like conservation work is leading to results.

Bald Eagle Protection Act and Other Laws

While the bald eagle is no longer listed as a threatened or endangered species, there are still protections in place. If you encounter a bald eagle, even if it takes your catch of the day, you should never try to handle a bird or cause it any harm. There are so many provisions and laws that protect these predators and other large, migratory birds.

One of the most notable pieces of legislation has to be the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Golden eagles are just beautiful creatures, and rare to see. They are protected along with bald eagles under this act as well as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Of course, the state of Florida has its own laws as well.

Wildlife officials stress that you should not attempt to handle one of these birds unless you are experienced. Even if you believe you are saving a bald eagle, they can react erratically, and cause harm or perhaps even death to you or others. Let em have that fish, you were just going to lie about how big it was anyway!