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April 9, 2011 / hhsiegrist

White-tailed Sea Eagles

The White-tailed Sea Eagle (Heliaetus albicilla) is a large bird of prey inhabiting large zones of northern Europe. It is not to be confused with the American Bald Eagle (Heliaetus leucocephalus) which occurs in the United States and Canada.

The White-tailed Sea Eagle can be found in areas containing large water surfaces like lakes and rivers as well as on the seashores. Although it prefers fresh prey when available, it also feeds on carrion when the former is difficult to obtain. This habit can be an advantage for the wildlife photographer as the bird can be baited using animal carcasses during the winter months when the water surfaces are frozen.

So, you just have to get yourself isolated against the freezing cold of a northern European Winter and spend days on end in a hide where you get in before sunrise and stay there until the end of the afternoon. That’s what I did this winter in Poland’s Masuria, a wonderful landscape of forests, fields, lakes and rivers. After an uneventful stay in September 2010 I decided to come back in March 2011 to try my chances again. A total of 40 hours at temperatures between -6°C and +2°C resulted in a series of pictures I was absolutely happy with. All of them can be seen at

Flying adult Sea Eagle

Landing juvenile Sea Eagle

Juvenile chased by Common Ravens (Corvus corax)

Adult and juvenile Sea Eagles taking off

All pictures taken from hides in the Iwanowo region in Polish Masuria


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