White-tailed Eagle vs Wild Geese: 1:3

What an incredible morning I had with my friend, Laszlo Musicz. In the past few days geese numbers were changing rapidly by overnight attracting many local birdwatchers for possible rarities.


Greater White-fronted Goose. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Counts were made almost daily and some very nice rare geese were found. Yesterday goose numbers doubled to the previous day’s and we registered an even higher jump in their numbers today. Due to the very low daily temperature the lake had been frozen again restricting the waterbirds to a small open area of the lake.

Bird numbers recorded today:

Mute Swan 8
Greater White-fronted Goose 24,900
Tundra Bean Goose 2,800
Barnacle Goose 1
Mallard 500
Euriasian Teal 40
Common Goldeneye 15
Common Pochard 4
Great Cormorant 130
White-tailed Eagle 1 imm

There were some incredible actions made by an immature White-tailed Eagle who chased all the 27.700 geese off the water. One juvenile Greater White-fronted Goose has been separated and both the eagle and the goose was landing on the ice. Obviously the geese had been injured. It was a little bit grotesque to see the goose ‘peacefully’ walking by the eagle. The eagle then fed up waiting and landed on the goose with open talons. It apparently caused a fatal injury and despite the eagle flew off it again the goose collapsed after a few meters walk. The eagle soon returned and killed it but for our biggest surprise it left the prey almost untouched and started to chase another goose separated on the ice. The goose was in good condition and escaped. The third, a Tundra Bean Goose, was surprisingly allowed the eagle to close it to one meter when it took off and escaped as well. There was another attack on one group of the remained geese but that was also unsuccessful. It was strange that the eagle has never returned to the killed goose and let it for the hungry Hooded Crows.

Today we again saw a neck ringed Tundra Bean Goose but only one character was identified as the bird was hided by other geese.

In the afternoon an adult male Northern Goshawk chased a flock of 1,200 Fieldfares with a few Redwings.