White-Tailed Eagles In Norway Have Adapted To Hunt Geese Right Out Of The Sky

eagle geese
Wild Isles

Bird-on-bird crime.

When you think of predators that geese should be worried about, other birds likely do not come to mind. Maybe a sneaky coyote? A fox that knows how to time an attack just right? Or maybe even a dedicated goose hunter, when the bird is in-season of course?

As it turns out, one of the more worrisome predators that geese have to keep an eye out for actually often share the skies with them: Eagles. It has particularly become a problem for barnacle geese in Scotland, where white-tailed eagles have learned to hunt their fellow birds… and they’ve gotten pretty damn good at it.

The nature show Wild Isles, narrated by the incomparable David Attenborough, covered the phenomenon taking place in the Isle of Islay back in 2023. One of the show’s segments focused in on the white-tailed eagles hunting of geese, and how they’ve only started to do so in the past decade.

I don’t know how else to explain it other than it’s a tad startling to see eagles of similar size and stature dive bombing barnacle geese and taking them out one by one. You could certainly call it a living nightmare for geese, who can’t do much to fight back while they are in the air (they’re main line of defense is flapping their wings).

The geese don’t go down without fights, but they are certainly no match for the sharp talons of the white-tailed eagles. The predatory birds tend to stir up flocks to identify a weak target, then single out the one that would seemingly give them less trouble.

It’s a scary sight, and it only has been that way “across the pond” since the white-tailed eagles barely avoided extinction in the area, as described in the caption of the post:

“Once extinct in the United Kingdom, white-tailed eagles were reintroduced in Scotland in the 1970s with birds from Norway.

Their population has thrived since then, and they are now estimated to be around 440 pairs, boasting an impressive 8-foot wingspan.”

They certainly use that wingspan to assert their dominance on the barnacle geese, as you’ll see in the footage below:

A beer bottle on a dock

STAY ENTERTAINED

A RIFF ON WHAT COUNTRY IS REALLY ABOUT

A beer bottle on a dock