For this bald eagle, persistence pays off: After multiple aerial attempts to secure what seems to be a waterlogged nutria, Baldie resorts to an amphibious attack and…what’s this? It breaststrokes to shore! (Hope that water rodent’s worth the effort.)
Such a tactic is “sort of a fallback approach” for various sea eagles, a group of large, fish-eating eagles that includes our country’s mascot, says bird expert Kenn Kaufman. Sometimes the birds dive for food at the water’s surface only to discover that it’s bigger than they calculated. In that case, “if there’s land somewhere nearby, then they may [instead] go flopping along the surface and grab their prey out,” says Kaufman. It's obviously a successful strategy, but one that comes at a price—at least for the majestic bald eagle: “They lose some of their regal bearing when they do that," says Kaufman.
A few more clips of breastsroking eagles follow. Watch out Kotsuke Kitajima, these feathered swimmers have got their eyes on the prize:
This one truly looks like an Olympian from a distance. Look at 'em go!