Eagle vs. Osprey

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write about the happenings around Devil’s Lake. Summer is always a busy time around here with all of our programs and events. This time of year, things slow down and there’s more time to get out and explore. Last night we did just that; explored around the lake.

Evening south shore

Evening along the south shore. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

We started down the Tumbled Rocks trail and was greeted by lots of red squirrels. These little guys were busy feeding on all of the recently ripe pine cones that are scattered all over the trail.


A red squirrel eating seeds on a fallen log. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

As we got to the south end of the trail, behind the cottages, we found a monarch laying on the trail. Hard to tell if it was injured or just cold from them chilly evening air. I decided to picked her up to at least move her off the trail and hoping a little warmth from my hands would warm her up so she could fly. She wasn’t too ready to fly, so I carried her down to Messenger Creek where she could get some sun and hopefully warm herself up in the little sunlight left.

Monarch 2

Monarch warming herself in the last rays of evening sun. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

We continued on around the south end of the lake. There were a few people fishing, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. We came around to the south beach area and found a young heron fishing. This heron didn’t really seem to mind that we were taking pictures of it as it fished. As we walked on, it started walking with us, sometimes stopping to catch a fish, but mostly moving to get ahead of us.

Heron catching a fish

A young heron trying to catch a fish along the south shore beach.


Heron Setting Sun 2

Young great blue heron. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

The heron finally decided it had enough of us and flew down the beach. We noticed it had landed next to another bird. That bird was an osprey! Rarely have I seen osprey sit on the ground; you typically see them in trees. Neither the heron nor the osprey seemed too concerned with each other and went about whatever they were doing, not even noticing us in the distance.

Then, the coolest thing happened! And eagle swooped down and started fighting with the osprey! (That heron was out of there!)

Eagle Opsrey best 2

Bald eagle attacking an osprey. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

What amazed us is how small the osprey looks next to that eagle and osprey are not small birds. An osprey is about 2 feet tall and has a wingspan around 5 feet in length. Despite this, it looks tiny compared to the eagle who only stands about a foot taller, but has a much bigger wingspan – about 7 feet.

Eagle Osprey best

The osprey looked pretty tiny compared to the bald eagle. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

After the initial tussle and what seemed like a long stand off, the osprey took off. The eagle did too, probably because we started walking towards it.

Eagle Flying

The eagle flying over the lake. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

It was one of the most amazing things I have seen and was glad I was there last night to see it happen! All in all, it was a pretty good night to hike around the lake!

Evenings end

Setting sun seen from the North Shore. Photo by Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist.

 By Sue Johansen, Park Naturalist

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