Attacked by White-bellied Sea Eagle

on 23rd June 2006

K.C. Tsang, an avid birder and photographer, was walking along a grassy area in Ponggol when a juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) (also known as White-bellied Fish-Eagle), decided to check on him. In KC’s very words: “From high above it swooped down. Lucky for me I noticed what the fellow was doing, pointed the camera at it, it did an air-braking action, its talons already extended.”

KC did manage to get one dramatic shot of the bird as it was coming at him, as shown here, uncropped! I suppose it was worth the excitement and the risk of losing his baseball cap. But was the bird aiming for his cap? Was it hoping for a bigger catch?

After being frightened off, the bird circled KC a few times as he kept walking, his heart no doubt pounding. KC had more chances to make some more close shots, but I suppose the excitement of losing his cap and all caused him to get only blurred and over-exposed images. His D50 Camera did not react fast enough “Or maybe I should have lifted my finger off the trigger to let camera readjust itself.

Daisy, a Malaysian birder, wrote: “Obviously, this juvenile can’t tell the difference between a mouse and a human being wearing a baseball cap. I’ve been told raptors have been known to swoop at humans and cause scarring injuries. You are lucky! (Next time walk wearing a helmet). And what a flying shot you got there.”

Read about other attacks by House Crows: 1 and 2.

Thanks, KC for the exciting account and use of the image; and Daisy for the comment.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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