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I spent a few days last week at The Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Preserve in Missouri. During the late fall Bald Eagles migrate to the refuge to hunt the large numbers of migrating snow geese and ducks. It's not unusual for the number of geese and ducks at this time of the year to number in the hundreds of thousands, and attract hundreds of eagles. Often you can see the eagles perching on one of the many muskrat huts populating the marsh where they fly over the flock, creating panic in the birds and causing them to take off in one massive chaotic launch.

During the chaos occasionally a bird will sustain an injury making it easy prey. As a wildlife photographer I occasionally witness just how unforgiving nature can be, this was one of those days. I first noticed that this goose was swimming away from the rest of the flock, it stopped at a muskrat hut and didn't seem able to climb up it. As it continued swimming toward the shore  it soon became clear that it was injured and only had a few more minutes before it would succumb.

There were several eagles in the area at the time and I didn't expect it to take long before one of them would spot this easy meal. I positioned myself with the wind and the sun at my back and began waiting for the inevitable discovery and flurry of activity that would follow. 


I Waited

.

.

.

and waited

.

.

and kept waiting.


After a few hours and the fading light I gave up, sure that in the morning it would be gone.

I was amazed to find it, and was sure that with the sun rising and the eagles already in the area it wouldn't be long before it was discovered. But again all the eagles left the area with the goose undiscovered.

From a photography standpoint it was about as close to an idea situation as one could imagine, but it just wasn't in the cards this time. It reminded of the expression that fishermen use when they come in empty handed,

" It's why they call it fishing, not catching"


Maybe next time!