Police Break Up Eagle Party at Safeway

Tuesday, May 07 2013


Eagles Feasting on Fish / Credit: Tim Moyer

A flock of eagles descended on the Safeway parking lot last week, prompting police intervention.

Public Safety Director Jamie Sunderland says several people called in short succession on Thursday afternoon to report the melee.

Sunderland: “One of our officers went over there and there were 40 eagles sitting on, in and around several vehicles in the area.”

Sunderland says the eagles were feasting on garbage bags of fish product in the bed of a pickup truck. Public Safety contacted the truck owner:

Sunderland: “Who confirmed they did have a bunch of fillets in the car, and they were trying to get rid of it, but there were so many eagles that they were, I think, somewhat alarmed to go near the vehicle, because it was just being swarmed by eagles.”

Jessica Earnshaw’s car was parked next to the truck, and she says she was afraid of getting attacked if she got too close.

Earnshaw: “I put my car alarm on so maybe that would let the eagles go away, but they still didn’t.”

When Officer Bill Simms arrived, Earnshaw says he put on his sirens, which scared off some of the eagles, and then he went into the fray.

Earnshaw: “He’s like, ‘okay, you two, just get your keys ready and then when I shoo them away, run into your cars.’ And we did.”

No one got hurt, and Sunderland says the truck owner wasn’t cited for the incident because the fish didn’t make a mess in the parking lot:

Sunderland: “It was just making a giant gathering of eagles, so the answer was to get the waste out of there, and that’s what they did.”


Stacy on Wednesday, February 05 2014:

I have quite a few photos of Bald Eagles scavenging off other land animals. I just took a photo last week of 11 Bald Eagles eating a Mule deer carcass. They do actually eat all kinds of things. A lot more than what comes out of the water for sure. I do winter eagle counts for the BLM here and we have discussed this quite a bit. Reason is that we have a lot of road kill here and when the eagles scavenge on the road kill they become potential road kill themselves.

Matthew Torres on Saturday, January 04 2014:

For those of you speaking WITHOUT knowledge, I'm going to clue you in. A Bald Eagles diet is very specific. They eat fish. When they are not eating fish, they are eating carrion. They do not go after chickens, kittens, or puppies. If you are one of those here that feel the birds behavior somehow indicates that man has ruined their food supply, you are wrong. They are capable of migrating great distances, so even the complete destruction of most rivers won't really phase them badly. You really should educate yourself BEFORE trying to turn this into an environmental issue. It only makes you look stupid.

iddrissuh ibn yakubu on Friday, May 17 2013:

If the so called human race could go about demonstrating, and causing,destruction, Why cant we also try ,

Diana on Thursday, May 16 2013:

Eagles are not attack birds and do not attack people......it is shameful that we are poisoning their oceans & rivers and cutting down the trees where they nest.............shame on the humans

L Johnson on Wednesday, May 15 2013:

"so long, and thanks for all the fish!"

leona maddux on Wednesday, May 15 2013:

oh forgot we have golden eagles now too! their all beautiful. are birds do the opposite. the bald eagle fishes, and the golden eats a lot of deer the gets hit by cars, we have a lot of that!.

leona maddux on Wednesday, May 15 2013:

we turned some loose in guntersville lake alabama,in 1984 we have about 100 now.

Divan on Wednesday, May 15 2013:

This is so clear to me that the eagles are not getting food else where, we as humans are getting way to overboard with demand, now these predators have to become scavengers, sad to see. When will we see the signs? and act????

mavis from Msp, Mn on Monday, May 13 2013:

I have had the GREAT honor of holding Gladie a Bald Eagle on my fist. Gladie resides at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. They are beautiful and magjetic creatures. If you ever are in Minneota go there and the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Mn. You wikll be amazed!!!!!

xoxoxoBruce on Monday, May 13 2013:

Looks like a typical tailgate party at an Eagles game in Philly. ;o)

Daisy on Monday, May 13 2013:

Why on earth they weren't permitted to go extinct is beyond fathoming!

Tom on Monday, May 13 2013:


Matthew 24:28(KJV)
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

GIno on Sunday, May 12 2013:

DAHHHH! fish and Eagles...who is suprized?

rnb on Sunday, May 12 2013:

2katz: That was hilarious :D

JUDY on Sunday, May 12 2013:

We live on PEI Canada and see Bald Eagles daily - just soaring around or fishing at the Beach Awesome sights - wherever one might happen to sight these huge birds!

Margie on Sunday, May 12 2013:

I live in Florida, and am so lucky to have 4 bald eagle nests within 5 minutes of my house. How fun to watch them raise their young year after year.

Abraham on Saturday, May 11 2013:

“It’s just that the luxury edition has so much more eagle, it saddens me to think of you missing out. “

mike on Saturday, May 11 2013:

just out of Calgary Alberta i see tons!!! i cant believe all the people who have seen so few, guess it also helps i live on an acreage

Nicholas Macias on Saturday, May 11 2013:

Love to see the video also it doesn't matter if there endangered or not they Still are protected because they are the National Bird of the United States...

Maggie Ridge on Saturday, May 11 2013:

Bald Eagles are not considered by the DNR as endangered species anymore, though I disagree - but they are scavengers as are most birds of prey. They love landfills - ours in SC have eagles feeding off the worst that people throw out which is bad news down the road for all.I live in the country where they can fish on their own and should well do. The more people encroach on previously uninhabited space the more we will see these darling birds and all of many species dying out from what we "throw away". Stop and think - don't throw out garbage and stuff that will be eaten by creatures. Even animal "rescue" people take their "refuge" to landfills full of poison.

RicknJude on Saturday, May 11 2013:

What part of endangered species don't they understand?

Stacy on Saturday, May 11 2013:

What the heck!? Why didn't they just get out of the way and let the eagles eat all the fish? The guy was trying to get rid of it anyway.

Cassie on Saturday, May 11 2013:

As cool as it is, I'm glad they broke it up. Too many birds fighting in such a closed space could lead to injuries, to both the birds and bystanders. People who don't see Bald Eagles regularly often doubt how often they scavenge opportunistically. We see them all year on roadkill. They're smart enough to know where a good free meal is. As much as a pest they may be in fishing communities, they still clean up pretty well and do attract tourists. As long as those tourists keep their scalp out of the way.

Stephanie Wesley - Wawatay News on Saturday, May 11 2013:

Coolest thing I've seen on the Internet this month. >.>

Christie on Saturday, May 11 2013:

We have a nesting pair of bald eagles at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. They built their nest last year and raised two babies last year and two this year. The babies fledged two weeks ago. They will soon depart for other reaches but will return next winter to raise another brood. The thing that is different about our eagles is there nest is several miles from the water but there is plenty of water around for fish but they have to fly a good bit to reach the hunting area.

Molly on Saturday, May 11 2013:

I live in Toronto and we only see them migrating past us in the fall. I loved watching this video, what a sight!

William Dudley on Saturday, May 11 2013:

Well I live in Paris (France) and to say the least, not too many eagles pass this way, bald or otherwise. Impromptu gatherings like raves and demonstrations, etc. The video was exceptional and focused on the extraordinary event and so glad the eagle rave could be dispersed without injury not to mention a number of very well fed eagles. I suppose the driver will think twice before taking his next coffee break. Live and learn.

Luis on Friday, May 10 2013:

That gathering is a rare sight. It is simply awesome!

Diane on Friday, May 10 2013:

I have only seen one eagle in my 50 years of existence. Loved the video! I guess the truck owner actually caught too many fish... Eh?

Fish on Friday, May 10 2013:

Bald eagles are friggin sea eagles, not close to new world vultures. New world vultures are more closely related to storks, for heaven's sake. Just because an animal also scavenges doesn't make it related.

Alyson on Friday, May 10 2013:

Where I live in the Sacramento Valley in California the Bald Eagles are still a rare sight, I've only seen 4 in my lifetime and I love to go outdoors, and 1 of those wasn't even in Cali (it was Oregon). As a matter of fact I rarely seen any other kind of Eagle here too, Hawks are what we mostly see riding the air currents (the Red-tail, Swainson's and Cooper's mostly), so this was a real treat for me, even if it was an "opps" moment, lol!

Marvin B on Friday, May 10 2013:

Having lived there in the late 70's, the amazing part is not the eagles but that there is a Safeway in Unalaska!

cairishcowgirl on Friday, May 10 2013:

Bald Eagles are more closely related to vultures than eagles. Where I live in So Eastern Montana, we have plenty of Bald and Golden Eagles. We have no lakes or rivers that have any substantial fish in them so they rely on scavenging and taking newborn lambs and calves. Most of the ranchers detest them and won't harm them unless losses drive them to report the problem to the local game warden, but most have the attitude of live and let live....and hope the lambs grow fast and strong. They are an important part of the eco system since we have few vultures. Both golden and bald eagles will scavenge and it's always a delight to see them catching drafts in the sky or watch them sitting, waiting for quiet to return to their meal. I'm not sure I would want my pickup mobbed by them, but it would be a sight to behold.

Mary K on Friday, May 10 2013:

I live on Whidbey Island in Washington and we have more eagles than seagulls too ;-)

Linda Granados Lauramore on Friday, May 10 2013:

I would have died since I'm so terribly afraid of feathers moving or still.The man didn't think but I bet he will next time.Beautiful site though.Alaska that last wonder of the USA.

Bill McKean on Friday, May 10 2013:

Would you settle for several herds of Canadian Geese in Sioux Falls? Our most recent ice storm convinced several groups that THIS IS FAR ENOUGH NORTH (Loose translation from the original Gooseian.

2 Katz on Friday, May 10 2013:

Ain't no party like a bald eagle party
Cause a bald eagle party don't stop
So when you see a young eagle
On a Nissan eating fishes
Then you gotta give the eagle his props

Kirk on Friday, May 10 2013:

I live in south Louisiana, we do see these beautiful creatures in the Atchafalaya Basin, although not so often!

Caroline on Friday, May 10 2013:

I live in Southwest Indiana we have Bald Eagles around Patoka Lake, The Blue River, and even the Huntingburg City Lake.
Beautiful creatures... and these were apparently hungry. Hope they enjoyed their Tailgate Party!

Barbara Hathaway on Friday, May 10 2013:

We have just a few around here in Oswego County NY. When I see eagles like this, that means there is a problem with their food. If there are GMO fish being released these birds will not touch them, they will go after anything else as food. Eagles coming after old fish in the back of a pickup tells a lot.

Margaret Sisk on Friday, May 10 2013:

I live in Owasso, Oklahoma, and I've never seen an eagle around here. :( I see hawks. Not the same. I loved this video, I feel blessed today! :D

Donna Petersen on Friday, May 10 2013:

I live in Iowa and we have a lot of Eagle's here. Live in an Island City and it is in the Mississippi, So of course they are here. I have a little tiny dog and they have been known to carry them of as well but I do like watching them or anything that has to do with nature.

randy paddock on Friday, May 10 2013:

I agree with a lot of these posts, as live in Alaska as well but isn't it great there making a comeback and doing so well. I remember long ago the eagles were threated might have to go on endangered list. Where I sit at my computer looking out on the Chugiak mountain range huge birch tree very close been eagles using it for years, our area is very good at keeping small dogs and cats in.

Rhowyn on Friday, May 10 2013:

I live in Norfolk, VA, and we've got several pair here as well...they are indeed beautiful to watch. Note to self: dump trash before heading to Safeway... ;)

Revols on Friday, May 10 2013:

I agree with the guy that said our Alaskan eagles are just seagulls without the s'
Lived in several Alaska fishing ports
Thts a fact their just hella bigger lol
Nice video

Ivy Moore on Thursday, May 09 2013:

The eagles are beautiful and fun to watch, but they are also dangerous. My daughter did a rotation at Dutch Harbor when getting her M.D. and had to treat people who had been attacked by an eagle.

Aislon Burnam on Thursday, May 09 2013:

I live in BC in Canada and here Eagles you can see daily even in Winter and its freaking cool to see them...not rare here either. The other day i saw 4-5 just soaring in the sky together! it was awesome on the days we see lots of them around i say Eagle city today!

Warren on Thursday, May 09 2013:

I live in Minneapolis near the Mississippi River and see bald eagles daily, even in winter - they are not rare around here at all.

Kim on Thursday, May 09 2013:

I live in Bay City, Wisconsin. We have Bald Eagle living here year round. We see many more of them in the winter months because we have open water on the Mississippi River. The National Eagle Center is located about 30 miles from us in Wabasha,MN. So Eagles do reside outside of Alaska and Oregon. We have flocks of over 100 of them in the winter months. There food sources here consist of a lot of fish from the Mississippi River to may roadside deer kills. They also eat small water fowl such as ducklings, goslings and other small birds that reside near the water. They are a very beautiful creature!! They should be protected at all cost!!!

max vockner on Thursday, May 09 2013:

Awesome dumpster chicken footage. In alaska Eagles are just seaguls without the "s". i bet if you go to the dump thats where you might find even more eagles. this site would only be a shock to any one who hasnt been to an alaska fishing community.

David Gulliver on Thursday, May 09 2013:

We live in Oregon - not even rural - and have had bald eagles nesting near our house. My in-laws in rural Oregon have a large flock near the river by their house. It is hardly just Alaska and Canada.

Dawn on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

We have bald eagles here in NH and all throughout the New England states. They are definitely not as rare or endangered as they used to be which is a good thing because they are beautiful to watch in flight.

Old Cynical Man on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

Think we should have a $1000 fine for anyone leaving food out - at home, in their truck, at their business. Food attracts Fox, Ravens, and Eagles. We need to force people to be responsible, because obviously they are not aware of the things food attracts.

Kelsey on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

Katy and Brittany,

Bald eagles are neither extinct nor endangered. The US Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the endangered species list in 2007 due to recovery. Although they are rare in most of the lower 48 states, population levels are high enough to be considered not in threat of extinction in the near future. Although they are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act, they are still protected from harm by the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 which was expanded to include Golden eagles in 1962.

Gloria Eastman on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

Beautiful sight! just shows how really big they are in comparison to the cars.

A on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

40 bald eagles tailgate party... 'Murica

Angie on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

I live in west Seattle, and there are 3 or 4 Bald eagles that live in the trees near our apt. We love to watch them. It is nice to see they can nest and survive in such a populated area. I will make sure not to leave my truck bed full of fish tho.

Brittany on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

Actually they are still pretty endangered. If you go outside of Alaska and Northern Canada, you won't find that many eagles together anywhere. Even with a truck full of fish.

Katy Luedtke on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

It's nice to know that the Eagles aren't as extinct as there made out to be!

greg on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

people guided by a western ethic are the true “vultures”. the eagles have more right to be there than anyone else.

carolyn Reed on Wednesday, May 08 2013:

After 30 years of living here, just another day at Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. Although, it seems the eagles here are turning into more like "city vultures" and have become far more aggressive in the past few years regarding food and territorial rights in town with nesting.


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