Bald eagle drops deer on power lines-- is this real?

Because I have to say, it seems pretty implausible.

If it hasn’t hit your facebook feed yet, there’s a news story going around on the intertubes that a bald eagle in Montana lifted a deer fawn into the air and lost its grip, dropping the fawn on power lines, causing a power outage. It seems wildly implausible to me; eagles have a large wingspan, but they’re just not that heavy themselves; I just can’t imagine a 15 pound eagle lifting a deer faun that weighs at least that much. Unless deer fauns weigh less than my cat, I just can’t imagine that this is plausible. Anyone care to weigh in?

Here’s the news story in question:

Here’s a video.

Deer fauns weigh 6-8 pounds at birth, so a 15 pound eagle might be able to lift a very young one.

I have no doubt that an eagle can kill a deer fawn, but I’m still unconvinced that it could lift one thirty or forty feet off the ground in order to drop it on power lines.

EDIT: Reality Chuck, that’s way smaller than I would have guessed. I suppose that’s within the realm of plausibility.

Similar things have happened.

Eagle drops deer head on power lines in 2007, knocking out power to 10,000 Alaskans.

A whitetail deer fawn only weighs about 6lbs at birth. A bald eagle can lift half its own weight. Females are larger than males.

Here’s the original story (with picture):

It’s not like anyone saw the eagle drop it, but I don’t think there’s any real competing theory as to how the thing got up there.

i thought american eagles can scoop 10-pound fish from the river?

Well, now, there was that diver found in a tree, who had been scooped up by a fire-fighting helicopter.

The issue isn’t whether an eagle can kill a small deer - they definitely can - it’s whether it can lift the weight.

When they kill something that large, they generally will dismember it and carry smaller parts back to the nest.

From the photo in the news article, it looks like the fawn* was small enough to be carried by an eagle.


Based on what?

I have seen them carrying a 10 lb. salmon, one almost dropped on a salmon carcass on my head.

After thinking about it for a second and with apologies to Colibri, a 6-8 lb. fish is all I would guarantee I have seen carried off by an eagle.

In all fairness - fish get bigger each time a story is told about them. :smiley:

Next we’ll hear about cats killing 4-foot tunas. :rolleyes:

Cool video but not what the OP was asking. You can’t even begin to imagine my disappointment.

However, they have tsetse flies down there the size of eagles. In the evening, I would stand in front of my hut and watch in horror as these giant flies would pick children off the ground and carry them away.

I think it depends on whether it was an African or European bald eagle.

You can’t tell from the picture that the carcass is complete. Maybe the eagle killed the fawn and gutted it, eating a bit for itself before it took it to the nest. Or in light of what Colibri said about carrying larger prey in pieces, maybe this was her second trip and this was just the hide and other pieces rather than the whole 6 lb fawn.

Eagles are fucking awesome.

The news story said this happened in East Missoula, Montana. That’s an area with plenty of high hills/small mountains. So the eagle could have killed the deer at a high elevation, and thus did not need to lift it, but only needed to glide down with it. This could be done with a considerably heavier load - perhaps as much as the eagle’s weight.

This has happened before.

ETA: not credited to eagles, though.